recently lost someone dear to me. A woman who had a profound effect on my life, shaping me – as a woman, a mother and as a journalist in ways that I could have never imagined.

Margaret Quante (Varn) Iliff was my 10th grade high school English teacher. She saw a talent in me and pushed me beyond measure to develop my skills as a writer, never allowing me to quit on an assignment or myself.

A native of Savannah, she was the epitome of a Southern lady, complete with a classic drawl and an open door. And while she was most certainly a lady, one always knew where they stood with her and what her expectations were.

Upon graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Margaret moved to Atlanta to become a journalist. She would go on to become an editor for the Atlanta Business Journal before “life” happened. She met a boy, got married, moved to Thomson and had a baby girl, who years later would become one of my closest childhood friends.

When I received a message in December from her daughter, who remains a dear friend, I was devastated. Margaret died peacefully on December 19, her 80th birthday.

I know that no one lives forever here on this Earth, but the passing of some – you’re never quite ready for. To say that her death hit me unbelievably hard is an understatement. So here’s to you – Margaret! Thank you for being a steady hand and guiding light in my life.

Until we meet again,

-Ashlee

 

Article appears in the February/March 2019 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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