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Obituary for Matt Groening’s Mother Sheds Light on Inspiration for ‘The Simpsons’

The Simpsons

Matt Groening is the creative genius behind ‘The Simpsons.’ But one thing he wasn’t too creative with was the names of the now iconic four-fingered characters.

Sadly, Groening’s mom — Margaret Ruth Groening — passed away last month at 94, and reading her obituary is like taking a walk through Springfield.

Over the years Margaret Groening has been quick to point out that she never went by “Marge.” But given that her husband and Matt’s father (who died in 1996) was Homer, the name Matt gave to everybody’s favorite blue-haired mom was obviously no coincidence.

Among the other ‘Simpsons’ names that were clearly lifted from Matt’s childhood home life include Maggie, Lisa and Patty. However instead of calling the boy of the family Matt, Groening opted to maintain a little distance by going with Bart, which is an anagram for “brat.”

Check out the complete obituary below and see how many ‘Simpsons’ references you can pick out. (Hint: the origin of Chief Wiggum’s name is finally revealed.)

Margaret Groening died peacefully in her sleep on April 22, 2013, in Portland. Born Margaret Wiggum on March 23, 1919, in Chisolm, Minn., Margaret was 94 years old. Margaret’s parents, Matt and Ingeborg Wiggum, met on the boat coming to America from Norway. They settled in Everett, Wash., where the paper mill “smelled like money,” and Matt worked as a machinist. As high school valedictorian and Miss Everett, Margaret’s highest honor was being named May Queen of Linfield College. She graduated from Linfield in 1941 and married classmate Homer Groening, whom she chose because he made her laugh the most. Margaret taught high school English before starting a family, and her love of language was apparent in the many Double-Crostics she completed (in ink). Margaret and Homer supported the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Trail Blazers and many local yarn shops (Margaret was a talented needlework artist). Besides Homer, Margaret was preceded in death by her oldest daughter, Patty, who died in Jan., 2013. She is survived by her brother, Arnold; her children, Mark, Matt, Lisa and Maggie; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. The family thanks the wonderful caregivers from Visiting Angels and the hospice nurses from Housecall Providers. Special appreciation also goes to loyal friend, Grace Clark.

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