Rim Pioneer Families Lose Well-Loved Daughter

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Another link to the Rim Country’s past was lost last week when Margaret B. “Marty” McCord McDaniel, 84, of Payson, died April 17, 2009.

She was born June 27, 1924 in Little Green Valley to Million Haught Baxter and Bill McCord. She was named Margaret Bell after Million’s sisters, but she is known to her many friends, admirers and loved ones as Marty.

She and her two older brothers, Tom and Corbie Baxter, along with their mother, lived with Mammy and Pappy Haught. When she was small, they all moved to what is now Diamond Point Shadows.

When it snowed, Mammy would break trail for the little ones to the road to catch the school bus, build a fire in the little building that was there for them to wait in, and then go back to the house.

Later the family moved to what is now Payson Ranchos and when she was in the fourth-grade, moved to town on what is now West Cherry Street, just above the home of Ezra and Norma Jean Peace.

When she graduated from the eighth-grade the school was located where the Presbyterian Church stands. She carried her desk to the new rock building and attended classes there. Some of her teachers throughout her school years were, Julia Randall, Ethel Owens, Ellen Skinner and George Pear.

When she graduated from high school, her Aunt Babe bought her a graduation suit and a bus ticket to Long Beach, Calif. to visit a friend.

Her mother, Million, wrote her every day, begging her to come home.

That trip out of the Rim Country may have ignited some of her hereditary adventurous pioneer spirit, because not long after her visit to Long Beach, she went to Gold Hill, Ore. Her cousin Billy Garrels — who was sort of a father figure to her — was in the Army there and she wanted to see him. She lived with Betty Hancock and worked in Medford. Billy married Betty, then he went overseas and Marty talked Betty into moving to Long Beach where they worked as welders in the shipyards.

While working there, Marty met Chuck Williams, who was in the Navy. They were married on June 16, 1944.

When Chuck left the Navy, he and Marty moved to Payson and then to Phoenix. In 1950 they moved to Columbus, Ga. where Chuck’s parents lived. He joined the Navy, again, and was sent to Boston. Marty stayed in Georgia and her son Gregg was born there Jan. 9, 1951.

Chuck was transferred to San Diego, and Million and Marty’s brother Tom rode a bus to Georgia and drove Marty and Gregg to Long Beach.

Her daughter Marsha was born March 26, 1952.

The little Williams family lived in Japan two different times. First in Sasebo and then Yokohama. While there, Marty even climbed Mount Fuji.

Marty left Chuck and came back to Payson in 1961.

Shortly after moving back to Payson, Marty and Ronnie McDaniel were married. On Nov. 16, 1962 their son Tony was born. Marty worked at Valley National Bank for more than 15 years.

Marty has always attended the Longhorn ball games and one year she was grand marshal at the homecoming parade.

Her adventurous and pioneering spirit remained strong over the years — in 1982, Marty, Dorothy Garrels and Ruth Haught went to Europe. Marty retired in 1986 and then went to Alaska to visit friends, Goldene and Tim Neal.

When not helping other people, Marty took care of her grandchildren and attended their ball games. She has 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

She was honored by her fellow Daughters of the Gila County Pioneers when she was named the 2001-2002 Gila County Pioneer Woman of the Year.

She was preceded in death by her father, Bill McCord; her mother, Million Haught Baxter; and brothers, Corbie Baxter and Tom Baxter.

She is survived by her son, Gregg Williams and his fiancee and Marty’s caregiver, Lisa Mackaman; son, Tony McDaniel; daughter, Marsha Hughes and her husband, Terry.

She also is survived by her 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

A celebration of her life will be held at noon, Saturday, April 25 at the Tonto Apache gymnasium with a potluck meal served afterward.

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