Margaret “Marge” Council Heal lent talents to food pantry

Some people have the gift of gab. Others have a gift for growing things. Margaret “Marge” Council Heal seemed to have both.

She was born in Batavia, Ill., to Mabel and Leo Council. She attended Carroll College in Waukesha, Wis., earning a master’s degree in journalism and marketing. Eventually, she wrote for The Cincinnati Post and Cincinnati Times-Star. Along the way, she met and married David Busener.

She and David had three children. Following their divorce, Ms. Heal came to the Atlanta area, where she wrote for travel and hospitality publications. In 1991, her daughter, Janet Jubilee Busener, founded a monthly paper. The two later joined forces on Hometown News, founded to promote positive news in a family-friendly format. Ms. Heal, a senior editor, also sold ads for that company, which now offers six monthly papers.

Margaret “Marge” Council Heal of Atlanta died Oct. 15 from complications of cancer. She was 76. Her funeral is scheduled for noon Saturday at Bill Head Funeral Home, Lilburn/Tucker Chapel in Tucker.

“She was my very best friend, and there was not anything she would not do for me,” said Ms. Busener.

Ms. Heal’s generosity also extended to her community. Kelly Holloway, owner of The Custom Frame Shop in Tucker, remarked, “She was all about supporting small businesses.”

Ms. Busener recalled her mother’s “kind spirit. She had a good and generous heart.”

She said vegetables grown in a Tucker community garden promoted by Hometown News were donated to a local church’s food pantry. “She always wanted to give to others,” Ms. Busener said.

Mike Hardin, director of Friends of St. Martin de Porres Food Ministry at Chamblee’s Holy Cross Catholic Church, said Ms. Heal was a dedicated food pantry volunteer. “She was a lovely person,” he said. “She was very faithful, very giving and would go out of her way to help someone in need.”

“She was a fairly forceful personality, but behind that was a very soft heart. She was very independent and forceful – but in a good way.”

Hometown News Managing Editor Helen Kelley called Ms. Heal “a people person who loved talking to them and hearing their stories.” She fondly recalled Ms. Heal’s green thumb.

“We had a running joke about her being the ‘Tomato Queen’ and, in the spring, we’d often run a photo of her in her garden,” said the editor.

Ms. Kelley also noted Ms. Heal’s knack for small acts of kindness. “She did little things all the time for me,” she said. “There is no way anyone could fill her shoes.”

In addition to her daughter, survivors also include a son, John S. Busener of Athens; a son, David L. Busener of Kanab, Utah; five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.