Margaret Alma Hart-Keys

NSS-Obituaries October 1997

1955 – 1997

Margaret Hart-Keys (NSS 9411) died Saturday afternoon the 23 of August from the complications of Graft Versus Host Disease following a bone marrow transplant in July to arrest leukemia. Margaret was born on the 3rdof May, 1955 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her daddy, Harry was a caver (NSS 5457), and she got her early experience with the Reading Grotto in Pennsylvania under his tutelage. She went to the University of West Virginia Morgantown in the ‘70s and married fellow caver Peter Williams in 1975 in Organ Cave, West Virginia. She moved to Austin, Texas about the time of his death to be closer the intense international caving activity from there. She was part of the Kirkwood Kaver Kommunity during it’s heyday in the late ‘70s. Margaret finished college at the University of Texas, and received a Masters degree in Geology. She worked as a hydro-geologist for many years at the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. She and her long time companion, caver Peter Keys, were married in July of 1997, shortly before she began her treatment.

When Margaret was diagnosed with leukemia a call went out over the caver network and many cavers from around the country donated blood and were tested as bone marrow donors, but no matches were found. Bone marrow from one of her brothers was eventually used. Her willingness and courage to participate in this experimental procedure was a major contribution to the cancer research community and will benefit many others cancer suffers. Margaret always had a smile on her face, a twinkle in her eye, and a joke in her heart. She enjoyed life. In addition to caving, she was active in bicycling, boat racing and orchid growing.

The last four years of Margaret’s life were not easy for her but were made happy by Peter Keys’ unwavering support. Her last few weeks were a valiant struggle that gave inspiration to her friends and an added meaning to her all too short life. She was a good lady, and the caving community, indeed our whole society, will be diminished by her loss. A memorial donation in her name can may be made to the South Texas Cancer Institute. Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital, 7700 Floyd Curl Dr., San Antonio, TX 787229-9937

Gill Ediger and friends