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Margaret Weaver, 97, was a mushroom expert The amateur naturalist was honored by the North American Mycological Association in the 1990s.
Margaret Weaver of Eden Prairie had a fondness for and curiosity about the natural world that led her to become a local expert on fungi and the discoverer of three species of mushrooms.
More than 30 years ago, she found Suillus weaverae, the one named for her, near her family's Crow Wing County cabin.
Weaver, 97, died in Eden Prairie on Aug. 10.
Weaver, an Ohio native who had lived in the Twin Cities, Faribault or on Pelican Lake near Brainerd since the 1930s, became interested in mushrooms while hiking in the Nerstrand-Big Woods area northeast of Faribault in the 1960s.
The mysterious appearance of mushrooms fascinated her, said David McLaughlin, professor of plant biology at the University of Minnesota and curator of fungi for the Bell Museum of Natural History.
After approaching experts at the university, she found that little had been done in the documentation of native Minnesota fungi.
The amateur naturalist began reading all she could about them, sometimes translating French and German works about fungi. In 1964, she took a graduate field course at the University of Michigan, which at the time was a hotbed for mushroom research. As a student there, she discovered a new mushroom.
McLaughlin said her academic work was scholarly, although she was an amateur.
"She has been a real contributor to what we know about documenting Minnesota mushrooms," said McLaughlin. "She was very devoted."
In 1980, Weaver and McLaughlin published a 90-page key to some of the fungi of Minnesota for the Bell Museum.
She was honored by the North American Mycological Association in the mid-1990s, and was active in the state association.
Before McLaughlin became a scholar of mushrooms, she and her husband, Dr. Paul Weaver, who took many pictures of fungi that are in the Bell Museum collection, collected stamps from around the world and communicated in Esperanto in correspondence around the world.
Her husband died in 1982.
Weaver was a graduate of Ohio's Oberlin College, an art history major and a singer. In the 1930s, she worked at several colleges in Ohio.
She moved to Faribault in 1939 with her husband, who practiced medicine there. She served many civic organizations, including the Faribault school board, for 12 years.
Greg Larsen of Denver, a family friend, grew up in Faribault. He recalled her learning to speak Russian, making a living room rug with a nature motif, and singing at events in Faribault.
"She was a commanding singer, a soprano," said Larson, an educator. "When she got an interest in something, she would go into it quickly and deeply."
She is survived by three sons, James of Sudbury, Mass.; John of West Bend, Wis., and Thomas of Bloomington; six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.