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Margaret Huntley Main, the oldest living Tournament of Roses queen, dies at 102

AUBURN, Calif. (AP) — Margaret Huntley Main, the 1940 Tournament of Roses queen and the oldest living titleholder, has died. She was 102.

Main died last Friday in Auburn, California, the Tournament of Roses said in a statement Tuesday. No cause of death was given.

She was attending Pasadena City College when she was chosen by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses as queen of the New Year's Day parade. The grand marshals in 1940 were ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy.

Main rode in the Rose Parade several times in later years on the float with former queens and in 2009 on the City of Roseville, California, float.

She created the Queens’ Alumni Association and annually attended the October coronation and queens' luncheon in December until she stopped traveling in 2019. Main met every Rose Queen from 1905 to 2020. She wrote to congratulate 2024 Rose Queen Naomi Stillitano following her crowning.

The Tournament of Roses honored Main with a 100th birthday party in Auburn attended by then-tournament President Robert Miller, who brought Main's 1940 Swarovski crystal crown to wear one last time. The crown is displayed at Tournament House in Pasadena.

Following her reign, Main was visited at her parents' home by filmmaker Howard Hughes, who wanted to sign her to a movie contract. She declined and instead married Robert Main in 1941. Actor Jane Russell was cast in “The Outlaw,” the movie that Hughes had envisioned with Main as one of the leads.

Born Margaret Jayne Huntley on June 1, 1921, in Los Angeles, she returned to college at age 38. She graduated from California State University, San Jose. She later earned three master's degrees in early childhood, ethnic studies and speech and drama from California State University, Sacramento.

Main taught kindergarten for 22 years in Orangevale, California, and wrote a six-book curriculum for early childhood.

In 1989, Main and her husband co-authored “A Rose Queen is Forever: The Story of Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses and Its Queens.”

She was preceded in death by her husband of 68 years and daughter Linda Main Hack. She is survived by sons John and Martin, daughter Sandra, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The Associated Press

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