A Wise Servant

“A Wise Servant,” Ensign, June 1996, 68

A Wise Servant

Though born on April Fools’ Day (1 April) in 1904, L. Margaret Horner Gilbert of the Escanaba Branch, Marquette Michigan District, has not spent her life carrying out practical jokes but in supporting all kinds of worthy causes.

In fact, Margaret has been so involved in various efforts that at one point before she joined the Church she held 19 positions simultaneously in religious and service organizations. Her labors have included teaching three generations of students between the years of 1923 and 1969, organizing numerous units of the American Cancer Society and the United Way throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, establishing the Delta County Genealogical Society, and participating in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Margaret has been honored by ALTRUSA International, a network of professional women that seeks to promote community service, which named its highest honor for outstanding service the L. Margaret Gilbert Award. The mayor of Escanaba has twice declared an L. Margaret Gilbert Day, once in 1983 for her work with the American Cancer Society and again in 1994 to honor her 90th birthday and years of community service.

One day later in her life, Margaret was reading a copy of the Book of Mormon that a friend had long before given her and that she’d only recently rediscovered sitting on her shelf. When a knock sounded at her door, she felt dismayed about the interruption—but to her surprise, it was two Latter-day Saint missionaries. During her conversion process, many branch members fasted and prayed to help Margaret quit a long-standing smoking habit. She served as branch Relief Society president at age 90, and today she is the branch’s pianist and family history center director.

“If there’s a job to do, you do it,” Margaret says. “If there’s a need to fill, you fill it. If I’ve done any good at all, it’s because something needed to be done, so I did it.”—Janice Andersen Lewis, Rapid River, Michigan