When we attend a funeral, we expect to walk into a cold, dimly-lit room or church dressed in all-black. It’s a serious moment; This is the time to remember and say our final goodbye to the loved one we lost. Even if we believe the person who passed is no longer suffering and is in a better place, we don’t expect to walk in and out of the funeral feeling content, at peace, and relieved. Learning of someone you care about’s passing will always be devastating news.
Things were a bit different, however, when Margaret Hubl passed away in July of 2016 at the age of 89. Although she had a funeral like many individuals do after they pass, her family decided to change things a little. They cried, they took a to showcase something positive about Margaret during her funeral: her beautiful quilting!
Margaret, a born-and-raised Nebraskan, created over a hundred quilts during her lifetime, making her hobby one to remember. Upon arriving at her funeral, family members near and far were asked to bring any quilts they had that Margaret made and gave to them. The colorful blankets were draped over the backs of the church pews to be viewed by attendees.
Once the quilts were laid out, Margaret’s granddaughter, Christina Tollman, although she was very familiar with her grandmother’s pastime, was shocked to see just how much work she produced over the years.
“Never did I imagine how many there were. We covered almost every single pew in that church. I never knew how many she actually made.”
Although funerals are often livened up with fresh floral arrangements, nothing in the room – not even the church’s stained-glass windows – was more colorful than Grandma Margaret’s beautiful creations.
The bright colors and intricate patterns presented on the quilts may not be your usual funeral sight to see, but for the attendees, it was the best, most respectful, and most appropriate way to remember their lost loved one.
Margaret started sewing decades ago. She started off making clothes for her three children and eventually her niece and nephew who she and her husband Henry took in after their parents passed away in 1969 due to an accident. She later started making her famous quilts.
Margaret is also remembered for her love of traveling. Below is a 1969 photograph of Margaret in Hong Kong.
But there was nothing she loved more than quiltmaking. In fact, when going through her belongings after her passing, Margaret’s children and grandchildren discovered a notebook. Inside, she kept tabs on her quilting projects.
According to her granddaughter, “When we sat down to go through her things we found this — I call it a pocket notebook. Inside it says whose quilt she was working on, what day she put it in the quilt frame and which day she took it out.”
One might wonder, what kept Margaret making so many quilts? Apart from being the perfect gift to give, providing quilts were Grandma’s way of ensuring her loved ones were kept warm.
“She wanted us to have something to wrap up and keep warm in when we went away to school.”
Although not all of her loved ones were able to receive a quilt from Margaret before she passed, it was in her plan to keep making and, of course, giving them. She also kept finished quilts set aside, waiting to gift them at the right occasion.
In fact, three lucky funeral guests were surprised when they got to see, and take home, their quilt from Margaret for the first time. They had no idea that she had one secretly stashed away for each of them that she planned on giving to them in the future.
“I actually have three cousins that are not married, and the day of her funeral was the day that they got to see their quilts for the first time. That was really kind of a neat moment.”
The quilts not only meant a lot to Margaret but also to her family members.
“This is the love that Grandma made for each of us. This is what she made for each of us to wrap up in when we hurt when we miss her,” Granddaughter Christina said.
I know if Margaret were to attend her own funeral, she would be very impressed that her life and favorite hobby was properly honored! And thanks to her beautiful labor, Margaret’s loved ones will get to cherish her work forever, keeping warm with her love when they lay down with their quilt at night.