Margrit Odenheimer Wertheim
29 May 1922 ~ 26 March 2017
Margrit Wertheim recently passed away on a snowy afternoon at her home in Alpine Meadows. Born the youngest daughter of a tobacco and cigar wholesaler in the southern German town of Emmedingen, she grew up loving mountains and snow in the nearby Black Forest. In the days before ski lifts her older brother Freddie taught Margrit how to hike and ski on The Schauinsland (a mountain near Freiburg). Before World War Two, conditions for Margrit’s Jewish family became hopeless and leaving Germany became the only option.
In 1941, on a Sunday afternoon at a Hollywood gathering, Margrit was introduced to a German born landscape architect, Ernest Wertheim. In 1942 Ernest asked Margrit for her hand in marriage. She agreed with the stipulation that he promised to take her skiing for the rest of her life. The marriage lasted nearly 75 years. Margrit and Ernest settled in San Francisco , where they raised two sons: Andy and Rick. For many years she worked as a professional photographer at Cristof Studios, located in the Fairmont Hotel. Margrit loved taking photos of children, mountain scenes and wildflowers.
Skiing was always the most important priority for the Wertheim Family. In the 1940’s and 1950’s they often traveled the two lane Hwy. 40 from San Francisco to ski at Mount Rose, White Hills at Spooner Summit, or Squaw Valley. They skied many other resorts including Sun Valley. Over her lifetime it is estimated that Margrit skied more than 57,000,000 vertical feet, quite an accomplishment with antique lifts and equipment.
When Alpine Meadows Ski Area opened for business, the Wertheim family rode the Summit chair as its’ first customers. The family fell in love with the valley and in 1963 constructed a cabin in the Bear Creek Subdivision. 35 years ago Margrit decided to spend all of her time in Tahoe hiking or skiing. Margrit skied daily, weather permitting, into her late 80’s, frequently with a senior citizens group that graced the slopes of Alpine Meadows. She loved to stop at the Gourmet Chalet for hot chocolate with whipped cream. Summer in Tahoe meant it was time for hiking. Margrit learned the names of the wildflowers, photographed the beautiful scenery, and swam in the lakes along the trails. Margrit also traveled to Canada, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy in search of great hiking trails and lovely wildflowers. Blessed with one grandson, Brian Wertheim, she spent many days lovingly taking him along skiing or hiking. Ernest and Margrit instilled a love for the mountains in their children and grandchild. Margrit loved hiking and playing with Rick and daughter-in-law Lin Winetrub’s numerous dogs. The mountains and our family will miss the twinkle in her eyes and the smile on her face.
The family will have a private celebration of Margrit’s life.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe or Truckee Hospice.