Margaret Daniel crossed the threshold in the early evening hours of November 10, 2022. She entered this world on February 7, 1932. Margaret, affectionately known as Mutti (Mother in German), was born and raised in Zurich, Switzerland the third child of Karl and Rosa Apitzsch.
Her formal education ended in the 8th grade after which she dutifully apprenticed for three years as a hairdresser with the expectation of taking over the family business. After living and working for a time in Paris and Sweden, she left Switzerland at 23 for America. Like many, she dreamed of a place where she could see wide open spaces and live in the country. Within the first days of arriving in New York, she had the good fortune to connect with the Threefold Farm in Spring Valley, NY. There she met the love of her life Ernst Daniel, an ardent Anthroposophist and Bio-dynamic farmer, 30 years her senior. They married and raised 4 of their own children and adopted two others. They lived in this community for almost 20 years during that time they purchased the 100-acre farm in Vermont where they would eventually move to permanently in the early 1970s.
Her travel dreams were halted for many years as she wholeheartedly embraced raising a large family. With limited resources and an interest in nature, she began to make use of everything that grew. She was a pioneer in the homesteading movement, learning to make herbal medicines, dehydrating and preserving food, and wilderness survival. She took great joy in teaching others to be self-sufficient and healthy.
A petite lady with boundless energy, she led a life devoted to helping others. In 1985, when the love of her life died and her family was grown, she decided to finish her world travels. She became a co-worker in the Camphill movement in Brazil, South Africa, Jamaica, Botswana, and Israel. (Camphill’s are communities based on the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner devoted to furthering the lives of developmentally and intellectually disabled children and adults.) She had an innate curiosity about people and often said she wished she could be a world citizen. Rarely did she met anyone that didn’t become a lifelong friend.
Upon returning to Vermont after several years abroad, she began to volunteer with the ELF program in the Bethel schools, bringing a love of the natural world to children. It was during the next twenty years that she formed a special bond with an elementary teacher who allowed her to bring her great interest in the world to the classroom where she taught about rocks and minerals, made traditional European crafts, cooked, baked, and celebrated many holidays. Later in life she was blessed to co-raise her grandsons Ambrose and Allister as they lived on an adjoining property.
A fortuitous 70th birthday trip to Peru led to yet another long karmic relationship, again with an Anthroposophic endeavor called Q’ewar. In 2005, she founded the non-profit Lukana’s Dream, in an effort to help the women and children of that project. Her thoughts were always of service, and how to be “useful” to the community. No one ever left her presence without a cup of herb tea, some chocolates or a worry stone for their pocket. She finally retired at 88 when the store closed due to the pandemic. She genuinely loved all people and was always available for conversation. In later years, she would lament that her biggest problem was that she just couldn’t adequately keep up with all the friends she made over the years. Hers was a peaceful life devoted to truth and she was the living embodiment of “it is better to give than receive.” Margaret Daniel truly showed up for life!
She is survived by a sister Annette Putscher (Matis) of Chur Switzerland; son, Michael Daniel (Valerie) grandchildren Sterling, Naomi, Sebastian; son, Thomas Daniel (Allison) and grandsons, Cameron & Evan; daughter, Claudia Stark (Kevin) and grandson Kevin (Jessica), great-grandchildren Piper & Irie; daughter, Madelaine Daniel (Steve) and grandsons Ambrose & Allister.
In lieu of flowers please make a donation to your favorite charity in her name. All are welcome to a Celebration of Life for Margaret at the Bethel Town Hall on December 11, 2022, at 2 pm.