Magdalene S. ‘Maggie’ Carttar

Magdalene Stieghorst (“Maggie”) Carttar died peacefully, surrounded by family, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital on April 30, 2018, at the age of 95.

Maggie was born on February 13, 1923, in Hamburg, Germany, to Theodor L. and Johanna (Meyer) Stieghorst. She immigrated to the United States with her parents as an infant, and grew up in the city of Evanston, Illinois. She graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1941, and from Monmouth College (Ill.), in 1945. While earning her Master’s Degree in Physiology (1948) at the University of Chicago, she worked for the Atomic Energy Commission in its early days. At the university, she met Donald M. Carttar, whom she married on October 29, 1949. In 1951, the couple moved to Lawrence, where Maggie taught physiology at the University of Kansas. Between 1952 and 1968, the couple welcomed six children into their family. They divorced in 1976.

Maggie was passionate about children, and about education. She was a first-generation parent and board member at the Lawrence Community Nursery School, which five of her six children attended and where three later served as parents themselves. She served at Head Start, ferrying children to and from school; and with the Cordley Elementary School PTA, which helped form her interest in education policy. After raising her children, she returned to KU to secure her Master of Education degree in 1970, then taught sixth grade at Sunset Hill Elementary School for seven years. She next served as the Placement Director for the KU School of Law, retiring in 1991. She also was elected to two terms on the School Board for USD 497 (1983-1991), where she served twice as President.

Among her interests, Maggie loved excursions, whether close to home or far afield, especially with her family. While they were young, she took her chidren on trips to watch the sun rise at Wells Overlook or Lone Star Lake. Years later, she journeyed with them and their own children throughout the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. Maggie also loved the Christmas season. Every year she baked more than 100 loaves of German stollen to share with people she loved and admired. For more than sixty years, she led her family and scores of friends on an annual caroling circuit throughout Lawrence, often by school bus, no matter the weather.

Maggie is survived by her six children, Stephen (Cindy), Paul (Mary Frances Ellis), Peter (Rosalea), Lene Brooke (Jim), Hans (Jennifer), and David (Claudia Olea), all of Lawrence; her seventeen grandchildren, Rebecca Lu (Dan), Katherine, Johanna, Elizabeth, Maggie Sánchez (José), Emma Brooke, Tennery, Patrick (Lia Palazzolo), Andrew, Sally, Quinlan, Maggie, Isabel, Katie, Amelia, Teddy, and Gabriela; her five great-grandchildren, Sean, Aaliyah, Adella, Mila, and Emiliano; and eight nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Gunther (“Gunny”) Stieghorst, her former husband Don, and a daughter-in-law, Sarah (Jones) Carttar.

A memorial service is scheduled for Monday, May 7, at 11:00 AM at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, with a reception to follow at the church. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Maggie’s life. Donations in her memory may be made to Lawrence Community Nursery School at 645 Alabama Street, or to Audio Reader at 1120 W 11th Street, Lawrence.