Former Ballinger teacher Margo Reeder honored with Little Free Library
It's hard to define or pay proper tribute to someone like Margo Reeder. She was born in Ballinger on July 21, 1940. After graduating high school, she attended Texas Tech University, graduating with a degree in Speech Pathology along with teaching credentials. Margo was a remarkable woman who took part in the Selma March of 1965, joining 25,000 people on the almost 100-mile Civil Rights trek from Selma, Alabama to Birmingham with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Margo married an Air Force officer, Dick Reeder, on July 15, 1967.
Wherever Dick and Margo were sent by the military, Margo would get a job teaching at the local school. She was named DoDDS (Department of Defense) Teacher of the Year several times.
After Dick retired from the Air Force, they moved back to Ballinger where both Dick and Margo became teachers. They started teaching in 1991. Dick passed away on Feb. 22, 2005. Margo passed away on Oct. 8, 2019. Their legacy within the school district and community is strong.
You won't find an adult or student who doesn't have fond words to say about Margo and Dick. They were some of the most beloved people in Ballinger. The online guestbook for her obituary has over three lengthy pages of fond memories. Her passion was teaching and caring for her students, as a teacher, mentor and friend.
Rose Harris, a secondary instructional specialist at Ballinger ISD, was a student of Margo's. She would also become a coworker when she became a teacher herself. Harris wanted to do something special for a woman who meant so much to so many.
"I knew that I wanted to do something for her," Harris said. "She loved education and her students. I moved here as a freshman and she was my English teacher."
Harris found a special way to honor Margo with two Little Free Libraries — one in front of Ballinger Elementary and another at Ballinger City Park. The park library is expected to be installed soon.
According to a flyer from the Little Free Library, "The Little Free Library offers a way to share good things to read — favorite books from your childhood or books you would recommend to friends; books that teach, intrigue, and engage you. All of us can help by keeping this collection stocked with good reading material."
Harris says that you don't have to leave a book if you take a book.
"People can just come up here and take books or leave books, or both," Harris said. "There is a national registry at LittleFreeLibrary.org. If you go to that website, you can find where there are Little Free Libraries around the country."
Harris says that she chose the Little Free Libraries as a tribute because Margo and Dick had an extensive library in their home, along with Margo's influence on her to become a teacher herself.
"The school district and the community were very supportive," Harris said. "There was an outpouring of love on social media when Margo passed away."
Harris spoke about Margo's character and supportive manner, as both a student and a coworker.
"When we went to a UIL competition and didn't do well, she'd come over and tell us, 'It's just one moment in time,'" Harris said. "That's how she was. She was a kind, intelligent human being."
It's a worthy tribute to a worthy teacher who has left a lasting impression on Ballinger.