Margaret Belding de Wetter died in El Paso, Texas, on July 11, 2018.
Born January 15, 1923, in El Paso, she was the widow of Peter de Wetter, former mayor of El Paso.
A fifth-generation Texan, she was the daughter of the late Charles and Betty Safford Belding, and the granddaughter of pioneer El Paso physician, Dr. Henry Towne Safford, who came to El Paso in 1897, and Margaret Niles Safford.
Mrs. De Wetter, an artist and writer, wrote and illustrated three volumes of poetry, “The Sandwriter,” “The Sand Glass” and “The Sand Castle.”
In addition, she compiled and wrote three volumes of genealogical research and one historical biography, “Incognito, An Affair of Honor,” about John Rose. She authored a biography of Judge Sinclair Gervais of the First Supreme Court of Texas.
One of the pioneer students in Border Studies, she held a master’s degree in Latin American history from UTEP. Her thesis, The Mexican Revolution of 1910–17 (as it affected the border area), has been used by numerous scholars as a resource because of its many first-person interviews.
A member of the Junior League of El Paso since 1943, she was active in civic affairs, serving on the board of the El Paso Museum of Art where she initiated the first docent program. A founder and past president of the Members’ Guild, she later served as a member of the Museum Advisory Board and the Accession Committee.
In 1999, she received the Outstanding Alumna Award from UTEP, serving on the board of the UTEP Library Association for several terms as well as the Board of the President’s Associates.
A founding and life member of the El Paso County Historical Society, she was a contributor of several articles to Password.
During the years she lived in California, she served on the Board of the Cultural Heritage Foundation of Los Angeles and for 10 years served as a Special Docent at the Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
She was a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, the National Society of Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Pan American Round Table of El Paso, the Book Club and the Comadres of El Paso.
Together with her husband, she endowed a Chair in Creative Writing at UTEP, where she also gave a major endowment for the library as well as the Belding-de Wetter Scholarship Fund.
The UT System Board of Regents approved renaming the administrative annex as the Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center.
Long supporters of the El Paso Museum of Art, the Works on Paper Gallery was named in honor of the de Wetters.
Mrs. de Wetter is survived by her three sons, Charles Safford de Wetter and his wife Lori of El Paso; David Brooks de Wetter of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and the Rev. Dr. Robert Emerson de Wetter and his wife Regina of Snowmass Village, Colorado. She leaves six grandchildren, Lauren Margaret Harvey and her husband Will, Noelle Frances Lowenfield and her husband Justin, Peter Harrison de Wetter and his wife Lisbeth (all of El Paso) and Elizabeth, Catherine, and Peter de Wetter (of Colorado). She also leaves seven great-grandchildren, Schuyler, Safford, Westover, Luke, Emerson, Grant and Brooklyn.
The memorial service for Mrs. de Wetter will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, July 30, 2018, at St. Francis on the Hill Episcopal Church, 6280 Los Robles. Her son, the Rev. Dr. Robert de Wetter, will conduct the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Belding-de Wetter Scholarship Fund at UTEP or the El Paso Museum of Art Foundation.