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Valley Public Radio Staff
Tue May 7, 2013
Matt Groening's Mother, Inspiration For Marge Simpson, Dies
Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 3:57 pm
"Margaret Groening died peacefully in her sleep on April 22, 2013, in Portland."
That paid obituary, which ran Monday in The Oregonian, marked the life of the woman who served as the inspiration for one of the best-known characters on television and arguably pop culture: the beehive-coiffed Marge Simpson.
Groening was 94.
Her son, Matt Groening, created The Simpsons, a show for which he drew on characters from his own childhood.
"The names of many characters on the show — Flanders, Kearney, Lovejoy — correspond to street names in Portland, Ore. Indeed, Groening says his goal was to 'name every character after streets in Portland, but we were in a hurry so I dropped the idea.'
"Another clue: The Simpsons live on Evergreen Terrace – also the name of the street the Groenings lived on. And, of course, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie are named after Groening's parents and sisters, respectively."
Born a Wiggum — another name Simpsons fans will recognize — on March 23, 1919, Margaret Groening was high school valedictorian and "Miss Everett." Her obituary notes that she "married classmate Homer Groening, whom she chose because he made her laugh the most."
A separate story in The Oregonian noted that while Matt Groening used his mother as inspiration for Marge, she did not go by that name.
Fans of the show paid tribute to Margaret Groening in her obituary guest book.
"What a shame. She was a delightful woman. I hope one of the grandchildren got that beautiful blue hair. It would be a shame if her lovely features were not passed down to someone in the family," wrote Julie Burkhart from Victor, Mont.
Reader John McFarland of Olympia, Wash., wrote: "RIP Margaret... you may have been born a Wiggum, and married a Groening, but you died a Simpson."
Margaret Groening is survived by her brother, Arnold; her children, Mark, Matt, Lisa and Maggie; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.