Margaret Wilson Thomas, 89, Herndon, Virginia . Margaret, of gentle and enduring Faith, went Home on May 25, 2011 after a short illness. Margaret Ella Wilson, born August 24, 1921 in Mt. Ulla, North Carolina, was the middle daughter of Jasper and Bessie Ann (Sapp) Wilson. In 1942 Margaret took the train to Washington, DC to take a position as a "government girl" with the Department of the Army during World War II. While working in Washington, she met her future husband, George A. Thomas. They were married March 25, 1949 in Alexandria, Virginia and made their homes in Falls Church, then Vienna, before moving to rural Herndon in 1963 and establishing a small farm. Margaret had retired from the Army's JAG division in 1955 to raise Steve, their young son. George passed away in 1974 and by 1976 Margaret turned her passion for gardening into a small business of selling irises, peonies and daylilies to those who had long admired her gift of growing the most wonderful flowers. During this time, Margaret, known locally as "the iris lady," warmly welcomed visitors to her ever expanding garden which quickly became a destination for artists, photographers, school children and all those who were drawn to this magnificent oasis of beauty. Margaret, with her quiet smile, would oftentimes greet visiting children with a flower and, happily, would provide special treats for any dog who might also be calling at the garden. A living tribute to Margaret is how, every spring, her plants beautify legions of other gardens and landscapes, especially in our local neighborhoods, and have enriched the lives of so many, as has Margaret, herself. Over the years, Margaret and her legendary garden have been featured in several local television news programs and in many local and national publications including the Reston/Herndon Times, the Connection newspaper, the NY Times, the Washington Post, and the Cultural Landscape Foundation publication. Margaret and her garden have often been referred to as a Herndon "treasure." The exquisite blue everblooming iris, the Margaret Wilson Thomas, was named in appreciation of her. And in special recognition, the 2008 Virginia General Assembly honored Margaret with a Resolution expressing admiration and gratitude for the many years she has shared her garden with the residents of Herndon and the Commonwealth. Margaret was a long time member of First Baptist Church of Herndon, the American Iris Society, the Chesapeake and Potomac Iris Society, and the American Peony Society. Margaret is survived by her beloved son Steve of Fairfax, dear sister Elsie Graham of Mt. Ulla, NC, sister-in-law Mary Belle Schauer of Lancaster, PA, numerous nieces and nephews, and her countless friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, sister Lucy Ennis, brother Henry Wilson, half-sister Dorcas Williams, and step-sisters Daisy Swink and Nellie Gales. Funeral arrangements are by Adams-Green Funeral Home in Herndon. Visitation 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm Tuesday, May 31. Funeral service First Baptist Church of Herndon, 11:00 am Wednesday, June 1. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Baptist Church of Herndon.
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