Margaret Mae Lee was born October 3, 1910 near Cambridge Elkhart Township, Story County, Iowa to Jacob and Edith (Maxwell) Lee. She received her early education at the White Oak School of which she had many fond memories. At the age of 16, in 1926 her family migrated to a farm near Artesian, SD. Margaret graduated from Artesian High School in 1929 with honors and was class Valedictorian. Following high school she attended Wessington Springs Junior College, taking a one year educational course to be a teacher. Margaret’s first teaching position was in a one room school near Gann Valley. Among her students were members of the Krog and Barber families. She rode horseback to school. After teaching for two years she moved to Chicago to work as a cook in a private home to allow herself the opportunity to attend the Chicago Worlds Fair. Margaret returned to South Dakota and taught school at the Vlieger School near Artesian. Her first years she rode horseback 12 miles a day to school and later purchased a car with her sister, Goldie. While teaching at the Logan Township School she met Adolf Zoss. They got married on August 27, 1938 at the Riverside Park in Huron. In 1955, she received an Associate Degree in Education from Wessington Springs Junior College and her Bachelor of Science in Education from Southern State College in 1970. She taught at the Lakeveiw country school in Western Logan for many years, Forestburg school for many years and taught genealogy at Mitchell Vocational Technical School. Over the years Margaret enjoyed crocheting, china painting and writing a column about genealogy, “Family Tree”, for the Mitchell Daily Republic. She was a member of the Sanborn County Ladies Extension Club, South Dakota and National Education Association, the Forestburg Lutheran Church and she held offices in the South Dakota China Painters and Retired Teachers Association. Margaret accomplished much in life and was proud of her achievements. She was especially proud of a spelling contest she has won in the Iowa State contest, which got her picture in the Des Moines Register paper. Margaret’s last teaching position was at Forestburg where she taught upper level elementary. After her teaching career, she became involved in the Zoss melon business. Margaret and her family produced watermelons, muskmelons, squash and other produce on the family farm. For many years she operated the Zoss melon stand in Rapid City. She took great pride in the quality of her produce. A South Dakota magazine celebrating their 50th Anniversary had its readers vote to select the best of everything in South Dakota and they selected Margaret’s melon as the best melon stand in South Dakota.
Margaret is survived by three sons: Adolf (Dotty) Zoss, Letcher; Frederick (Cathy) Zoss and Benjamin (Helen) Zoss, Forestburg; two daughters: Rebecca (Louis) Hein, Artesian and Goldie (Bob) Burnham, Sioux Falls; sixteen grandchildren, thirty great-grandchildren and a sister, Iris McDonough, Salem, OR.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Adolf in 1989, sisters, Alice, Goldie and Helen, brothers, Jimmy, John and Philip, nephew, Richard Zoss and niece, Marianne Margaret Burnham.