Margaret Stancil pictured in summer 2019 after picking tomatoes from her garden at her home in Ball Ground. FAMILY PHOTO

COVID-19 claims longtime Ball Ground resident, avid traveler

Margaret Stancil spent all of her nearly nine decades of life as a resident of northeast Cherokee County, save for the couple of years she spent working in Atlanta. When she died last month at age 89, she was believed to be Ball Ground’s oldest resident.

Her deep familial ties to the area and love for people made her a source of extensive local knowledge.

“Margaret Stancil was an icon in our city. For years, she was very active in our community and the oldest longtime resident of Ball Ground that I know of. I am personally lucky that I have known her all my life. She will definitely be greatly missed,” Ball Ground’s Mayor Rick Roberts wrote in an email.

She was born on May 26, 1930, in Canton to Auburn J. Fletcher and Mattie Baldwin Fletcher, who had survived the Spanish flu as a teenager. Margaret Stancil died on April 29 at Northside Hospital-Cherokee, where she had been moved a few days earlier from Canton Nursing Center after testing positive for COVID-19.

While she will be remembered for her local influence, her experiences were global.

Margaret Stancil, an avid traveler, on an Alaska trip in the late 1990s. 
Photo: FAMILY PHOTO

After retiring from Walmart where she worked mostly as a retail clerk, she traveled extensively with a group of friends, venturing to all 50 states and across Europe. Her son, Anthony, said her love of people is what motivated her to see the world. She had a modest upbringing, but eventually visited places like Italy, England and Russia, he said.

“And that was from a little girl that … had cotton fields, and she picked cotton and hoed cotton fields and got paid maybe 50 cents a day,” Anthony “Tony” Stancil said of his mother. “… Just an amazing journey through this life.”

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Margaret Stancil was married to Roy N. Stancil, who was a prominent Cherokee County businessman. In the 1950s, Roy Stancil moved his diaper manufacturing plant from downtown Atlanta to Cherokee County, where he had also been raised.

That brought Margaret Stancil back to her roots and the community where she lived the rest of her life. There, she was a longtime member of Conn’s Creek Baptist Church and an avid card player — canasta was her game of choice. She loved to talk to people and to toil in her garden.

Margaret Stancil standing next to her sister Jane after gathering pears at their home near Ball Ground. 
Photo: FAMILY PHOTO

Anthony Stancil said he believes his mother will be remembered as a “wealth of knowledge” in her community.

“Most of all, people will remember her for her memories and her information she had,” Anthony Stancil said, noting people in the community often asked her about local history. “She was a loving, people person with a vast knowledge of occurrences and events in Cherokee County for a long time.”

He notes his mother’s mind was sharp up until the very end of her life. And while they weren’t able to be there with her at the hospital, he was quick to praise the staff who provided updates throughout her final days.

“They fought hard at the hospital, along with herself, but she lost the battle,” Anthony Stancil said.

During her hospital stay he was able to pass along messages to his mother over the phone. He wanted her to know that their family was doing well and that they loved her — the little girl from “meager means” who had gone on to see the world.

Read and sign the online guestbook for Margaret Stancil

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