Margo Olsen Lane died unexpectedly but peacefully in her sleep at home in Sarasota, Florida on Sunday, February 28, 2021. She was born November 2, 1943 in Long Branch, New Jersey to Mary Malone Olsen and William Olsen, of Monmouth County, New Jersey, Margo grew up in Fair Haven, New Jersey.
Margo was educated at Red Bank Catholic ‘62, Carlow University (BA) ‘66, and Farleigh Dickinson (MA) ‘80. After hearing Bayard Rustin speak in Pittsburgh late in ‘62, she became impassioned to challenge racial injustice. When the call came from The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in March of ‘65, she set off for Montgomery, Alabama to demonstrate and later march on the bridge. She was charged by mounted police and sprayed with firehoses before rejoining her group at Brown Chapel where she heard a wounded John Lewis speak to the assembly.
Margo’s experience led her to dedicate her life to the work of social justice through education. She taught for five years at majority African American public schools Philadelphia and for another 32 years in Red Bank, New Jersey. She was certified at elementary and secondary levels in History, English and Social Studies. She was known to be tough and fair, offering respect to all, regardless of reputation. In her own writing Margo said, “I wanted to be a great teacher who believed in the abilities of my students and a teacher who could help my students believe in themselves.”
Margo married William Lane at St. James, Red Bank, retired from teaching, and later relocated to Sarasota, Florida. Margo built a busy life of activity to sustain Will in best possible health.
Margo was a collector of the company of wonderful people. She devoted herself to connecting with anyone who was spirited or having a rough time, in equal measure to offer solace and in hopes of eliciting a smile or laugh from them. She was quick to reach out to hold a hand and offer a soft and consoling smile of understanding. She was ever attentive to find opportunities for compassion.
Margo never avoided a chance to stand up for her beliefs. Her teacher’s voice would boom out in rebellious challenge, refusing to brook ignorance, injustice or entitlement. She was a fierce advocate, both as a mother to Shane and later a caregiver for Will.
For fun, Margo loved gardening, time at the beach, playing in the waves, sailing, or any excuse to be on or near the water. Margo was a member of Navesink Garden Club and Monmouth Boat Club in New Jersey. She was also a huge fan of Irish Music. She and Will were regulars at jam sessions at Pub 32. She loved festive company and community wherever that might be found. She treasured a good book, especially about history and stories of human transcendence over adversity. A favorite poster in her home picturing a stocking-capped, smiling senior advises, “Take an author to bed.”
Margo is survived by her loving son, Shane Hoffman, his husband Michael, Kerry Hanlon (stepdaughter), Michael Lane (stepson), Erin, Patrick, Julia and April (step-grandchildren), Eric Olsen (brother), Mia, Ali and Katherine (nieces), favorite young people, Eve, Naomi, Reid, Ford, Conor and Shane and many people who were students and became life-long friends.
Online service to be held at noon on March 28th, 2021. Please click here
for invitation to the online celebration of life. https://afterword.co/stories/margo-and-william-lane
In lieu of flowers, please tell someone you love them and consider donations to the United Negro College Fund https://uncf.org/