MESOPOTAMIA - The township of Mesopotamia dates back to the early 1700s, but it was never on the tourism landscape until 1982. That was the year that Margaret Schaden and her husband, Ken Schaden, bought The End of the Commons General Store.
The store, founded in 1840, has been continuously run as a general store and is the oldest one in the Ohio. It is run by the Schadens. All 11 of their children worked in the store over the years.
Margaret Schaden, 74, died Friday from complications of a 45-year battle with severe rheumatoid arthritis.
Neighbor Carol Baker, who had known Schaden for 40 years, described her Sunday as a wonderful friend and neighbor.
"Both of our families moved from the city to the country," Baker said. "Margaret's heart was centered around her children."
The women knew one another from their Bible study classes.
Baker said that although her friend suffered with severe bouts of arthritis, she was enthusiastic and supportive of anything that happened in the community and at the family store.
"She was creative and had a lot of ideas," Baker said. "She was an amazing friend to me. She was an unusually godly woman. I thank God our paths crossed."
Both raising large families, Baker said their children played and grew up with each other.
The End of the Commons sits in the heart of Amish Country on state Route 534, just north of the intersection of state Route 87. The items range from fuel to groceries to memorabilia to penny candy to bulk foods.
While Ken Schaden ran the day-to-day operations of the store, Margaret Schaden was a stay-at-home mother who encouraged her children to spend some time at the store learning the business, meeting customers, and doing the nitty-gritty hard work to keep it running.
She told people that the hard work would only help her children with their goals in life, wherever or whatever they may be. Margaret was a firm believer that the store would be a way for her family to both work together while serving the needs of the Mespo community.
Mespo residents said Sunday that she lived her faith every day, and believed that faith in God is the glue that holds a family together.
John J. Pavlic Jr., a former township trustee, described Schaden as a woman who was dedicated to her family and her friends.
"She was an outgoing person," Pavlic described. "She was a good strong Christian believer. I know she has a place in heaven next to her Lord Jesus Christ."
Residents said that if there was a question that could not be solved regarding the store, Margaret would be consulted. Most of the time, she was right when it came down to what should be done regarding inventory, architectural changes or improvements, activities at the yearly Ox Roast, and many other things.
Margaret and Ken Schaden celebrated 51 years of marriage on Aug. 4, and she told neighbors she was so glad she married her best friend and partner.
Her obituary notes that she was known by her grandchildren as "Granny," and each one of them grew up kissing Granny ''Eskimo style.'' Her hobbies included watching football, Sunday "Family Day," traveling all around the country and working on counted cross-stitch. She was an accomplished cross-stitch artist, designing and executing more than 50 works of art.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Russell Funeral Service, 15670 W. High St., Middlefield. A private family service will be held.