Margret Linton Haigley, 90, eyewitness to the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941

April 14, 2001|By Tom Gutting | Tom Gutting,SUN STAFF

Margret Linton Haigley, a descendant of Maryland's Ark and Dove settlers and an eyewitness to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Wednesday at College Manor Nursing Home in Lutherville. She was 90 and had lived in Towson before moving to the nursing home.

Born Margret Linton Hebb, she grew up on Pratt Street in Baltimore. During the summers of her youth, Mrs. Haigley and her family spent time at their 257-acre farm in St. Mary's County; the house burned down in 1926.

She graduated in 1929 from St. Mary's Seminary for Women, now St. Mary's College, then attended the College of Notre Dame of Maryland and graduated in 1932.

In 1935, she married Dr. Thomas Brien Haigley, an Army doctor.

Family members recall how Mrs. Haigley entertained them with vivid stories, especially from her husband's Army days. Dr. Haigley was stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Brien Haigley of Baltimore remembers his grandmother telling him that on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, she and her husband were in bed when they heard planes flying over their house.

His grandparents assumed, said Mr. Haigley, that American planes were flying reconnaissance missions, although Sunday flights were unusual.

Dr. Haigley looked outside and told his wife, "There are rising suns on those planes," said Mr. Haigley.

The planes with the Japanese emblem strafed the street outside their house, Mrs. Haigley would tell her grandchildren. Bullet holes were scattered across their trash can, and a soldier stood in their back yard firing at the diving planes.

Dr. Haigley left for the Army hospital and didn't return for three weeks, said Mr. Haigley; his wife and children were evacuated.

"They let them take one suitcase and all the milk they had," said Mr. Haigley.

Mrs. Haigley's ancestors, the Hebbs, were among Maryland's first 200 settlers. They traveled from England in 1634 aboard two ships, the Ark and the Dove, to establish the colony.

"She constantly had a lot of great stories," said Mr. Haigley. "She was just a real interesting lady."

In 1950, Mrs. Haigley began working as a bookkeeper at Hutzler's department store in Towson. She remained there until her retirement in 1975.

She also was an avid reader, completing two or three books a week until she went blind about six months ago.

Services were held yesterday.

Mrs. Haigley's husband died in 1949, and a son, Donald Linton Haigley, died in 1976.

Mrs. Haigley is survived by two sons, Thomas Brien Haigley of Cockeysville and John Stephen Haigley of Towson; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the St. Mary's College of Maryland Foundation, 18952 E. Fisher Road, St. Mary's City 20686-3001.

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