[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 145 (1999), Part 2]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page 2048]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]



                             HON. SAM FARR

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, February 8, 1999

  Mr. FARR of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise to memorialize the 
passing of a friend, a poet, an artist, and a passionate 
environmentalist. Margaret Wentworth Owings passed away on January 20, 
1999 at her cliffside home in Big Sur California high above her beloved 
Pacific Ocean.
  Born in Berkeley, California in 1913, Margaret Wentworth graduated 
from Mills College and studied art at Harvard University. In 1953, she 
married architect Nathaniel Owings. By that time, she had pledged 
herself to the preservation of the natural endowments of Big Sur, a 
place she called ``the most beautiful spot on the globe.''
  Margaret began her crusade for environmental protection over fifty 
years ago when she watched with binoculars as a rifleman killed a 
Stellar sea lion. She learned that hunters could earn a bounty for 
killing mountain lions and that sea otters were valued only for their 
pelts. Margaret co-founded the Friends of the Sea Otter in 1969 and the 
California Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation in 1987. Through 
determination, resourcefulness, and unstinting effort, Margaret brought 
us around to the undeniable conclusion that there is more to gain from 
saving wildlife than from destroying it. The Big Sur coastline would be 
a very different place were it not for Margaret's guardianship. She 
successfully opposed the proposal to straighten the Pacific Coast 
Highway and widen it to a four freeway. Margaret led efforts to pass 
Proposition 117 to ban sport hunting of the mountain lions and the 
setting aside of funds to purchase state parklands.
  The appreciation of environmental organizations was expressed by the 
many awards she received, such as the National Audubon Society Medal 
and being included in its listing as one of the 100 most influential 
environmentalists of the century. She was given the Gold Medal Award of 
the United Nations Environment Program. The United States Department of 
the Interior conferred the Conservation Service award upon her. And the 
Sierra Club, in recognition of Margaret's lifelong dedication to the 
cause of conservation, made her an honorary board member.
  Margaret is survived by her daughter, Wendy Millard Benjamin; her 
stepson Nathaniel Owings; her stepdaughters Natalie Owings Prael, Emily 
Owings Kapozi, and Jennifer Owings Dewey; her brother, William 
Wentworth; nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
  Margaret's advocacy was accomplished with grace, poise, style and 
spirit. Her memoir ``A Voice From the Sea: Reflections on Wildlife and 
Wilderness'' evokes, through her articulate and persuasive voice, the 
spirituality she found in her wild surroundings.
  There is no conceivable measure for the contributions Margaret made; 
she has left a permanent legacy. Margaret Owings was our hero. She led 
us by her example, she taught us through her wisdom, she graced us with 
her vision, and we learned to treasure all that she valued so deeply.