News

Margaret Rand Hilpert
October 17, 1940 – October 7, 2021

Colorado Springs, Colorado – Margaret Rand Hilpert passed away peacefully on October 7 2021, surrounded by her loving family. She was preceded in death by her parents William Roscoe Rand and Elizabeth Purnell Rand, her sisters Betty Rand Coward Stillwell and Billie Frances Rand, and her first husband Claude Phillips.

Margaret was beloved for many reasons — foremost, she was extremely devoted to her large family, whom she delighted in reuniting with every year at Ocean Isle. Appropriately, when she passed away, she was on a trip for a family celebration. Margaret grew up in Garner, where her parents were pillars of their community. She was a star basketball player at Garner High School, and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. She was baptized in the Garner United Methodist Church and was a woman of faith throughout her life, from following Christ’s teachings to care for the poor and those in prison to leading the singing at church.

After graduating from Meredith College, Margaret taught English and art at Garner High for many years, sharing her passion for both subjects with her students. She was loved by countless students and respected for playing a key role to integrate the school. This experience led to later work as a peacemaker with Witness for Peace and CITCA. She and her husband John led countless retreats, and were founders to establish the experiential Covenant Community Church in Raleigh. She, John, and many others worked over 40 years to create Cedar Cross Retreat Center, and were the first coordinators. She led in the design of several buildings, did major interior carpentry work, assisted in trail blazing, and created many gardens.

Art was a central part of Margaret’s life. She was a passionate and extremely talented artist, specializing in painting, collage, and felt-making. As chair of the Franklin County Arts Council, she guided a transition to a far more inclusive and broader mission. Her joy was in encouraging others’ creative expressions, and linking those to their spiritual journey.

Margaret was vibrant and whimsical, playful and fun with an incredibly adventurous spirit. She had great curiosity about people and the world and loved to travel with her sisters and with John. Margaret surprised no one when tackling a mountain water slide, riding with a grandchild on a roller coaster, or taking a spin on a merry-go-round at age 80. She was never without a deck of cards in her pocketbook for spontaneous game-playing. Everyone wanted Margaret along for whatever was happening.

She is survived by her husband and best friend of 40 years, John Hilpert, and by her beloved family – sister Mary Marshall Culp (Bob), daughters Suzanne Mitchell (Brian), Libby Phillips, Meg Dare (Mike), son Doug Phillips, stepson Mark Hilpert (Faye), 13 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. Memorial arrangements will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Covenant Community Church, Cedar Cross Retreat Center, Franklin County Arts Council, and Community Partners of Hope – Henderson.

For all who would like to attend, a Celebration of Life service for Margaret will be held on Sunday, November 7 at 2:00 p.m. The service will be a casual outdoor gathering held at 2801 Wall Store Road, Garner, NC. We hold John and all of Margaret’s family in our prayers in this time of grief. If you would like to send John a card, his address is: 150 Cedar Cross Way, Louisburg, NC 27549.