Margaret Wellman Jaenke passed away on Wednesday, June 2 at her home in Mountain Center, California. Margaret lived a very full life up until her passing at the age of 96.
Margaret was born on July 31, 1924, in Wineville, California, to parents James F. Wellman and Elma Grace Hall Wellman. Margaret was the sixth generation of her family to be born in California. Margaret’s great grandparents, Manual and Dolores Garduna Arnaiz, homesteaded in Kenworthy Valley in the 1800s. Her third great-grandfather, Jose Maximo Simon Valenzuela, was born at the San Diego Mission in 1791.
Margaret’s elementary schooling was at the local schools including Little Red School House in Anza (the original Hamilton School), Hamilton School, Kenworthy Indian Emergency School and Idyllwild School. She graduated eighth grade at Hamilton School in 1938 and from Hemet High School in 1942.
Margaret’s joy was being a cattle rancher’s daughter and she was happy to spend as much time as possible horseback riding, roping and branding the cattle. Margaret trained a young cow to be ridden and would sometimes ride the cow the 3 miles to get the mail at the post office! Nothing pleased Margaret more than to hear her dad say, “You are a better hand than most men!”
World War patriotism nudged Margaret into joining the war effort as a radio mechanic at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino and it was there that she met her future husband Adrian Jaenke. After their marriage, Adrian and Margaret went on to have seven children. The children kept Margaret very busy, as she was dedicated to teaching her children to horseback ride, sew, cook and to play musical instruments. Along with being a mother and a full-time homemaker, she was also a 4-H club leader and a PTA member.
After raising her children, Margaret focused on her pursuit of education and being an educator. She first earned an associate of arts in 1971 from San Bernardino Valley College followed by a bachelor of arts in anthropology and liberal arts in 1976 from California State College, San Bernardino. In 1985, Margaret received a master’s of education from Azusa Pacific University. After obtaining her teaching credential, she taught at Hamilton School until her retirement in 1995. Margaret was a dedicated and passionate teacher and brought much local historical information to her students.
After retirement, Margaret was kept very busy as the founder of the Hamilton Museum & Ranch Foundation, a museum which shares the history of Anza and the local mountain area. She wrote three books about the local history “In The Olden Day Revisited,” “Looking Back, Anza and Garner Valley” and “Images of America, Around Anza Valley.”
Margaret spent her retirement years with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and gardening, wood carving, traveling and was an avid life-long learner
Margaret is survived by her seven children Art Jaenke (Irene), Margaret Teague (Dennis), Pauline Condrick (Daniel), Raini Cunningham (Bret), Adriana Taylor (Ron), Gini Spencer and Ruth Roman and her 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
A celebration of life is planned for Saturday, Aug. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Hamilton Museum. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested in attending the celebration. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hamilton Museum & Ranch Foundation at P.O. Box 391141 Anza, Ca. 92539.