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Margaret L. Mantua
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Obituary for Margaret L. Mantua

Margaret Louise passed away peacefully with family at her side on August 22, 2017, at the age of 75. She is lovingly remembered by her daughter Tania (John Rohan) of Pt. Richmond, sons Mitchell of Alamo, Nathan (Christine) of Santa Cruz, and Dominic (Lisa) of Larkspur, grandchildren Max, Sofia, Trent, Nicholas and Marina, sister Kathleen Ballard of Tyler, Texas, her niece Rhonda Moon of Frisco, Texas and her nephew Jim Ballard of Tyler, Texas. Margaret was born in Oakland, CA in 1941 to John and Antoinette Skelly. She graduated from St. Vincent's High School in Petaluma in 1959. She married Ned Mantua at age 21 and moved to Bodega Bay where they raised their children. She quickly became an active member of the close-knit coastal community. In the early 1970s she and other local moms painted a bright, colorful, life-sized mural of Disney characters on the back fence of Bodega Bay Elementary School's yard that remained there for many years. She was a longtime and founding member of the Gooney Birds, a social club made up of Bodega Bay women that started the Fishermen's Festival in the early 1970s and held a variety of community-oriented fundraisers. Margaret's artistic talents were put to use in many Fishermen's Festival boat parades decorating the fishing boat sponsored by McCaughey Brothers general store, the family business that Ned operated in Bodega and Bodega Bay. She worked as the District Clerk at Bodega Bay Public Utilities District for 16 years before returning to school to earn an Associate Arts Degree, with honors, from College of Marin in 1997. She later attended the California College of Arts and Crafts. She moved to Sonoma in the late 1990s and helped launch the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art in Novato, where she eventually became that organization's Executive Director. She enjoyed taking Spanish and art classes, putting together shows and helping organize and run the museum's store. Margaret was an artist her entire life. She drew beautiful portraits and landscape sketches in charcoal; she painted dramatic coastal landscapes, ranch buildings and livestock, vineyards, and vibrant slice of life scenes in oils, pastels, charcoal, and watercolor. One of her early oil paintings has been hanging in The Casino in Bodega since the early 1970s, and her art adorns the walls of her family's homes and offices. She sold many of her works through the Bodega Art Gallery and the Marin MOCA, and had done several commissions. One of her paintings was the cover of the Marin telephone book. What Margaret loved most was being a mom. She raised her children with her entire heart and soul. She also loved warm weather and swimming, scarce commodities in Bodega Bay, so she drove the family to Monte Rio for summertime swimming lessons in the Russian River, or to the pools in Sebastopol or Boyes Hot Springs. She always loved family hikes on the beach and in the hills of Sonoma and Marin County, and summer vacations in Lake County and in the Sierras around Lake Tahoe. Margaret had a great imagination and loved to tell her children stories of an imagined youth as an Olympian, a traveler and overall superhero. She spent many days shepherding her children through their early adulthood moves to six different colleges and their many early-career jobs thereafter. Later in life she enjoyed traveling with or visiting them in far-flung places that included Saipan, Hawaii, Mexico, Seattle, Washington DC, Alaska and British Columbia. She also traveled with friends to Portugal for a painting vacation. She enjoyed teaching art and was thrilled to give an impromptu class to her children and their friends. She also gave lessons to friends out of her house in Sonoma. Margaret leaves many friends around the Bay Area. She was admired for her wit, loyalty, strength and courage. She will be missed. A celebration of Margaret's life and display of her art will be held at the Union Hotel in Occidental on September 24, from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, charitable donations may be made to Save the Children (, an organization that Margaret supported throughout her life. Condolences for the family may be offered online at

Memorial Service:
Union Hotel
3731 Main St, Occidental, CA 95465

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