Violent White Center Murder Takes One of Our Own

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by Scott Schaefer

It is with a very heavy, stunned heart that we report the tragic, shocking and sad passing of one of our own – Margaret Ryan, 69, a Writer/Sales Rep for The White Center and B-Town Blogs, was stabbed to death by her own son in her apartment late Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 13.

I first learned of the crime from a Tweet sent out late Tuesday afternoon by Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff’s Office. I posted a photo Cindi had sent out along with a short story about the incident, all the while totally oblivious of just how sad and shocking it would ultimately be to our South King Media family as well as the entire White Center community.

Shortly after posting it, I received an email from a KIRO-TV reporter, who implied that the victim may have worked for one of our blogs. Realizing that it could indeed be Margaret, I called the reporter immediately and she informed me gently via phone that the woman killed was indeed her.

I then confirmed it with Sgt. West, then told my wife Theresa, our Sales Manager who worked closely with Margaret. We both cried in shock, stunned at what just happened. It became hard to fully function as we went into immediate mourning, the kind where you don’t really know what you should be doing at any moment.

It is just so surreal that Margaret is gone, just like that. Ironically, as I was piecing the story together, I actually wondered to myself: “how could someone kill his own Mother?

Earlier Tuesday I posted an Ad and story that Margaret sold too. I feel bad that I still owed her another story – ironically about a recent Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration in White Center that I was supposed to post last week (it will be posted soon).

One of the risks of reporting for the communities you live in is when a crime you’re writing about involves someone you know and work with. And when it’s a tragic, horrific story about someone you know…well, it’s even worse.

Margaret Ryan had been a freelance Writer, Reporter and Sales Rep for us since the spring of 2011. She had originally reached out to us, inquiring whether we needed any help in White Center. I met her for coffee and off she went, doing human interest stories, selling Ads to local Mom and Pop businesses, and always pitching great ideas for the blogs. She even learned how to take photos with one of our cameras.

We all liked her, because she really loved White Center, its businesses, arts, people, politics and character. She was sassy, spunky, and she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind either. Many who knew Margaret will attest to her frankness, which we found refreshing in this day of oftentimes over-the-top, carefully-worded political correctness. If Margaret didn’t like something – or if she loved something – you would know!

She had recently released her first e-book, and was working on her own blog – here’s an excerpt:

These days, I am surprising myself with some of my capabilities – that are actual, not imaginary. I also know that I can’t control what people think of me, but I can control what I think of myself. I want to give myself a chance. I believe I have something to offer – at least, to my children. There might be some healing going on, not only in myself, but in my relationships. Compassion is needed all around. With compassion comes the ability to love. Love is the antithesis of narcissism. Amen.

We all feel very sad, disconnected and angry at the world. It’s just not fair that Margaret, who seemed many years younger than her actual age (69 – still hard to fathom!), is gone in a tragic crime that we had to report, especially as she was starting a brand new chapter in her life.

Some remembrances from Margaret’s co-workers:

I didn’t know Margaret well, having only been with her in a handful of B-Town Blog staff meetings. But on those occasions, it was easily apparent that Margaret was a kind and gentle lady who lived life with enthusiasm. This is a tragic loss for all who knew her. Rest in Peace.

– Ralph Nichols

Margaret helped with the footwork in organizing our recent Town Hall Meeting on Annexation in October.

Margaret felt good about her neighborhood. “We’re proud of our image in White Center!” she told us enthusiastically just last Thursday at our weekly blog staff meeting.

At that meeting, Margaret spoke positively of her “just starting to go through a personal renaissance.”

Margaret Ryan was an absolutely authentic person. There was not a scintilla of artificiality or facade about her.

She had a sense of humor and enjoyed wit. At our most recent staff meeting she made us all laugh as one of us “stripped down,” removing his motorcycle outer wear as he sat down.

“Keep going, Michael! Keep going,” Margaret said laughing. “Don’t stop now!”

She showed a natural and continuous interest and curiosity in others and the world around her. I sense these qualities sustained her throughout her life.

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all her friends and relatives and neighbors.

– Mark Neuman

Tributes are also being posted on Margaret’s Facebook Page:

Mom, I can’t remember the last time I told you I loved you and now you’re gone. Please know that I do and always have. I’m so sorry things ended this way. I know you are at peace now.

Love always,
Your daughter

The WC community remembers a beautiful friend. A quintessential woman of unwavering perseverance for truth and social justice. Tonight, Heaven graces a beloved ally.

– Aileen Sison

Rest in Peace Margaret Ryan.

If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about Margaret, please leave a Comment below…

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5 Responses to “Violent White Center Murder Takes One of Our Own”
  1. Shari says:

    Scott and team: My heartfelt condolences. Though I didn’t know Margaret, I’m mourning both her passing and the fact that I never had the obvious pleasure of her company.

    • Lawrence (Larry) Smith says:

      We express our heartfelt sorrow over the tragic death of my niece Peggy. And our appreciation to all her coworkers for their kind words – to which I can only say “amen”We can only say we were blessed to have her for the short 69 years. Maybe God felt she has suffered enuf on this earth & welcomed her with open arms – her Uncle Larry checking in. >[email protected]<

  2. Coverofnight says:

    My condolences to all….

  3. Brad T says:

    This is a terible loss for White Center and beyond, she was a very nice lady indeed. My condolences to her family friends and co-workers.

  4. DFHobbs says:

    Scott – This shocks and saddens me so. My condolences to you and those who share the loss. -Duane

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