In Memoriam – Margaret Paton


By: Angelia Nachimuthu-volunteer contributor



Margaret A. “Marg” Heles Paton, Corpus Christi, TX, age 68, passed away November 18, 2015. She was born January 9, 1947, in Des Moines, Iowa.  She married Larry P. Paton, her high school sweetheart, on August 9, 1965. In 2015, she and Larry celebrated 50 years as husband and wife. She loved being a wife, mother, foster parent and grandmother. She worked in the insurance industry all her life and earned many professional designations. She was active in churches and choirs. She directed, performed and assisted in a number of productions at the Port Aransas Community Theatre. In her spare time she enjoyed traveling, reading, singing, sewing, quilting and laughter. Her passion was volunteering.

Her husband wrote a fitting tribute to her in his poem Angel Celebration: ‘A lady so strong, A volunteer to the core’. The outpourings and tributes from friends echo her loving, caring ways and her contributions to the Red Cross. Marg served locally and nationally on many disaster operations both large and small. She served in multiple capacities in the Texas Gulf Coast Region. She also worked with D.O.V.E.S (a special RV group of the Red Cross). She was an active and enthusiastic volunteer with the American Red Cross serving in numerous leadership positions and winning numerous awards. Her last Red Cross accomplishment was the promotion to Staff Services Manager.

Nicknamed M&M by James Butcher, her Red Cross buddy for 13 years, Marg also trained and inspired many to volunteer for Red Cross. Terri Lewis, a Red Cross volunteers recalls that she first met Marg in a training class. Marg had been deployed for 2 weeks but she rushed back to the chapter for a class without taking a break and talked about ERVs and feeding during disasters and challenged Terry and others to get involved in deployments. Marg not only encouraged other volunteers to deploy, she also was there for them when they returned from a disaster. She would call them after each deployment. These calls were not mere courtesy calls but a lengthy conversation where she would listen to them, discuss the good and bad experiences and encourage them to continue. Marg had the gift of making each person feel they were important and she made sure that they were comfortable with their work.

She and Larry were a great team and helped the Red Cross through various events during disaster and non-disaster times. They were the brainchild for the popular annual ERV Rodeo event where volunteers can participate in ERV driving competitions, attend training classes and simulations, earn certificates and gain experience of working in disaster-scenario like kitchen by feeding all the attendees. Janet Newman, a retired nurse, recalls that even though the chapter and Red Cross went through many changes, Marg was the person who was always there.

Carolyn Ross, Disaster Program Manager-Coastal Bend, recalls that Marg was mission-focused and outgoing. She was dedicated to the Red Cross and always reminded others to remember the mission. She had a great sense of humor and was always laughing or singing.

Jessica Debalski, Regional Disaster Officer-Texas Gulf Coast, worked with Marg when she was the Interim Senior DPM for Orange Beaumont region. She remembers her as someone who was always positive.

For Billy Delgado, Emergency Manager Coordinator-City of Corpus Christi who worked with Marg and Larry during many incidences in the Corpus Christi area, recalls how she always had a smile and hug.

Marg’s last act of volunteerism was being an organ/tissue donor. A Celebration of Life for Marg was held December 27, 2015. Remember her and find time to volunteer and leave a legacy of love and caring.