Our much beloved matriarch Margaret “Maggi” Fleming was born in Havre, Montana 97 years and 10 months ago and died on December 23, 2022 at home in Kula, surrounded by her loving family, and under the care of Hospice Maui. Maggi was preceded in death by her husband Bruce Lundie Fleming, infant son Bruce and daughter Charlotte Roy. She is survived by her children William Fleming, Sarah (Fleming) Tavares, son-in-law Clarence Tavares, Lundie (Fleming) Robb, son-in-law Allan Robb, David Fleming and Margaret (Fleming) Boteilho. She was blessed with numerous grand, great grand and great great grandchildren and an extensive ohana.
Maggi was born in 1925 to Severt Dahl, a Great Northern Railroad train engineer, and Sarah Dahl, a prolific quilter who had travelled across the country and homesteaded on her own as a young woman. Her older brother Martin Dahl was a mechanic and an avid speedboat racer who passed suddenly as a young man. Her older sister Grace Philleo was a nurse, serving overseas during the Second World War, also enjoying a long and adventurous life.
Maggi followed her sister into nursing and enlisted in a special cadet nurse training program sponsored by the government during World War II at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. After graduation Maggi, sometimes jointly with her sister Grace, worked in Texas, Washington and eventually Bethel and Sitka, Alaska. She specialized as an orthopedic surgery nurse and had a deep fondness for her time in Alaska. She recounted stories of skiing in the wilds, where they hiked up the mountains with their skis and had to be wary of bears, and getting caught and stranded in an ice storm, where the ship was sheeted in icicles and a rescue party organized by her sister got them to safety.
In 1949 Maggi was talked into a trip to the territory of Hawaii for vacation with a group of her nursing friends from Alaska. They arrived on the USS President Cleveland, and she recalled the scent of plumeria from the leis and the singing and dancing that greeted their arrival. Kula Hospital was a TB sanitorium at that time and desperate for nursing staff. Three of their party were convinced to stay, including Maggi.
Maggi met and married Bruce Fleming in 1952. Bruce was the son of DT and Martha Fleming and Bruce became the manager of Baldwin Packers in Lahaina. Bruce and Maggi lived in Kapalua and Alaeloa while raising their young family, but eventually moved to Kula and a new life as cattle ranchers. They enjoyed many happy years raising their family prior to Bruce’s passing in 1993.
Maggi devoted herself to family and friends throughout her lifetime and took great joy in watching each generation develop. For several decades after Bruce’s passing Maggi resumed her travelling, exploring Eastern and Western Europe, China, Japan, Indonesia, and many of the United States including numerous returns to Alaska. She travelled well into her 90’s, enjoying every second. She was an incredible cook, an avid gardener, a lifelong photographer, a superb seamstress, an extremely proficient digital scrapbooker, and a lover of beautiful things. She was active with the AARP and other philanthropic organizations throughout the years. She had a great sense of humor. She believed in setting an example by what you did, not what you said, working hard, being honest, being generous. She had a favorite quote by van Goethe: “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” She was fiercely organized and looked on the bright side. Loved, and loving.
The world is a lesser place without her in it. But she did not want us to mourn. So we celebrate a truly beautiful life, well lived.
A simple graveside service, as she wished, is planned for Sunday January 8, 2023 at 9:00 am at the Makawao Cemetery. In lieu of flowers she requested that donations be given to the Maui Food Bank, the Maui branch of Salvation Army, and to Hospice Maui, as she believed that caring for others should start in your own backyard. Light refreshments will be served following the service.
Our deep thanks go to the Hospice Maui team, particularly nurse Colleen Watanabe and aide Nalani Freitas, as well as “Team Maggi”-Karen, Ellen, Edeltraud, Bernadette; and Gigi and Jennifer in the early days. You provided love and many a laugh.