RIP Margaret Groening, Inspiration for Marge Simpson

Margaret Groening and son Matt in 1996

Margaret Groening and son Matt in 1996

The announcement came in an obituary at The Oregonian on May 6, 2013. Here it is, in full:


Groening, Margaret Ruth 94 March 23, 1919 April 22, 2013 Margaret Groening died peacefully in her sleep on April 22, 2013, in Portland. Born Margaret Wiggum on March 23, 1919, in Chisolm, Minn., Margaret was 94 years old. Margaret’s parents, Matt and Ingeborg Wiggum, met on the boat coming to America from Norway. They settled in Everett, Wash., where the paper mill “smelled like money,” and Matt worked as a machinist. As high school valedictorian and Miss Everett, Margaret’s highest honor was being named May Queen of Linfield College. She graduated from Linfield in 1941 and married classmate Homer Groening, whom she chose because he made her laugh the most. Margaret taught high school English before starting a family, and her love of language was apparent in the many Double-Crostics she completed (in ink). Margaret and Homer supported the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Trail Blazers and many local yarn shops (Margaret was a talented needlework artist). Besides Homer, Margaret was preceded in death by her oldest daughter, Patty, who died in Jan., 2013. She is survived by her brother, Arnold; her children, Mark, Matt, Lisa and Maggie; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. The family thanks the wonderful caregivers from Visiting Angels and the hospice nurses from Housecall Providers. Special appreciation also goes to loyal friend, Grace Clark.

Notice the familiar names?

Here’s a longer write-up, also from the Oregonian: Margaret Groening, mother of ‘The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening, remembered as ‘a sweetheart’

For more than 20 years, Portlanders have gottenspecial pleasure from the very familiar names – Terwilliger, Flanders, Lovejoy, Quimby – that recur in “The Simpsons,” the iconic animated Fox comedy series created by Portland nativeMatt Groening.

No reference was more direct, however, than Groening naming the fictional Simpsons after members of his own family: Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Maggie. Only Bart –an anagram for “Brat” –wasn’t named after one of the Groenings.

So it was with a special twinge of recognition that many Portlanders noticed the paid obituary in Monday’s Oregonian for Groening’s mother, Margaret Ruth Groening, who died April 22, at age 94. In interviews over the years, Groening’s mother pointed out that she didn’t go by “Marge,” but that didn’t stop fans from equating her with the ever-tolerant, ever-doting mother on “The Simpsons.”

As a commenter wrote on The Oregonian’s online obituary guest book Monday:“She made this world a better place! And her legacy as ‘Marge’ will live forever. Matt Groening has created such a loving depiction of her! You will live on in our hearts, Marge ‘Simpson.'”

Another, in a note to Matt Groening, wrote, “Your mom became everyone’s mom.”

It sounds like she lived a long and happy life.



2 Comments on “RIP Margaret Groening, Inspiration for Marge Simpson”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    If you’re so inclined, please post your favorite “Marge Simpson” videos.

  2. bostonboomer says: