Margaret Joseph


Margaret, 94, passed away Sunday, May 17, 2020 in Lake Forest, CA of natural causes, or as she was known to say, “just TMB...too many birthdays!”

She was a loving mother, wife, Gram, Great Gram, and loyal friend. She loved Montana and her Montana friendships lasted a lifetime. She will be fondly remembered for her caring spirit, wise advice, ability to create fun, and strength through hardships.

Margaret was born in Lewistown, MT, the daughter of George and Daisy (Apple) Ruckman. Her childhood memories included growing up with loving parents and being surrounded by extended family.

She found her love of music at age 8 and took lessons from a Juilliard School of Music graduate. Following graduation from Fergus County High School, Margaret moved to Alabama where she worked at Camp Rucker’s Headquarter Finance Office during World War II. Upon return to Montana she worked at the Bureau of Reclamation in Billings.

Margaret married George Heinrich in 1947. They lived in Ferndale, WA, and Big Timber, Billings, Fox, Fromberg and Livingston, MT where they engaged in farming and ranching. Over the course of a life, she performed the tasks of a farmer/rancher wife while serving as pianist and organist. Margaret enjoyed most raising 5 children, loving them equally, as she cared for 2 sons who had muscular dystrophy. In later years she said, “music has been my sanctuary.” She played for church, weddings, funerals, and social gatherings for over 70 years with her last performance July 2019.

Margaret married Thomas Joseph in 1974. They built a home together on the banks of the Yellowstone River. Together they found joy in their grandchildren, traveled the US with their travel trailer and took trips outside the country. They retired to Sun City, AZ where she was active in the community as member of PEO, Investment Club, Bible study and various volunteer groups. After Tom passed, Margaret moved to Freedom Village Retirement Community, Lake Forest, CA in 2013 to be near her granddaughter and family. She enjoyed new friendships and was known for her musical performances, holiday gifts of homemade almond roca, a “best neighbor,” “Howard’s lunch date and friend,” competitive Wii bowler and smart bridge partner. She was engaged in friendships and life to her last days and will be greatly missed.

Margaret is preceded in death by her parents; brothers, George and Jack Ruckman; ex-husband, George Heinrich (1980); sons, Douglas (1984) and Bradley (1960); grandson, Trevor (2013); and the love of her life husband, Thomas Joseph (2010). Survivors include: her daughter Cheryl Dennis (Dennis), Randy Heinrich (Sheila), Peggy Heinrich-Wash, 3 step-daughters, Donna Wendte (David), Dianne Thomas, and Denise Nelson (Mike). She is also survived by nine grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

A family celebration of life will take place in Paradise Valley, Montana in Summer of 2021. Donations in her memory may be made to: The Sjogren’s Foundation, 10701 Parkridge Blvd., Suite 170, Reston, VA 20191.

McCormick and Son Mortuaries, Lake Forest, CA has been entrusted with arrangements; to view the full obituary or share condolences visit