Margaret June Shabb, Age 95, died peacefully in her sleep on December 4th, 2021. She lived an active, independent life to the very end.
Born May 22, 1926, June was the eldest child of William Cameron Allan and Margaret Gillatt Orr Allan, Scottish immigrants who made a new life together in Queens, NY and later in Lake Bluff, Illinois, where she lost her father. The family moved back to Eastchester, New York, where her mother supported the family by working for the British Purchasing Commission in New York City during World War II.
As the Allies fought overseas, June went upstate to attend Alfred University. It was there that she met her life-long friend Lois Tappan (nee Sutton). Lois’ parents served as missionaries in China. The Sutton family introduced June to the mysteries of exotic places. As early as 1950, the two friends went on an epic adventure to Paris and Spain.
June’s growing thirst to see everything anywhere led her to take a job teaching French in Beirut, Lebanon in 1952, where she met her future husband, Samir Shabb, through their mutual love of classical music. The two began a family in Tripoli, Lebanon, where Samir, a newly minted physician, worked at a Presbyterian mission hospital.
The young mother, yearning to return stateside, coaxed her spouse to settle in Charleston, WV. His medical practice thrived, and the family grew. The ever-restless June, however, could not contain herself and by 1963, seeking brief respite from domestic life, visited her friend Lois in Peru where she scaled Machu Pichu and brought back exotic gifts.
Back on the home-front, June pursued many interests and cultivated the same in her children. Over the years she swam, played tennis, sang in the community chorus, played piano and tried her hand at cello. She dabbled in German and Russian languages. There was also a Julia Child phase and an interest in wine.
June lived to be surprised. And so, she traveled, moderately at first, then ever more frequently as the decades passed. The Arctic. The Antarctic. Iguazu Falls. Giza. Samarkand. The Trans-Siberian Railroad. Vienna. London. Istanbul. Kenya. Bhutan. Venice. Delhi. The fjords of Norway. Circumnavigating Australia – three times! And on and on. She chronicled her travels with postcards. Sometimes she brought along a grandchild or two, teaching them how to embrace the world.
June was a fiercely private individual who was typically evasive when asked a question. Even though she lived two-thirds of her life in West Virginia, she never thought of herself provincially. She was truly a citizen of the world. She stayed in her home on the river as long as she could, even after her husband died. It served as her base of operations from which she would launch the next campaign. However tenuous her roots may have seemed, she could not sever them.
Her last big trip was in 2019, when she sailed along the Pacific Rim from San Francisco to Tokyo with stops in the Aleutians and Kamchatka. It was the pandemic that stymied her wanderlust. Her last eighteen months were spent at Edgewood Summit where she diligently kept up with the news and plotted her next grand tour. Though it is not the one she planned, Margaret June Shabb has now embarked on her final voyage.
Margaret June Allan is survived by her four children, Bill (Martha Wolfe), John (Cynthia), Ann Warner (Buffy, deceased), and Sam (Mary Ruckleshaus); Nine grandchildren, Calvin, Duncan (Lena), Robert, Benjamin, Carolyn Broden (Jon), Anmargaret, Blackburn, Conrad, and Hannah; and two great grandchildren, Jules and Samira. She was preceded in death by her husband Samir, sister and brother-in-law Helen Noah (Buryl), and brother and sister-in-law Cameron Allan (Gail).
You may send condolences to the family at: www.barlowbonsall.com
Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home has been entrusted to handle the arrangements.