Obituary: Margaret Cecilia Koval, 1937-2021 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Margaret Cecilia Koval, 1937-2021 

Grandmother of 23 loved to laugh and was a woman of profound grace and strength

Published January 19, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated January 19, 2022 at 4:24 p.m.

click to enlarge Margaret Koval - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Margaret Koval

Margaret Cecilia Koval, aka “Marge,” age 84, died peacefully in her sleep in her daughter Karen’s farmhouse in Starksboro, Vt., on December 28, 2021. She was under the kind guidance of Addison County Home Health & Hospice.

Marge was born on August 5, 1937, in Detroit, Mich., as the third child of nine to Steve and Alice (Nestich) Birskovich. She attended Mathews High School in Vienna, Ohio, and loved to recount stories of her cheerleading and homecoming queen events. She went to a year of college in Bowling Green, Ohio, but decided instead to marry her handsome sweetheart, Edward P. Koval, and subsequently moved back to Detroit, Mich., to begin the journey of their family life together.

In Detroit, Marge and Ed had four children, Kenneth Edward, Mary Kathryn, Gary Francis and David Michael. They moved to Vermont as an employment opportunity for Ed and built a house in Essex. Marge loved being outside in the fresh air, and Sundays after church were family hiking days in the Vermont mountains, often in search of rocks to build the stone wall in front of the Essex home. The family flourished with the births of three more children, Eric Matthew, Glen Thomas and Karen Elizabeth. The family of seven children was complete. The fact that Marge loved babies was clearly evident all the way to the last days of her life.

In Vermont, Marge was passionate about participating in St. Pius X Church, because she truly, deeply believed in Christ and the example of Christianity. She often talked about the example of Mother Theresa and how to love the individual person. She was a person who understood deeply how to love and showed her family how this looked in action. She taught catechism, which brought her a lot of personal joy and fulfillment as she taught many children how to pray and connect with God. She continued a connection to the church as a Eucharistic minister at Christ the King Church in Burlington, Vt., until she was 80 years old.

After the sudden death of her husband of 44 years, Marge sold the Essex homestead and the Koval’s Coffee businesses that they owned and operated, then moved to Grand Way Senior Living Center in South Burlington. She developed so many wonderful friendships there! She often spoke about how she perceived this time as a very special time in her life.

Marge was a wonderful mother and grandmother, and a proud great-grandmother, who developed a personal connection with each one of her 23 grandchildren. Marge is survived by all seven of her children and their families. She is also survived by her loving sisters and their families: Marion Turner, Veronica Finch, Theresa Scotchie and Bernadette Paukovich; and by her sister-in-law Mary Birskovich. All these wonderful sisters and their deceased brothers (Steve, Joe, Greg and Tommy Birskovich) have beautiful children whom Marge loved dearly and spoke of often.

Marge was a person of impish humor (just ask her friends about April Fool’s Day pranks!) who loved to laugh, dance in the kitchen, bet on the horse races and Hula-Hoop! She loved music and live performances of all kinds, but especially musicals and dancing! She loved eating ice cream and peanut butter. She was a master of common sense. But most of all, she was a woman of strength and profound grace, which she displayed until her very last breath.

Marge lived and died by the prevailing thought that love changes everything. Item Mom.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Friday, May 6, 2022, 11 a.m., at St. Pius X Church in Essex Center, Vt. A burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery on Cemetery Road in Essex. Arrangements are under the direction of Ready Funeral Home, 68 Pinecrest Dr., Essex Junction, Vt. To send online condolences to her family, please visit

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