Margaret Kiser Wetmore, of Amenia, N.Y., died with her family by her side on May 8th at Sharon Hospital at the age of 86. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and the co-founder of Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant in Amenia, N.Y.
Margaret was born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 10, 1932, the youngest of Dr. William Kiser and Dr. Ellen Kiser’s four children. She was the granddaughter of John Huston Finley, the former president of the University of New York, Commissioner of Education of N.Y. and editor of the New York Times. Her love of books and language started at an early age; her parents sent her to New York City to live with her grandparents to attend Friends Seminary for high school. She then enrolled in Radcliffe College, graduating in 1954. After graduation, she worked for NBC in Atlanta in the advertising department and traveled to Europe. In 1956 while in Italy, she was running late and missed the launch of the Andrea Doria that, a few days later, sank off the coast of Nantucket on the way to New York City. She shared that this was a turning point in searching for her purpose in life.
While at Radcliffe, her best friend set her up on a blind date with William Wetmore, a handsome but shy Harvard man and captain of the crew. She had an exam the next morning but reluctantly agreed. Bill and Margaret were married in 1957 in Atlanta, and soon moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where he worked in insurance; they arrived in the middle of the revolution of 1958. In Caracas, they spent a great deal of time exploring the country and having adventures with Bill’s aunt and uncle, Kathy and William Phelps and their family. In 1963, Margaret and Bill moved back to the U.S. with their two young sons, where Bill began his writing and journalism career and she was his supportive editor. They lived in Sandwich, N.H., Millbrook, N.Y. and finally after the birth of their third child, they settled in Amenia, where she lived out the rest of her life.
In 1972, Margaret and Bill realized they had the perfect southern slope for a vineyard and with the help of their young children, they planted thousands of vines and began Cascade Mountain Winery and Restaurant. For decades, she would do whatever was needed for the business including picking up food, giving rides to employees, cutting flowers for the dining room tables, or doing the many mailings. She was always ‘on call’ as she liked to say, all the while being ever welcoming and greeting guests as if they were family. Margaret balanced her business duties, her driven husband, her rambunctious children and a menagerie of animals, with grace, forgiveness and fortitude.
A voracious reader, Margaret often could be found at her favorite local library. She loved people and always had a knack for remembering their birthdays. Up until her death, she was making birthday calls to the special people in her life. She also loved to support her five grandchildren in all of their sports and endeavors and was a frequent fan on the sidelines. Her memory, quick wit, and cheeriness will be dearly missed by family and friends.
Margaret was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, William Wetmore and her oldest sister Lucy Kiser Emerson. Mother of Charles and Michael Wetmore and Joan Wetmore Yahn. Grandmother to Finley and Eliza Wetmore, Maggie Umana, Ellie and Willy Yahn, and mother-in law to Leila Wetmore and Walter Yahn. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on June 2nd at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 692 Deep Hollow road, Millbrook, N.Y. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in her name may be made to The Hotchkiss Library of Sharon, 10 Upper Main Street, Sharon, CT. 06069