Amazing Race 1’s Margaretta Groark died

First-season Amazing Race contestant Margaretta Groark died of cancer last Sunday. She was 67. The “grandparents” team, which also included her husband of more than 40 years, Dave, were eliminated fourth (a video of their elimination is below).

Her obituary appeared in Thursday’s Rockwall County News, and said she died Oct. 26 after a “three-year battle with cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.” (A Television Without Pity poster links to a PDF of the obituary.)

In July, Bill of Team Guido posted on TWoP that Margaretta wasn’t doing well: “she is very positive on life, however your thoughts and prayers are again necessary [...] She is living life to the fullest, and remembers all we have been through together fondly and never once spoke in a negative way about all she has been through recently!”

In May of 2007, Margaretta posted this message to Survivor Sucks’ Amazing Race forum:

Dear Fellow Racers and Friends

I finished my 24th chemo treatment 3 weeks ago and was exhausted but recovering. The doctor said my body had taken quite a beating and so she was going to give me a 3-month hiatus to try to get some strength back.
David and walked into my oncologist’s office today to get the results of last week’s PET and CT Scans. Dr. Barve entered the room, looked me straight in the eye and said, ‘Margaretta, you are cancer free.’ WOW! Talk about a stunning moment. When I was diagnosed, I was given what amounted to a death sentence. At best, the medical community would ‘manage’ the cancer for a few years, which meant chemo, chemo, chemo. There is a phrase ‘living with cancer’ which I suppose was meant to buoy our spirits. But in the deep dark pits of chemo I am sure that I was not the only cancer patient who thought, ‘this is not my idea of living.’

Actually I lived vicariously through The Amazing Race All Stars kidding myself into believing that Bertram would have selected David and me to run that race. I actually dreamed it recently in the dream we won! My daughter Laura’s reply when I recounted the dream to her was, ‘mom, you have already won The Amazing Race.’ She was so right on. After we got the news today, Laura, Michael, David and I had an impromptu lunch at a local tony restaurant.

I honestly could not have done it without the prayers, energy, and encouragement from you and from so many people. At times when I was most down, that energy just took over and boosted my will to go on.

Now it is time to get into training to get that awful poison out of my system. David has his own ideas of what I should do and he has designated himself as my ‘coach.’ As the late, great Gilda Radner was fond of saying, ‘if it’s not one thing, it’s another.’

My love and gratitude to you,
Margaretta

Watch Dave and Margaretta’s elimination from the show, which still stands out since they were immediately surrounded by the other teams, who were both clapping and crying:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.