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Maggi O'Brady

Maggi O'Brady

Maggi O'Brady, born Margaret Ann Brady, age 73, of Hendersonville passed away from ovarian cancer on Nov. 1, 2013, at Elizabeth House in Hendersonville.

She was born Feb. 25, 1940, in Rockingham to the late Leroy and Annie (Benson) Brady. After graduating from Rohanen High School, East Rockingham in 1959, she briefly attended Western NCU in Cullowhee before marrying John Bolen.

She mothered two sons, Michael Kevin in 1961, and Stephen Scott in 1963. Once her sons were in school, she resumed her college studies at Xavier University in Cincinnati receiving her degree in education in 1967. She worked as head teacher at Montessori School in Corvallis, Ore., for several years before moving to Bethesda, Md. There she eventually became a licensed real estate broker. She enjoyed great success in this field and became a Million Dollar Salesperson within 2 years.

In 1974, she moved with John back to Corvallis where she continued selling real estate, and became a broker. In 1978 she divorced John, continued with real estate before moving to Hawaii in the early 1980's, where she met Alan Himelblau.

She worked as a teacher, preschool director and model before she and Alan bought the successful business "Stand-n-Line" that processed licenses with the HDMV for car dealers. Based on her experience, she ended up writing a manual for the Hawaii DMV. In 1989, her youngest son Scott died at Lake Tahoe, which deeply affected her.

After marrying Alan, they toured Europe and the Middle East for 9 months, which was a life changing experience and vastly increased her positive outlook on life. Unfortunately, during the voyage, Alan began to have mobility problems, and he eventually became bedridden.

In 1991, Maggi worked as a teacher at Island Paradise in Hawaii for 6 months, then became preschool director at Emmanuel Preschool. Alan moved to California where he died with Maggi present.

Returning to Hawaii, she worked as a counselor, and then started as teacher at St Mark's until leaving Hawaii to live with her brother Eric in Asheville in September 1994.

Pursuing her interest in real estate, she attended a meeting of the Carolina Real Estate Investors Association where she met the love of her life, Mark Clifton, who was their president. Mark had lived in France for decades, until moving to Asheville with his wife whom he divorced 1995. Maggi used to say that his ex-wife had brought him to Asheville, and she had come all the way from Hawaii so they could meet. Such was their mutual good fortune. They married May 27, 1997, in Asheville.

She and Mark enjoyed travelling to Paris, Venice, and Portofino. Moving to Hendersonville, they developed a mutual passion for renovating houses and investing in real estate. Most of all, they enjoyed the peaceful beauty of their home, "Cliffside", atop the Big Willow hills.

She loved nature and people, always putting the best of herself into relationships. She was dedicated to organic gardening, growing her own food, showing off her garden and hosting a garden tour. In 2011,"Cliffside" was granted certification as a National Certified Wildlife Habitat.

A fabulous spirit emanated from Maggi. It passed onto everyone she ever met. No one we have ever talked to about her fails to remark how this spirit seemed to penetrate their memory of her. She believed in living according to her principles. Her last words were: "Tell everyone who asks about me to cover my spirit image with a white light, and when they see a white light, think of me. My positive thoughts shall be with them forever."

She was preceded in death by her parents; sons, Michael Kevin Bolen and Steven Scott Bolen. She is survived by her sister, Linda Novak (St Catharines, Ontario, Canada); and brother, Eric Brady (Greensboro); and her beloved husband, Mark Clifton.

An informal memorial will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, at her home: "Cliffside," 550 Crystal Heights Drive, Hendersonville. All well wishers are welcome. 698-0902.

An online register book is available online for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com.

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of arrangements.