SIBLEY—Few people had as much influence on women’s fashion in N’West Iowa as Marguerite Bothof, who died Tuesday, July 2, at the age of 95 at Country View Manor in Sibley.
Bothof was the owner of Marguerite’s, a clothing store in downtown Sibley 1961-92.
Located on the corner of Ninth Street and Third Avenue, people would line up outside her store for the biannual sales which were family affairs.
Bothof’s niece, Amy Van Marel, who took over ownership of Marguerite’s in 1992, said she remembers Bothof working in the store before the sales marking each piece of clothing.
“Then she would go across the street and get burgers,” Van Marel said.
Bothof would watch her customers walk out with dresses, swim suits, spring and winter clothing, hats and more.
Wanting to make sure her small-town customers got the latest fashions, Bothof would spend three days at each market showing. There she would gather the clothes that would grace the racks of her namesake boutique.
Bothof wanted to make sure her customers were happy with their chosen outfits because if they were not happy then they would not wear it.
“She was known for pleasing the customer, for finding the right outlet for them and making them feel good when they came in for something new,” Van Marel said.
Besides being a keen and pioneering business woman, Bothof had a desire to serve her community, which Van Marel said she had a deep love for. Bothof was the first female member of the Sibley Chamber of Commerce and a rare woman store owner on Main Street Sibley in the 1960s.
She did not blindly dive into the world of retail, however. Bothof worked at Hollander 5-10-25-Cent Store in Sheldon in 1944 and then The Grey Shop in Sheldon for five years. She then worked as a buyer at Wolff’s Department Store, also in Sheldon, for 13 years.
When Bothof was not working in retail and fitting women with the latest fashions, her niece Cindi Klein said she enjoyed working in her flower garden and watching the birds.
“Whatever she did, she did it to her best,” Klein said. “Whether it was her home, her garden, her work, and she loved her family.”
Bothof was born in Little Rock in 1923 to William and Henrietta (Rosenboom) Bothof. She was one of seven daughters and was 16 years old when William died. As the second oldest child, her job was to help her mother raise the younger girls.
Funeral services for Bothof will be at 11 a.m. Monday, July 8, at Sibley United Methodist Church. A meal will follow the service and then burial will take place at East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon.
Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at Jurrens Funeral Home in Sibley.
Bothof is survived by sisters Idelle (Don) Mastbergen of Sheldon and Pauline Muller of Spencer; and a host of nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents and sisters Harriet Bothof, Carol (Darwood) Getting, Dorothy Kooiker and Martha (Henry) Kruse.