Obituary: Active retiree Margie A. Younger, 92, appeared in Chia Pet ads on TV

03/26/2014 3:35 PM

03/26/2014 3:35 PM

Margie A. Younger, a lively retiree who acted in local theater, wrote a Placer County newspaper column and appeared in Chia Pet ads on national TV, died March 19 after a brief illness, her family said. She was 92.

Mrs. Younger and her husband, Jack, settled in Rocklin in 1989 after raising a family and building a successful insurance business in Marin County. Outgoing and interested in people, they became an active husband-wife team in community clubs and were named grand marshals of the Rocklin Jubilee, an annual Fourth of July parade and celebration.

The couple created a Sunday column for the Roseville Press Tribune and the Rocklin Placer Herald about local service clubs. Mrs. Younger photographed events and her husband wrote the feature, “Club Chatter.” After his death in 2001, she took over writing and photography, changed the name to “Chatter Box” and shifted the focus to people and community happenings.

Besides performing together in murder mystery plays at local dinner theaters, Mrs. Younger and her husband signed with a talent agency to appear in local and national TV ads for various products. She played a grandmother in a commercial for Chia Pet figurines. It was a non-speaking role, but the popularity of the kitschy pottery and its musical catch phrase (“ch-ch-ch-Chia!”) won her notice.

“She got recognized sometimes for that one,” said her daughter, Kippy Soderlund-Martin. “My brother saw her on TV in North Carolina.”

Mrs. Younger was born Margie Ann Grimes on June 10, 1921, in Bay City, Mich. She moved often with her family during the Great Depression in the Midwest, where her father traveled and sold manufactured homes for Sears.

She worked at Lazarus Department Store in Columbus while studying to be a teacher but left Ohio State University to marry Army paratrooper Jack Younger in 1942. After World War II, the couple moved to Oakland for a few years and settled in Mill Valley in 1954. Besides raising two children, she worked with her husband at an insurance agency he started in San Rafael and was active in volunteer and social groups.

After many years running a home and business, retirement was a time of fun and fulfillment for Mrs. Younger. She belonged to the Rocklin Historical Society and was a past president of the Whitney Ranch Women’s Club.

She played the ukulele at family gatherings and enjoyed dancing with her husband. She was a lifelong tap dancer who performed on radio commercials in Ohio in the 1920s and “was still taking lessons in her 80s,” her daughter said.

“She loved life,” Soderlund-Martin said. “Life was a celebration for her.”

In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Younger is survived by her son John, three granddaughters and one great-grandson.

A memorial is set for 1 p.m. Sunday at Roseville Commons Independent Senior Living Community, 275 Folsom Road, Roseville.

 

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