Margaret Smagorinsky

Obituary of Margaret Smagorinsky

Margaret K. Smagorinsky, age 95, passed away November 14 in Hillsborough, NJ, of natural causes. Born on December 23, 1915 in Brooklyn, NY, Margaret was the second of four daughters of Anne and George Knoepfel. She attended Bay Ridge High School in Brooklyn and was graduated from Brooklyn College while still a teenager, the first member of her family to have attended college. Following college, she taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Ashland, New York for four years, and then moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked for the Railroad Retirement Board as a statistician and then as the first woman statistician hired by the Weather Bureau. After being sent to New York University for additional coursework, she met Joseph Smagorinsky in a graduate course. They married on May 29, 1948. She was a member of the team that programmed the ENIAC computer at the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, where her husband worked as a meteorologist on the same project. The couple had five children, Anne, Peter, Teresa, Julia, and Frederick, to whom she dedicated her life. The family lived in Alexandria, Virginia, from 1953-1968, before moving to Princeton, N.J. Margaret's life in Princeton involved a long association with the Princeton University League, for which she served as President among other roles. Margaret wrote several pamphlets featuring traditions at Princeton University, including The Regalia of Princeton University, Some Legends & Lore of Princeton University, and The Tigers of Princeton University, which remain available in the Princeton Public Library, in online versions, and through online vendors. Her interest in Princeton University extended to leading tours of the gargoyles on campus buildings, as well as her annual support of the university's football and basketball programs. She was also famous for planning and orchestrating elaborate car rallies that required participants to drive around central New Jersey, following a series of clever poetic clues hidden in obscure locations that led back to her residence where a celebratory party ensued. Among her creative endeavors were her abilities at restoring furniture bought at auctions and making gravestone rubbings, several of which are still on display. Her husband, Joseph, died in September, 2005, at the age of 81. Margaret is survived by her five children and eight grandchildren: Alysha and David Smagorinsky, Samuel and Kevin Thompson, Kathryn and Theodore Schroeder, and Tess and Karla Smagorinsky. She is buried in Princeton Cemetery along with her loving husband Joseph. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Organization for Autism Research, 2000 N. Fourteenth St., Suite 710, Arlington, VA 22201. Arrangements are by Mather-Hodge Funeral Home Princeton.
Share Your Memory of
Margaret