Sadly, Margaret passed away in March of 2016. A generous donor to Knowledge from the beginning, Margaret made substantial contributions to help out with many of our trip contests over the years. Many of us at Knowledge got to know Margaret and all of us were inspired by her energy and enthusiasm for life, and her generosity to the causes she cared about. The following is a reprint of our 2009 interview with her.
World traveler, tour organizer, hospice volunteer, gourmet soupmaker – Margaret Rodgers has a rich and full life that is made even more remarkable by the fact that she wasn’t supposed to survive beyond the age of 20. Diagnosed with bone cancer when she was 16, she battled three recurrences before she turned 19. Cancer came back when she was 33 and again in the late 1980s. “Sometimes,” she says, “I felt like a ticking time bomb!”
Like many survivors, these experiences helped shape a take-charge approach to daily existence: as she explains, when you’re living with a potentially life-threatening disease, the idea of “do it now in case there isn’t any later” isn’t a bad way to live.
It’s this perspective that ultimately led her to create her own small travel business, Rural Britain Tours. When her partner was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, they decided to travel as much as possible while he could still walk. Margaret started teaching night school courses about her extensive travels, and with encouragement from her students, designed her first tour of rural England. It was such a success that several more destinations have followed.
You’d think Margaret would have little time for television, but during her downtime she likes watching Knowledge, and has been a Knowledge Partner for many years. The programs she enjoys reflect her varied interests: Heartbeat, Midsomer Murders, Recreating Eden, Vertical City, Canadian Waterways, Indian School, and Season of the Child are just a few of the shows she mentions. “I think Knowledge has the best television programs out there. It’s educational and very entertaining. It teaches people what’s going on around them and in other parts of the world – it’s very beneficial to see this sort of thing. Plus there’s none of the violence that you get with commercial TV.
Margaret recently included a bequest to Knowledge in her will, and also made a gift of securities to the Knowledge Endowment. She says she wanted to do some good now, like supporting Knowledge, while she’s still around to enjoy it. “Too many people look back with regret and ‘should-haves’. That’s not me,” she says. Now those are wise words to live by!