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Margaret Morrow Cox Ziff, 76, active civic volunteer in Chester, Springfield

Mrs. Ziff volunteered her services in the Springfield Township schools, with the League of Women Voters, and with a small housing nonprofit in Chester.

Margaret Morrow Cox Ziff, 76, of Springfield, Delaware County, a former airline stewardess and teacher, and a longtime civic volunteer, died Wednesday, Nov. 1, of lung cancer at her home.

Mrs. Ziff, known as "Morrow," lived in Springfield for 45 years. She grew up in Towson, outside Baltimore, and graduated from Towson High School in 1959.

She studied French and English at the University of Maryland before graduating in 1963. Then known as "Miss Cox," she worked for a year as a stewardess for a small airline that flew passengers to domestic and international destinations.

"She enjoyed visiting Hawaii, Ireland and Thailand,  where she stayed for six months teaching English to Thai soldiers," her family said in a tribute.

After returning to the United States, Mrs. Ziff taught high school French and English in Maryland.  She met Lloyd Ziff in 1966 while he was serving as an Army chaplain's assistant in Aberdeen, Md. They were married in January 1967 in Baltimore.

The two moved to North Jersey, where Mrs. Ziff taught high school until she was visibly pregnant with her first child in 1968. "At that time, you weren't allowed to teach when they could see you were pregnant," said daughter Tina.

The couple moved to Philadelphia so that her husband could obtain a law degree, and from there, the Ziffs moved to Springfield.

Mrs. Ziff was an active community servant and volunteer both in Springfield and in Chester City.

She also served as a volunteer leader at Chester High School for the honors students' Key Club. The club was supported in part by the Chester chapter of Kiwanis, of which she served as treasurer.

In 1994, while earning her master's degree in organization science at Villanova University, she interned with the Chester Community Improvement Project, a nonprofit that helped the homeless find lasting housing solutions. "It was like a small-scale Habitat for Humanity," her daughter said. "It did help a lot of families in Chester."

After completing the advanced degree, she stayed on as a volunteer for the nonprofit and enjoyed organizing student programs for five years for the Martin Luther King Day of Service in Chester.

For 43 years, Mrs. Ziff was a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Springfield. She taught vacation Bible school and was a member of the church's altar guild.

An avid newspaper reader, Mrs. Ziff kept up on current events and political issues. She joined the the League of Women Voters, a national non-partisan organization that educates the public about political issues and the election process. She served as league Springfield chapter president in the mid-1970s.

While her children were growing up, Mrs. Ziff volunteered as a library aide and events planner in the Springfield schools. "She actually recruited my sister and me to help at my brother's after-prom party," her daughter said. "We served non-alcoholic beverages."

Mrs. Ziff served as an elected Springfield Township school board member in the mid-1990s. In the 1990s and 2000s, she was a member of the local chapter of the American Association of University Women.

She was a committeewoman for the Springfield Democratic Party and a worker for the party's county-level organization.

"On Election Day, she was always seen handing out Democratic Party ballots at her polling place in the Fifth Ward of Springfield," her family wrote.

Mrs. Ziff was a regular tennis player. In recent years, she scaled back her community work to spend more time with her grandchildren. She read widely, solved crossword puzzles, and walked her mixed-breed dogs throughout her neighborhood, greeting everyone she met "with friendly words and a smile," her family wrote.

Her husband died in 1996. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by children Courtney and Robert; five grandchildren; and a sister.

A viewing from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the Frank C. Videon Funeral Home, Sproul and Lawrence Roads, Broomall, will be followed by a second viewing starting at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8, at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 400 Lynnebrooke Rd., Springfield. A funeral service is at 10:30 a.m. Interment is in Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill.

Memorial donations may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 400 Washington Ave., Montgomery, Ala. 36104.