Many strive for significance; Margaret Eisenbeck achieved it by making a major difference in the lives of others, both personally and beyond that at the state, national and international level.
Born March 18, 1936 in Waco, Texas, Margaret started at Hardin Simmons and later graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Facing down six, seven and eight-year-olds, she started her career teaching first and second grade. Along with her husband Lester, they were founding members of Hyde Park Baptist’s International Friendship Program that hosted hundreds of international families attending UT. Her faith played the central role in her life. Margaret became one of the first women Deacons and Deacon Chairs at First Baptist Church of Austin.
In 1983, she went on to receive a Master’s in Education from the University of Texas and could have easily completed a fulfilling career in primary education, but decided to tackle older kids … much older. Understanding that there were thousands of adults who had fallen through the cracks of the education system and could neither read nor write, she proposed the first adult literacy program in Austin to the Texas Education Agency. Leveraging a small grant with sweat equity, she created the Travis County Adult Literacy Council. As the first Executive Director, she expanded the program to become the Texas Adult Literacy Laubach, which has since evolved into today’s Literacy Texas. For her outstanding contributions to literacy, Margaret was named an Austin Woman of the Year and was honored by First Lady Barbara Bush at the White House. She was also recognized in 2019 as an international Outstanding Educator by Delta Kappa Gamma (Eta Tau chapter) – International Society of Key Women Educators.
Margaret was an active member of Austin Baptist Church. She loved and supported the arts and the Austin Symphony. She also loved travel and, of course, UT sports. Margaret always put others before herself and demonstrated that the consummate, gracious, Southern woman could also blaze trails, challenge societal norms and solve real-world problems. A loving wife, mother and grandmother, she provided an exceptional role model for her children: Elizabeth (Lilli) Stevens (husband Dave), Katherine Sappington (husband Brett), and Jim Eisenbeck (wife Julie). She also loved and was very proud of her grandchildren: Hunter Sappington (wife Lindsay), Matthew Sappington (wife Emma), Spencer Sappington, Dawn Atlas, Pierce Atlas, Alex Eisenbeck, Adam Eisenbeck and Jessica Peterson. She is survived by her loving husband Lester Eisenbeck and her sister Eleanor Davis.
Visitation will be Friday April 29th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 North Lamar, and a Celebration of Life will be 10:00 am Saturday April 30th at Austin Baptist Church, 7016 Ribelin Ranch Dr.
Please visit Margaret’s obituary page at https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/austin-tx/margaret-eisenbeck-10714105 and click on her livestream link under “Services” to view her livestreamed service.
A memorial gift can be made to the James G. and Gertrude Mixson and Aubrey Carmen and Frances Mixson White Endowed Memorial Scholarship, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97050, Waco TX 76798 or online https://baylor.edu/give/inmemory/Meisenbeck. Please note the gift is in memory of Margaret Eisenbeck.
Her favorite quote was, “Given the brevity of time and obsolescence of things, what are you doing that makes a difference?” – Browning Ware.
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.cookwaldenfuneralhome.com for the Eisenbeck family.
Posted online on April 22, 2022
Published in Austin American Statesman