Margaret M. (Tappenden) Kuhl

Margaret M. (Tappenden) Kuhl, age 79, of Bedford, NH died May 2 surrounded by her family, at Bedford Hills Rehabilitation facility. She initially made progress after successful hip replacement surgery, but her frail condition, which she struggled with for years, lacked the reserves to see her through other complications.

She is survived by her husband Dick, of Bedford; children, Robert, Douglas and Susanne of Bedford and Manchester; 2 grandchildren, Gavin and Khloe; and many brothers and sisters both in the United States and England.

Born in 1935 in London’s East End within the sound of the bells of Bow Church, she was a true “cockney”. She loved London, just not the cockney accent and worked to develop the delightful accent we knew and which she delivered with a lovely velvety voice.

As a child during the early bombing of London and World War II she, along with many other children who lived near target areas, was evacuated to sites far from London and entrusted to hosts required to take them in. As a 5-year old, always carrying her government-issued Mickey Mouse gas mask, she suffered through one cruel host family but later was evacuated elsewhere with a family who were welcoming and kind.

After this relatively short evacuation, she returned to South London after the family had lost two homes to bombing.

She remembered vividly the barrage balloons, anti-aircraft booms, German aircraft and the sirens at night when they went into the shelters and she later witnessed the hundreds of trucks carrying troops and equipment to the Normandy invasion.

As a young woman, she was skilled in ballroom dancing and one evening in 1958 she, her sister and friends went into London’s West End to visit a large dance palace, the historic Lyceum theatre near Covent Garden, which had been converted to a dance hall during the war.

That night, she met a USAF
Lieutenant visiting London from his base about 75 miles north. He spotted her among hundreds of others across the crowded room, made his way to her and asked her to dance. Much later in life, she said that when she saw the tall young man approaching her, she knew he was the man she would marry. He in turn, saw a very special young woman: bright, vivacious and lovely.

They danced, danced again, he drove her and her friends home and the two of them talked for hours, each feeling they had known the other for years. He asked if he could kiss her goodnight, she said “Yes” and such was the start of a courtship which ended in a marriage which lasted 54 years.

When they came to the United States, she used her administrative skills to help him though graduate school, first as assistant to Mary Bunting, President of Radcliffe College and then working in management at the Boston Museum of Science.

She continued to work as time and children permitted and never complained as the family moved from Cambridge to: Cincinnati; Scarsdale, NY; Fairfield, CT; and finally, Bedford. Later in her life she did volunteer work such as helping single women in distress in the Manchester, New Hampshire, area.

She loved theater, classical music, was a voracious reader and was fiercely liberal with a strong dedication to fairness and justice and an outspoken supporter of the less fortunate.

Warm and generous, kind, independent, capable and strong, as beloved wife, mother, grandmother sister, aunt and friend, all will miss her support and, most of all, her love which was always absolute and unconditional.

There was a small family-only ceremony held at Phaneuf Funeral Home in Manchester. A
celebration of Margaret’s life was held at the Bedford Village Inn between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 7.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ACLU or the Psoriasis Foundation on her behalf, or any charity of choice.

To leave an online message of condolence or to watch a video tribute of Margaret’s life please visit www.phaneuf.net.