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Margaret Martha Holthouse

Margaret Martha Holthouse

Born:    22 February, 1913 Jonesboro, AR
Died:     27 May, 2001 Houston, TX
Married:   Lawrence Bernard Feldhaus 30 Apr 1936 in Lawrenceburg TN
He was born 8 May 1907 in Lawrenceburg TN and Died 30 Dec 1987 in Lawrenceburg TN

Lawrence, Margaret and me 1937 

Margaret is the daughter of Bernard Godfrey and Nelle Williams Holthouse.  She is my Mother.

This picture of Mother was taken in the early 1930s when she was living and working in Louisville, Kentucky.

Margaret and her sister Maude are in the picture on the right and below.

Margaret graduated from high school in 1930.  Her father had always promised to send her to college at Peabody in Nashville TN, but because of the market crash in 1929 and the uncertainty of the business climate, he reneged on the promise. 
She instead was sent to Martin College in nearby Pulaski TN with a wardrobe sewn by her Mother.  She was embarrassed by the handmade clothing and shortly returned home. 

She then attended  business school in Nashville for a year, afterwards taking a job with the Federal Land Bank in Louisville where she took evening and night classes at the University of Louisville Law School.
She married Lawrence Bernard Feldhaus in Lawrenceburg, TN in 1936 and began four years of nomadic living as her husband traveled around the south from one brick laying job to another.

The picture above is of her, her brother Bob, her husband Lawrence, and Bob's son Heath.
In 1941 her husband took a job with Reynolds Aluminum Company in Sheffield, AL where he worked until he retired.  They lived in Lawrenceburg and he commuted 45 miles each way every day while she raised a family of four boys and two girls.

Virginia, Mother, Dad, Moma Nelle, Pop and Frank Dunn

1959 - Virginia, Frank holding his sister Mary Ann, Mother

Virginia, Mother, Dad, Moma Nelle, Pop and Frank Dunn

Son Jack Feldhaus who was a Navy Douglas A1-H pilot.  He was shot down and killed in North Vietnam on 6 October 1966.

Sons Steve, Larry, Jack, and Frank Feldhaus

Dad holding new arrival, daughter Mary Ann

The first daughter, Margaret Nelle, contracted encephalitis at age two and remained in a coma until she died at age eighteen on 4 February, 1959.  During all those years she remained at home and was cared for by Margaret. 
Margaret remained in Lawrenceburg most of her life.  She enjoyed being near her parents and her friends.  After Lawrence died in May of 1987 she continued to live in her house in spite of requiring three hip replacements.
At about 84 years of age in early June of 1995 she sold the house and moved to Pueblo, CO to live with her daughter.  After a couple of years they moved to Houston, TX where she lived until she died at 88 years of age after a short illness.

The below obituary was published in the Lawrenceburg Democrat Union and  the Nashville Tennessean newspapers.


Margaret Holthouse Feldhaus, a former resident and civic leader of Lawrence County, Tennessee passed away on Sunday, May 27, 2001, in Houston, Texas.

Margaret Feldhaus is a descendant of  settlers who arrived in Nashville, Tennessee in 1791.  She moved to Lawrence County in 1924 with her parents, Bernard Godfrey Holthouse and Nelle Williams Holthouse, when Mr. Holthouse established a plant in Lawrenceburg to make hickory spokes for Ford Motor Company automobiles.

A graduate of Lawrence County High School and Falls Business College in Nashville, Tennessee, Mrs. Feldhaus attended Martin College in Pulaski, Tennessee, and the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky, where she took courses in English and Journalism and where she attended law school at night for two years.  Her love of learning led her to continue her education throughout her life via correspondence courses and community college courses.

Prior to her marriage to Lawrence Feldhaus, a native of Lawrenceburg, Mrs. Feldhaus was assistant to the director of the Louisville Federal Land Bank in Louisville, Kentucky, for four years, where she was responsible for maintaining the corporate minutes of the Federal Land Bank and where she was involved in loans to farmers in Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Alabama.  Following her marriage, she returned to Lawrenceburg where she reared six children and led an active and involved life in the local community.

A devout Catholic, Mrs. Feldhaus was tireless in her efforts to help the underprivileged and those who, for whatever reason, needed a helping hand.  She strongly believed in the value of education and in developing a love of reading as the key to learning.  Of all her many achievements, Mrs. Feldhaus was perhaps proudest of her work with the Lawrence County Library Board, where she served as Chairman during a time that saw the move and expansion of the Lawrence County Library.

Mrs. Feldhaus found time in her busy life as a homemaker for a multitude of charitable endeavors.  She was chairman of a local group that was responsible for the American Cancer Society opening an office in Lawrence County.  She served for many years as Chairman or Recording Secretary of the Lawrence County Chapter of the American Cancer Society.  A breast cancer survivor herself, she was Director of the Lawrence County Reach for Recovery Program of the American Cancer Society, which provided counseling and support to hundreds of breast cancer victims under her leadership.

Mrs. Feldhaus was also one of the leaders in a group that brought the Junior Service League to Lawrenceburg, and she was an active participant for many years in its social and charitable endeavors. 

Mrs. Feldhaus’ devotion to her religion and to the local Catholic religious community led her to serve as Chairman and/or Board Member of numerous committees throughout the years at Sacred Heart Church.  She was also a teacher in evening classes to the Catholic Youth Organization.  When a shortage of nuns resulted in a teaching vacancy at Sacred Heart School, Mrs. Feldhaus stepped in and taught social studies, spelling, and remedial reading at Sacred Heart School for a number of years.

Mrs. Feldhaus was an active supporter of the scouting movement in Lawrence County.  She served as a Cub Scout Den Mother and on numerous committees, receiving the Long Rifle Award for distinguished service. 

Mrs. Feldhaus combined her interests in history and religion by co-authoring a book on the history of Sacred Heart parish in Lawrenceburg.  She also served as a research assistant on Mary Carter’s History of Lawrence County. 

An amateur genealogist, Mrs. Feldhaus enjoyed investigating her various family lines.  Ancestors from England, Scotland, and Wales arrived in the New World in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Boston in the early 1600’s.  Her German ancestors settled in Indiana in the 1830’s.  As she so often did, Mrs. Feldhaus carried her personal interest in genealogy and history into the community, serving with distinction on the Lawrence County Heritage Society and working with the Lawrence County Bicentennial Commission.

Mrs. Feldhaus did not leave her homemaking skills out of her charitable impulses.  She was an active member, and President for several terms, of the Lawrence County Home Demonstration Group, where experienced homemakers shared their skills with younger ones. 

Mrs. Feldhaus’ love of history led her to take many correspondence courses on the subject.  For many years she traveled the world through her reading, but in later life she was fortunate enough to enjoy several trips to Europe and extended tours of Mexico and Asia.

Suffering from Alzheimer’s disease during the last three or four years of her life, Mrs. Feldhaus would share, when asked by her fellow nursing home residents and staff, her tales of her travels.  Her verbal visualizations of her travels to Egypt were so complete, and her stories so vivid, that the staff were amazed later to learn that she had never been there.  She had read and retained so many details that she not only could convince others, but she had even convinced herself, that she had been there.  As her son says, “in a very real sense, through her reading and her study she really had been there.”

An avid bridge player, Mrs. Feldhaus continued playing regularly until Alzheimer's took its toll late in her life.   She loved duplicate bridge, and for many years was an active participant in a local group of duplicate bridge enthusiasts. 

When many of Mrs. Feldhaus’ compatriots began to move into nursing homes, Mrs. Feldhaus became a volunteer at nursing homes, developing a program entitled “The Way Things Were.”  Each week, Mrs. Feldhaus would make a presentation to the nursing home residents on some aspect of the past, always careful to tailor the topic to her audience and their experiences.  Mrs. Feldhaus’ visits were always popular.  When she took her program in 1995 to Pueblo, Colorado, where she moved to live with her daughter, Mary Ann Sanders, Mrs. Feldhaus was named volunteer of the year by the local nursing home.

Mrs. Feldhaus’ husband of fifty years, Lawrence Bernard Feldhaus, died in 1986.  A daughter, Margaret Nelle Feldhaus, died in 1959, and a son, Commander John Anthony Feldhaus, died in 1966 while piloting an aircraft in Viet Nam.  Mrs. Feldhaus is survived by her brothers Robert Bernard Holthouse, Sr., of Lawrenceburg and Osceola, Arkansas, and Bernard Godfrey Holthouse, Jr., a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, by her sister, Nelle Jean Smith, of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, by three sons, Lawrence Bernard Feldhaus, Jr., of Nashville, Tennessee, Stephen Martin Feldhaus, of Washington, DC, and Frank Dunn Feldhaus, of Houston, Texas, and by a daughter, Mary Ann Sanders, of Katy, Texas, by twelve grandchildren, and by seven great-grandchildren.