A plaque in Margaret Mesna's hallway read, "I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
"That was what everybody thought of her. She was just a sweetheart," daughter Carolyn Smith recalled.
Mesna, a Nampa resident, died Jan. 10 at age 86.
Born May 29, 1920, in Jamestown, N.D., Mesna's moved with her family at a young age to Fergus Falls, Minn., where she attended high school. While skating around an ice rink during those years, she met her future husband, Erv Mesna.
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Mesna attended business college in Minneapolis, and she and Erv married in 1940.
Her first job was as a court stenographer, which paid $60 a month, an amount that seemed generous to Erv and Margaret, Smith said.
Mesna gave up her job when Carolyn was born, and Erv joined the Army.
"Times were really hard back then. They depended on a lot of canned foods. There was very little coming in," Smith said.
After Erv's return, Mesna went back to work as a secretary and was known to be a speedy typist. She could type 120 words a minute on an old clunker and take more than 200 in short hand, her daughter said.
In her spare time, Mesna liked to spend time oil painting, tending to her flower garden or helping others in need.
"She was always making things for other people or doing things for others. She was always the fist person there to help out anyone in need," Smith said.
Mesna also maintained a strong, though quiet, faith throughout her life and attended First Congregational Church in Nampa.
"When I was going through her things, she had a lot of faith things: prayers, notes, devotions. I never knew she was so religious," Smith said.
Smith also recalled the lessons she learned from her mother.
"She was a wonderful mom. She was a great teacher and very patient with us. Her motto was always ‘Just think ... would you do that if I was here?' That stopped us from doing a lot of things we might have done," Smith said.
After Mesna and her husband retired, the two packed their motor home, loaded up the dogs — they always had two — and traveled the country.
"Mom and Dad were really close. They never went anywhere without each other. From Mexico to Alaska, one side of Canada to the other, I don't think they missed anything," Smith recalled.
"My mom always carried us through. She always had a positive outlook on life."
In Remembrance is a weekly profile on a Treasure Valley resident who has recently passed away. Contact West Treasure Valley reporter Kristi Coffman at email@example.com or 672-6742.