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Sharing memories
(includes Marianne Perry of Allergy & Asthma Specialists)

By Cherise M. Newsome, The Virginian-Pilot – 1/30/2011

You’d have to look pretty hard for a resident who knows and loves Norfolk better than Margaret Nixon.

Nixon, 86, is a Maury High alumna who lives in Fairmount Park, across the street from the house where she grew up. She loves all things Norfolk and has never considered living anywhere else.

“Norfolk is my town,” she said.

Nixon recalls city history facts at the drop of a hat. She remembers when Lafayette Park was a golf course and how she’d cross the foot bridge to City Park. She reminisces easily about riding the streetcars downtown and then taking a bus to Berkley, where her father owned the Rex Theater. Cromwell Road was once Old Buzzard Neck Road, she recalls, and all the vacant land in the neighborhood was used as fairgrounds for carnivals, sports, and horse and car racing.

“We used to sit on the roof at the house,” she said. “We could see the cars and the tires fly out in the air.”

She’s active in the city to this day. She’s a member of Lafayette Presbyterian Church – which will celebrate its 100th anniversary later this year – and has been for more than 50 years. As treasurer of the church, Nixon helps coordinate the payroll, writes checks and pays the bills. She delivers Meals on Wheels to nursing homes. She knits hats and booties for charities that support premature babies at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. She’s a member of the Norfolk Botanical Garden and a supporter and fan of the Virginia Symphony Pops series.

After working in various administrative roles for 31 years at Home Beneficial Life Insurance, she’s due a break. But perhaps it’s her busyness that has kept her going strong all these years.

“That’s what the doctors have said,” Nixon quipped. “I manage to keep going.”

You might call her Miss Independent, as her only live-in company is Georgey, a Labrador retriever. Both her husband and only child have passed away. But her four grandchildren check on her often.

In her spare time, she loves traveling, especially with niece Marianne Perry. They’ve been to a saloon in Keystone, S.D.; the Grand Canyon; and Bryce Mountain.

They’ve ridden in power boats, driven across Wyoming and spent summers in Emerald Isle, N.C. At times, they seem more like mother and daughter or two friends, united by their love of life.

“Margaret loves to have fun,” Perry said. “She’s game for things.”

A few years ago, Nixon was robbed as she entered the back door to her house. She tussled with the assailant as he grabbed her purse and she then followed him down the driveway until she realized he could have a weapon. A neighbor called police, but the attacker got away with her cash and checks. That instance taught her to be more careful and watchful of her environment, but it hasn’t stopped her from getting out and about.

“I just take it day by day,” she said. “Whatever comes, comes.”

Cherise M. Newsome, 446-2794,


About Allergy & Asthma Specialists
Since 1951 the allergists at Allergy & Asthma Specialists have been successfully treating adults and children in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and throughout Hampton Roads, where the climate is conducive to allergies and asthma problems. Our allergist is specifically trained to treat Hay Fever, Allergic Rhinitis, Allergic Reactions, Allergies and more.