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Margaret Elizabeth Tyler McCracken

Memorial for Margaret Elizabeth Tyler McCracken

Born in Flint Hill, Virginia on Aug. 15, 1922
Departed on Dec. 22, 2009 and resided in Austin, TX.
Visitation: Friday, Jan. 1, 2010
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Service: Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010
11:00 am
Cemetery: Evergreen Cemetery
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Born in the foothills of the Blueridge Mountains, in Flint Hill, Virginia, on August 15, 1922, Dr. Margaret Elizabeth Tyler McCracken, became a beloved citizen of world. The only child of Elizabeth Duson and Henry Tyler, Margaret grew up in a tight-knit, Christian family, known to value education, hard-work, and a good laugh. Margaret experienced an idyllic childhood amidst a historical backdrop that might have intended differently. She mirrored the movements of her Mother, learning everything from how to create a special home, to the subtleties of fair negotiation. Spending many a night plopped down alongside her Father, as he read the newspaper and discussed the day's happenings, Margaret always appreciated the importance of being informed. In fact some might today comment on her seeming omniscience on any variety of topics. Early on, Margaret had dreams of being an airplane pilot ala Bessie Coleman, and doing missionary work on the continent of Africa. She was brilliant--often the brightest from childhood classrooms in Chester and Media Pennsylvania, to the collegiate hallways of Cheyney State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Teaching Certificate in 1944. Following her career at Cheyney, the oldest historically Black institution in the United States, she was welcomed into the Ivy League, receiving a Master of Arts Degree from New York City's Columbia University. Margaret also completed additional studies at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Southern Illinois, and Fort Kansas State University.

Austin, Texas by way of Huston-Tillotson University (nee College) became Margaret's home for the next 63-years. First starting as an educator, teaching classes including English and Early Childhood Development, Margaret made her mark as a professor with very high expectations. Her students knew two things: While she was hard, she was also profoundly invested in contributing to their success. In short she cared enough to raise the bar. This combination made her an ideal administrator. Margaret began her career in administration as Dean of Students. She retired as the University's Vice President of Student Affairs, serving in that capacity from 1976 to 1989. In 1989, Huston-Tillotson awarded Margaret the Doctor of Humane Letters, for her vast accomplishments throughout the University.

In Austin, Margaret not only experienced professional highlights, she also found love. Margaret Tyler and Reverend James McCracken, an Air Force serviceman married on June 4, 1948. Serving 24-years in the Air Force, Rev. McCracken's duties took he and his bride to Germany. Margaret was especially grateful for the experience to travel abroad, noting that it was one of her greatest accomplishments. James and Margaret's collaborations included: three daughters, Renee Bernadette Williams, Y'Vonne Elizabeth McCracken Brown (deceased), and Valerie Almetris Fruge; a 20-year, successful business, owning and operating, M&M Antiques; and a decade long tenure as Pastor and First Lady of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church. During her time as First Lady of Galilee, she wore many hats including, Church Auditor and Sunday School Superintendent. In 1999, Margaret united with Turning Point Bible Fellowship, where Carl Harvey, Sr. is the Pastor. There she became the official Mother of the Church and founded the Healthful Living Ministry and served as co-director of the Women's Ministry. Margaret was also a proud member of the Agape Interdenominational Association of Minister's Wives and Minister's Widows (Austin Chapter), and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Beta Psi Omega chapter. Margaret's other civic endeavors included an appointment to the board of the George Washington Carver African American Museum. She was also known to be a great orator, frequently asked to speak on a myriad of topics throughout the city.

Margaret's spirit was strongly rooted in her belief in God and she emanated love in everything that she did. Whether she was endeavoring in monumental tasks like raising her children, shaping the minds of a generation of students, or in minutia, selecting greeting cards for friends and family, or simply balancing her check book--her approach was the same. She did everything with immense care, thoughtfulness, and love. Often ahead of her times, Margaret's methodical thinking resulted in a modern spirit that was surprised by very little, and always open-minded to welcome new ideas and experiences. She had impeccable taste, evidenced in her expansive antique collection and fashion sense. With a robust sense of humor, she was a joy to be around. Artist, Leader, Scientist, Mother, Grandmother, Educator, Friend, Neighbor--she was a true Renaissance Woman!

The Matriarch of her family, Ma-Mac, as she was adoringly referred to by her three grandchildren: Vincent Clinton Brown; Brianna Elizabeth McCracken Brown; and Kenneth Ray Williams, Jr., she taught each of them the importance of "…loving each other hard…" , how to be fearless, the importance of education, and above all else, having faith. Dr. McCracken is also survived by sons-in-law, Kenneth Ray Williams, Sr., Curtis Lee Brown, Justin Joseph Fruge, and the newest addition to the family, great-grandchild, Audric Salah Williams.

In honor of Dr. McCracken's colorful spirit, the family is requesting that attendees to her homecoming celebration, refrain from wearing black and wear bright colors instead.

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