Margaret Plank

December 1929
December 2023


Margaret Oehmke Plank, age 93, died peacefully on Friday, December 8, 2023. Margaret (Peg) Oehmke was born and raised on the banks of the Mississippi River in Guttenberg, IA, and attended Iowa State University where she received a B.S. in chemistry. After graduating, she moved to Wilmington, DE as one of the first cohort of women to work for the Hercules Powder Company, before marrying Ira David Plank, Jr. In Wilmington, Peg raised four children, as she served as Elder at the Westminster Presbyterian Church and volunteered at the Delaware Nature Center leading geology field trips, the Red Clay Valley Association working to clean pollutants out of Red Clay Creek and teaching at the Ferris School. She returned to college in her 50s to earn a second B.S. and then M.S. in geology from the University of Delaware. Peg worked closely with colleagues at the Delaware Geological Survey to develop the bedrock map of New Castle County, DE. She was instrumental in designating sillimanite as the Delaware State Mineral. In the 1990s, she and Dave moved to Naples, FL and following Dave’s death in 2003, she married Albert Abrahams in 2006 until his death in 2014. For years she volunteered at St. Matthew’s House in Naples. Peg was an excellent golf and bridge player. She competed many years on the golf cup team at the Wilmington Country Club and carried master points in bridge. She loved to tend her organic garden, cook, and entertain and was a lifelong practitioner of yoga. Always the supportive mother, she spent hours teaching, coaching, and counseling her children, stressing the importance of hard work and sincerity. Known for the energy and enthusiasm she brought to everything, Peg was capable, generous, and forthright. Peg was predeceased by a son, Ira David Plank, III, and survived by a daughter and her husband, Cynthia and John Orcutt of Kingfield, ME and Driggs, ID, and their daughter Hannah, son-in-law William Mook and great-grandchildren Abigail and Willy of Victor, ID, daughter Sarah Alldredge of Nashville, TN and son Jonathan of Brooklyn, NY; a daughter, Terry Plank, and her son Samuel Abers of Nyack, NY and Chicago, IL; and a son and his wife, James and Suzy Plank of Louisville, TN and daughters Katie Plank of Richmond, VA, Emily Plank of Knoxville, TN and Ellen Ritchey of Maryville, TN, and son Jeff Knotts of Woodbridge, VA. A Celebration of Peg’s Life will be held in Naples, FL later this winter. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Peg be made to the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, 1760 Unionville-Wawaset Road West Chester, PA 19382

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