News Talk Remembers: The Inspiring Life of Margaret Rosencranz, Former DJ On WGBF-AM
A few weeks ago, Marga Rose Hancock sent us an email about her grandmother, Margaret Rosencranz, a former DJ on WGBF-AM. Her story was inspiring and we wanted to share it.
Margaret Olivia Eberle Rosencranz, who passed away in 1954 at age 62, was active on WGBF-AM and in the Evansville community practically up until her death. She first settled in Evansville in 1915 after marrying her husband, Richard, the son of a philanthropist and pioneer in civil rights for African Americans. It would be an understatement to say that the two of them shared a great deal of interest and involvement in civic affairs.
Margaret Rosencranz was a remarkably dedicated member of the Evansville School Board, and most of her life’s work was focused on improving the lives of children. She once packed her bags and headed to Indianapolis without hesitation to make a personal plea to the House Education Committee when she heard that an initiative to build a school in a low-income neighborhood was unlikely to pass. Her obituary made note of her impatience with “residents who believed that the fact that they had money entitled their children to better schools and better teachers than those in poorer sections.” According to Rosencranz, “good schools were the right of all children.”
Rozencranz was a regular interviewer on WGBF’s morning show, Toast and Coffee, once famously interviewing a lion in November of 1945 during the Shrine Circus’s visit to Evansville. Since there were no railings to protect her from the lion, she carried the trainer’s pistols, which were loaded with blank cartridges. The show she enjoyed being involved in most was The Children’s Roundtable.
During the last months of her life she had been in and out of the hospital several times, suffering a heart attack on Thanksgiving and returning home on December 4th to tell friends that she “felt quite well.” Between trips to the hospital, she still managed to attend meetings, see friends, and even visit her daughter in England. This was described in her obituary as “typical of Mrs. Rosencranz.”
According to an editorial in the Evansville Courier & Press published a day after her death, “Margaret Rosencranz never grew old…. She had an inner vitality … peculiar to those who keep an alert interest in people and things. Throughout her life she made the vitality serve her and her fellow citizens.” Rosencranz “had an abiding faith that something could be done to turn frailty into strength,” and this is the philosophy that supported her unceasing contributions to the citizens of Evansville. Even though she left us over half a century ago, such an amazing woman deserves recognition for her accomplishments.