Margaret 'Muffi' Lavigne Plum, subject of documentary
Margaret 'Muffi' Lavigne Plum, 44, of Somers, passed away peacefully on Monday, February 29, 2016. She was the beloved wife of Christopher Plum of Ridgefield.
Born in Concord, MA, daughter of James and Debora (Lauriat) Lavigne, she grew up in Somers and attended local schools. Muffi graduated from Somers High School, where she was a member of the National Honor Society and managed the field hockey and softball teams. She was active in several plays, sang in the chorus and was all conference in chorus. She was selected to Girls State and the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Foundation. She was also listed in the 1988-1989 Who’s Who in American High Schools.
She then attended the University of Connecticut at Storrs where she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree, while there she was a writing intern for the Public Relations Department. She was also a Residence Advisor for two years and a member of the APO service fraternity. As a senior she was nominated to the court of the Homecoming Queen. She did significant outreach to local schools, organizations and civic groups.
Muffi was a member of AHEAD, Association in Higher Education and Disability. While in college Muffi worked summers for the President’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities and was recognized for excellence with cash awards and promotions.
After graduation Muffi moved to Rockville, Maryland with her service dog Rudy and worked in Washington, DC for the President’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities. She then moved on and worked for the National Office of United Cerebral Palsy.
In the thirteen years Muffi lived in Maryland and worked in D.C. she received many awards and recognitions. She was chosen Miss Wheelchair Maryland. She made presentations and testified before the Subcommittee on Consumer Rights, Protections and Responsibilities. She also went before the National Institute of Health on Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee. She provided input on Barrier Free Accessible Standards to the Labor Counselor of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Muffi was also an advisor to Joan Considine Johnson, the writer of “The Wild Thornberries” new script “New Territory” which was a successful play on Nickelodeon. After working in DC for thirteen years she decided she wanted to do more for people with disabilities and attended the University of Illinois at Champagne Urbana Master’s program in Architecture to enable her to design fully accessible housing, public buildings etc. She attended U of IL because they had a fully accessible campus and a dorm built to accommodate the residential needs for students with disabilities.
She was halfway through her 3 year program when she got sick and had to withdraw from the Master’s program. We got her back to CT and into the Hospital for Special Care in January of 2008.
Her greatest hobby and passion was photography. She started in 5th grade taking a rich curriculum course in the Program for Academically Talented Students. She continued this throughout her life and while at HSC found the beauty and creativity photographing her environment. Muffi entered statewide juried photo contests every year and won 1st place in the “Joy of Art Photography Contest” in 2011 entering a picture of her beloved niece eating a piece of watermelon. She has had her work shown in New Britain and at the Atheneum in Hartford CT and many of her pieces hang throughout the Hospital for Special Care. Muffi was also a gifted artist and enjoyed water colors and acrylics and entered juried contests in both of those. She loved nature and spent as much time as possible outdoors and most of her photography and paintings were of nature.
Muffi made a great impact on all those around her throughout her life. At the Hospital for Special Care, she touched the lives of residents and hospital staff with her always positive attitude and tremendous empathy.
After living at the Hospital for Special Care for 5 years she found the love of her life, Chris Plum, a patient at HSC in 2012, and they were married at a beautiful, outdoor ceremony on October 5th, 2013, officiated by Chaplain Janet Stoddard.
Along with her husband and parents Jim and Deb Lavigne of Somers, CT, she leaves her sister, Laurie Kerr, her husband Chris, and her beloved niece Isabella Kerr all of Whitinsville, MA. She also leaves her maternal grandmother, Nancy M. Lauriat of Washington, CT, along with many aunts, uncles and cousins, and her in-laws, Leo and Kathryn Plum of Ridgefield, CT, and her brother-in-law, James Plum and his family, of Cincinnati, OH.
Muffi and Chris’s story was told in the New York Times Documentary “Good Night Margaret”. To learn more, view the video at this link: https://youtu.be/H5XpEIWo61k.
Relatives and friends are invited to call on Monday, March 7th, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Newington Memorial Funeral Home, 20 Bonair Ave., Newington, followed by a funeral service at 3:00 p.m.
She will be laid to rest in Somers Center Cemetery. In lieu flowers, memorial donations may be made to NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services) or Beckwith Residence Hall at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, IL by directing gifts to the University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 W Green St, Urbana, IL, 61801 in c/o the Beckwith Residential Support Services Fund in memory of Margaret “Muffi” Lavigne or to NEADS, PO Box 1100 Princeton, MA 01541 or online at NEADS.org in memory of Margaret “Muffi” Lavigne.
In addition, at a later date, a memorial fund will be established to create a labyrinth garden in honor. To share a memory with her family, please visit us at http://www.newingtonmemorial.com.