Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Marge London

North County Times, San Diego

Marge London, former packer and homemaker, died Monday, Dec. 22, 2003, at Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, Calif., of pulmonary fibrosis. She was 82 and lived in Bishop 56 years prior to moving to Lake San Marcos six years ago.

"Marge had an energy about her which was a catalyst for other people to live life to its fullest," said lifelong friend and prominent educator Betty Smith. "She was above all else a great host and homemaker."

"She was a real lady," remarked a longtime employee at a 50-year celebration of the London family's anniversary of Rock Creek Pack Station.

London was born in Geneva, New York, and attended Keuka College and William Smith College. She moved west to Los Angeles to work for American Airlines where she married Herb London. In 1947, the Londons bought Rock Creek Pack Station and moved to Bishop.

Until 1983, Marge lived an adventurous life as a wilderness trail guide, packer, fishing guide, cook and co-owner of a small business. During her tenure, Rock Creek Pack Station originated the "Owens Valley Horse Drive" and developed an outfitting business to serve people the length of the Sierra Nevada. She was active in the founding of Mule Days and spent over 50 years promoting tourism in the Eastern Sierra.

She was an early advocate of wilderness and spent a lifetime promoting proper use of the mountains and high desert. "She started hauling trash out of the backcountry decades before the government stopped the practice of burying garbage. And her leadership in promoting low-impact wilderness etiquette was visionary for her time," said her son, Craig.

Marge London had a passion for swimming, birding, trail riding, fishing and exploring the outdoors. "She really used her life and body up doing all the things she wanted to do," commented her sister Arleane Bardeen.

She is survived by son, Craig London, DVM, and his wife, Carmen, of Bishop, California; a sister Arleane Bardeen and husband, Robert, of Geneva, New York; and, sister-in law Betty McHale and husband, John, of Rancho Bernardo, California; and nieces Susan Vogt, Kathy Bennett Flick, Donna Magraw, Ann Bardeen, Emily Bardeen, Marjorie Bardeen, Diane Brand and Margaret Reden; and nephews, Greg Bennett, Robert Bennett, Rick D'Louhy, Brian McHale and Dr. Steve McHale.

She was preceded in death by her brothers, Harry and Raymond Bennett; and sisters Esther Bennett and Roberta D'Louhy.

In addition, she is survived by numerous horses and mules from the pack station. It was Marge's desire that the old mules spend winters in Southern California. The family suggests memorial donations to the Friends of Retired Mules, PO Box 248, Bishop, CA 93515 to care for them in their retirement years.

A luncheon of thanksgiving to honor Marge's life was held Dec. 26, 2003, at Aviara, North San Diego. The date for a Bishop celebration of her life will be announced at a later date.