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Former Fall River teacher involved in Fall River Celebrates, Heritage State Park, Marine Museum, passes away



A woman who left her impact in many ways in the Fall River community has died.

89-year-old Margot White Cottrell, of Swansea, Mass. died peacefully in her home surrounded by her loved ones last week.

“As a teacher and church youth group leader she mentored many young people in the greater Fall River community. She co-founded the Fall River Children’s Theater Group, writing scripts and original music for their productions, and she ran a children’s summer camp at her home in Swansea. A lover of song, she was a member of a sea chantey group called Dead Hoarse for several years and sang in the South Coast Community Chorale.

“Cottrell gave back to her community in several leadership roles of the Junior League of Fall River. She served on many nonprofit boards for various causes, including education, healthcare, animal rescue, the arts, literacy, women’s organizations, and church groups.

“Cottrell was President and Art Director for the Marine Museum at Fall River for many years; in 2014, the museum recognized her efforts by dedicating their library to her and her husband Tom. She also served as the initial Director of the Fall River Heritage State Park and, notably, became the first female Park Supervisor in the state of Massachusetts. She was instrumental in organizing Fall River Celebrates America in its early years. For all her engagement in these and other endeavors, she received the Recognition Award-Fall River Chamber of Commerce in 1982 and Fall River Professional and Business Women’s Club “Woman of the Year” award.

“Her strong interest in ecological issues found her fighting for clean water and air early on in the burgeoning conservation movement. She offered her time and energy to many committees and organizations supporting the environment, conservation, historical preservation, and economic development. An original appointee to the Conservation Commission in the Town of Swansea, Cottrell served as Chairperson or Clerk for 25 years, formulating much of the policy and procedures for the Commission and she co-chaired Operation Clearwater, a first-time waterfront clean-up project.

“Margot, true to her style, asked funeral attendees to dress colorfully and with panache, fanciful hats encouraged.

“Arrangements are in the care of the Waring-Sullivan Home at Birchcrest, 189 Gardners Neck Road, Swansea, MA, 508-676-1933. Calling hours are from 10:00am – 12:30pm on Sunday, October 30, 2022, with a service to follow at 12:30pm. A brunch in Margot’s honor will follow at The Cove Restaurant, 392 Davol St., Fall River, MA.

“In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Cancer Society in Margot’s name would be greatly appreciated to honor her legacy.”

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