MEDINA, OHIO – On July 18, the antiques world lost one its finest and most passionate family members. Marge Staufer, 87, left us after suffering a grave stroke. Family was certainly the most precious thing to her, and four grown children, ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren were shaped, formed, influenced and loved dearly by their matriarch.
Marjorie is survived by her children, Craig (Kathy) Staufer, Joan Staufer (Paul Gonter) and Eric (Debbie) Staufer; grandchildren, Joseph (Natalie), Colleen (Don), Rachel (Aaron), Amanda (Nick), Emily (Nakoa), Nathaniel (Amanda Lu), Willie (Miranda), Andy (Katie), Stephanie (Joe) and Jane; ten great-grandchildren; and sister, Lois Smejkal.
After family, antiques were Marge’s great love. Five decades in the antiques business meant a plethora of special, soulful, hand-picked early items that she passionately and carefully chose for their importance, uniqueness and heartfelt beauty. Her pieces fill hundreds of homes across the United States and so many collectors proudly say, “I got that from Marge.”
Marge’s whole life centered around preserving the past, and she was certainly a pioneer as a collector, dealer, restorationist and preservationist. She, along with her beloved husband Al, moved the 1697 Isaac King home from Massachusetts to Ohio in the mid-1970s, when taking on such an enormous task was unheard of at that time. And just as incredible was the important and significant collection of early American antiques that she had collected to fill it.
Marge’s daughter Joan made the decision to follow in her mother’s footsteps as an antiques dealer several months before her passing. This brought great joy and pride to Marge, knowing her life’s work would continue in the Staufer name. But she leaves mighty big shoes to fill. “Reading mom’s obituary in the paper states the facts, but what I feel that is missing is the magic that was her. Her love of early New England antiques, the smell of lavender that permeates her home, the joy we experienced on trips and long walks in the woods,” Joan shares. “Mom started buying antiques in the early 1960s. I remember riding my bike in circles around her as she was stripping furniture down to its original finish in our barn. Her passion for collecting was due to a relentless desire for knowledge of early American life. As a child, I loved going on buying trips and museum excursions with her and Dad. It was always an adventure and great learning experience.”
Joan goes on to relate, “I remember a dream she shared with me where all the portraits in our house came to life. In her dream, we arrived home to them living in our house. On Christmas Eve, she would place her nativity figures in the bake oven in the fireplace. We would illuminate it with a candle, and Dad would read the Christmas story by candlelight. Mom was very Tasha Tudor-like. We would dye fabric from onionskin and walnuts, dip candles and make cutout cards. But her gift was growing herbs, especially lavender.”
To quote Heidi Dangremond from a recent article about Marge, “It’s hard to measure the influence Marge has had on those who share her love of period living and collecting, but her impact has been far-reaching. Antiques dealers inform and educate. They elevate everyday objects and save history that would otherwise go unnoticed by the masses and cultivate an appreciation in rising generations that is critical to the survival of historical artifacts. It is within the tactile nature of the object that passion to preserve is born. Dealers celebrate the patina that comes from use; they curate the imperfect as well as the perfect; they encourage touch; they look for the story that accompanies the most common items. They create new collectors.
“When she began her career, Marge, like Isaac King, probably gave little thought to her work’s long-term implications. Through selling antiques, however, and in sharing over the years, not only her home but also her expertise and her collection, Marge, whether she planned it or not, has secured her legacy as a dedicated preservationist. She’s done her part to save history and has inspired countless others to do the same.”
It’s unclear if there has ever been a more beloved grandam in our antiques family. Through her gentle ways, kind spirit, passionate grace and quiet encouragement, she led, loved and inspired us all.
Farewell, Marge, our beloved friend. It is certain that you and your Al are putting together a fine collection in an early house beyond the clouds, and that you will lovingly share it all with us when we meet again.
– Submitted by the family