Margaret Ann (Margo) Sullivan Hibler left her life as she had lived it—on her own terms. After asking to have a pink flower clipped in her hair, she gathered her children around and directed an impromptu service, complete with songs and a poetry reading, before falling into a deep sleep and slipping away in the early hours of June 10, 2020. She was born on January 22, 1922, the fifth of seven children of Anne Winston King Sullivan and Houston architect Maurice J. Sullivan.
She graduated from St. Agnes Academy at the age of 15, then spent a year at Lamar High School before she was considered old enough to enroll at the Rice Institute where she earned her degree. At Rice she met her future husband, Oscar N. Hibler, Jr., who served as an officer in the US Naval Reserve during WWII. They were married in 1945, and lived in Austin where Oscar received a law degree from the University of Texas. He was called back into service during the Korean conflict and then decided to stay in the military, much to Mom’s surprise. Instead of living in Houston and being the wife of an attorney, she became a Navy wife married to a man who moved her to different states many times over many years while they raised their four children. At the end of his 20-year military career, they returned to Houston to live. He died in 2000.
One of Mom’s favorite memories was when, at the age of 5, she slipped on a new yellow bathing suit, snuck out of the house at night, crossed over to Fannin Street, and danced in the moonlight in the front yard of her friend’s house, establishing the independent nature that would last for a lifetime.
Mom was an amazing woman, continually learning new things and full of curiosity about the world, always wanting to know “what would happen next.” She had a great passion for all of the arts and loved going to art museums, Rice concerts, and community theater. She was a woman of great generosity and remarkable thrift. She was diligent about exercising both her mind and her body so neither one would rust. Until very recently she was still attending water exercises at the Y three times a week and solving the daily sudoku and crossword puzzles in the paper. She was fiercely independent and, even as her body began to fail her, she insisted on doing what she could while she could.
She will be remembered for her feistiness; her great sense of humor; her sharp mind; her plain speaking, often without filters and tinged with a smattering of cussing; her wanderlust which took her to many different places and adventures, her concern for the planet and conservation (turn off the lights and recycle, people); her love of a good meal; her enjoyment of a hard-fought card game; her sense of style and her ever-present scarves; her enduring friendships, particularly with the Covenant Women’s Group which she had been a part of for almost 50 years; and her love and support of her children throughout all the ups and downs of life. She had a long life, well-lived, surrounded by people who loved her.
Mom, we know you will always be dancing in the moonlight. And, yes, Mom, we are all copacetic.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, all six of her siblings (Maurice Sullivan, Jr., Elizabeth Lawler, King Sullivan, Charles Sullivan, Stella Sullivan, and William Sullivan), and her son-in-law John Reed.
She is survived by 4 children, 12 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews who remained close as part of her extended family. Her children are Susan (Allan) Jones of Lewiston, Idaho and their children Emily Andrews and son Liam, Rachel (Tyler) Martin and son Harrison, and Andrew (Jasmine) Jones and children Toby and Mallory; Kathy Reed of Houston and her children James (Beverly) Gil and Kay Gil (fiancé Dustin); Tess (Jim) Tolliver of Houston and their children Cody (Nikki) Tolliver and children Lili and CT; Mary (Craig) Hromadka and children Tanner, Kate, and Cole; Tyler Watts (Diana) of , Ted (Susanna) Neben , and Annie Jo (Michael) Escamilla; and Ted Hibler of Austin and his children Henry and Charly Hibler.
The family would like to thank Mom’s companion for the past two and a half years, Nora Rodriguez, for being a friend as well as a helper to Mom.
Mom always sought out small local charities to support. If you would like to make a memorial donation in her name, please contribute to either Turning Point Center, 1701 Jacquelyn Dr, Houston 77055 or Christian Community Service Center, 3230 Mercer St, Houston 77027.
In these unsettled times, we do not have plans for a public gathering. We encourage you all to gather in small groups of friends and family to celebrate the life of Margo Hibler. If so inclined, put a flower in your hair or wear a colorful scarf. Share your memories, sing or listen to Morning Has Broken, read Mom’s poem, and dance in the moonlight.
RECIPE FOR SOUL FOOD
Dear God, must it be full circle?
I’d rather try the arc from grin to giggles
In the name of Job, I cannot like this last!
It has to be all or nothingness, You say?
Back to the old cauldron; stir and stew.
But look there in the steam that rises!
If I tilt a bit and take just such an attitude
A rim of delicate bands will dance through air and light
Bedight with rainbow colors….the old HOPE schtick
Now, if I don’t catch me a crick
From standing here like this….
You say, God, it’s not the best of poses?
Too rigid, too didactic, a too despairing sort of hope?
Back to the cauldron? Yes, Sir!
Ahhh! Full circle means really – really STIR!
There’s more in there than grimy scum on top
Skim that away and reach down deep
The sinew making stuff is heavy
Deep and heavy joy
Heavy with the morsels and seasonings of day on day.
Stir and taste the whole of it
From bouquet clean through
To guts and bone and gristle
Timid sipping from the top
Will make a self deluding slurp
The fullest, deepest dipper
Gives the most celestial BURP.
Serves us all
Serves us right.
Please click below to watch a tribute video: