Jul. 8, 1897 Elbow Lake Grant County Minnesota, USA
Dec. 10, 1945 Chicago Cook County Illinois, USA
Magnhild Synove Haavig was born near Elbow Lake, Grant County, Minnesota, and was the daughter of Hans T. Haavig and Kari Formo.
She was baptised at the Rock Prairie Church in Stony Brook Township, Grant County, Minnesota. Her godparents and the witnesses to her christening were Albert Haavig and Mathilda Smith (Haavig). Her father was a farmer and was known for his acrobatic abilities.
Magnhild first married Ralph Rathgeber. She and Ralph had one son, Ralph Rathgeber, who later became the well known stage and screen actor, Ralph Meeker. The family moved to Chicago in 1923.
Magnhild died young at the age of 48 in Chicago, and her remains were laid to rest in Oak Woods Cemetery (this, according to her death certificate).
Her son's first Broadway play was Strange Fruit, which opened November 29, 1945, and one wonders if Magnhild was able to see her son perform on Broadway ... though it is doubtful, as she died just twelve days after the play opened.
It is sad that Magnhild did not have the opportunity to see her son's wonderful success on stage and screen before she died.
Biography written by her cousin, David Pierce, May 14, 2012. Magnhild's godparents were my great-grandparents.