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Margaret Selling Labby ’40

In keeping with the way she lived, Margaret Labby died with her family around her. An avid reader, enthusiastic cook, curious traveler, and beloved teacher, she was first and foremost the openhearted, supportive center of her family. Every year Margaret gathered them around her at the house in Seaview, Washington, where she had spent summers as a child.

She was born into a Jewish family that included her grandfather, Oregon state senator and philanthropist Ben Selling, and her father, Laurence Selling, a founder of the Portland Clinic.

She met her future husband, Dr. Daniel H. Labby ’35 at Lincoln High School. Their six-year courtship was prelude to a 75-year marriage. Margaret spent all but the last three months of her married life with Daniel at her side. He died in 2015.

At Reed, Margaret majored in political science and wrote her thesis, Effect of the Social Security Act on Public Health Activities in Oregon with Prof. Charles McKinley [political science 1918-60]. When her youngest child was nine years old, Margaret set aside her Great Books collection and League of Women Voters activities and returned to Reed to earn an MAT. Her years as an English teacher at Lincoln High School were among her favorites.

After retiring in the early 1970s, she earned a master’s in social work from Portland State University, and enjoyed a new career as a social worker.

Her children, Joan Labby and son-in-law Tom Nickel of San Francisco, Dr. David Labby ’66 and daughter-in-law Dr. Sarah Slaughter of Portland, and daughter Louise Labby Carrol and son-in-law Richard Carroll of Lake Oswego; her brother Ben; five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren survive Margaret.

Appeared in Reed magazine: March 2016

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