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Longtime community activist Margaret Comstock dies

January 11, 2000|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

BOONSBORO - Washington County lost a devoted volunteer Saturday when Margaret Karr Comstock died at Washington County Hospital after being ill for several months. She was 91.

She married George W. Comstock when he was a third-year medical student and moved with her husband 10 times during his 21-year career as a U.S. Public Health Service officer.

They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August 1999.

The Comstocks moved to Washington County in 1963, and Margaret Comstock set about creating a legacy of volunteerism.

She was active with groups such as the Community Services Council, the Extension Service Advisory Board, the Citizen's Advisory Recycling Committee, the Solid Waste Advisory Board and the Boards of Community Concerts and Department of Social Services.

"She was a very affable person, dedicated to civic responsibility," said Dr. Frederick Otto, executive director of the Washington County Commission on Aging.

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In 1964, Comstock established the Hagerstown chapter of the League of Women Voters and was its first president. She worked for government and corrections reform.

"She had a tremendous impact. I don't know that this void will ever be filled," said Hagerstown League of Women Voters coordinator Cookie McDowell.

Margaret Comstock will be remembered for her enthusiasm, McDowell said.

"She was the most professional, professional volunteer I have ever known. She set an example to aspire to," McDowell said.

She promoted health issues for inmates and participated in the Community Corrections Services Committee.

"She coordinated health fairs at MCI Hagerstown and was good at encouraging health professionals to come and talk" to inmates, said Sharon Rucker, spokeswoman for the Maryland Correctional Training Center.

A personal friend, Rucker described Comstock as a "charming, engaging woman."

"She was absolutely delightful. She had a tremendous can-do attitude," she said.

Her family has said one of Margaret Comstock's passions was the environment. She worked to promote recycling and other environmental issues.

"She was instrumental in getting recycling programs implemented and helping others to grow in the county," said Harvey Hoch, Washington County recycling coordinator.

He said he admired Comstock's passion for things she believed in.

"She had the ability to go and face people that didn't agree with her point of view and be persistent and patient," he said.

"She will be missed," Hoch said.

Born Sept. 30, 1908, in Washington, D.C., Margaret Comstock grew up in Bethesda, Md.

She held a bachelor of science degree in home economics education from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in child development from Mills College.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by three children, Gordon F. Comstock, Lloyd K. Comstock, and Martha C. Williams.

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