Growing up poor during the Great Depression, Margaret Buerge learned to create beauty out of anything she could.
"We were so poor I had to find anything to make items pretty," she says. "Mom never understood where I got the ideas or the talent, but I saw that my mom could turn an ugly house into something beautiful."
Born in Missouri, Margaret grew up in the Mennonite Church. Her uncles and grandfathers were all Mennonite ministers, and the family boasted many talented singers. Margaret's family lived in a three-room house by a cemetery near Webb City.
Margaret developed her talents as a painter and also began creating beautiful floral arrangements. Going to work cleaning the postmistress's home for 10 cents an hour, Margaret always picked and presented her with a bouquet of flowers. Eventually Margaret moved to Pennsylvania, where she worked as a maid and a cook for a millionaire for $14 per week.
Margaret's talents came in handy at her wedding in October 1944, when she married a Missouri farmer and did all her own flower arrangements from wild flowers.
They raised three sons, Steven, Alden and Robin, near Harrisonville. All grew up to become bankers. Many of her paintings are on display at their banks.
Margaret also has seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Grandson Aaron Buerge was the first bachelor to appear on ABC's The Bachelor.
Margaret began painting after her children were born. "I have to be doing something with my hands - painting, cooking, arranging flowers, gardening," she smiles. Today in her beautiful apartment at Via Christi Village in Pittsburg, Margaret is still painting, sharing her artistic gifts with the world.