14 Kids

Kerry Morris, 24, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, visits with her at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Kerry Morris, 24, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, visits with her at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Cathleen Loch, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 14 children, checks in with her at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Cathleen Loch, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 14 children, checks in with her at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

A photo of now 92-year-old Margaret Coleman and her husband, John Coleman, who she called "Jack," sits on a shelf near her bedside at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Margaret and her husband John Coleman had 14 children together. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

A photo of now 92-year-old Margaret Coleman and her husband, John Coleman, who she called "Jack," sits on a shelf near her bedside at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Margaret and her husband John Coleman had 14 children together. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

A photograph from 1949 shows now 92-year-old Margaret Coleman holding the first of 14 children, John Coleman (also called Jack), in an album at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

A photograph from 1949 shows now 92-year-old Margaret Coleman holding the first of 14 children, John Coleman (also called Jack), in an album at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

From left, Peggy Cahill, Cathleen Loch and Dan Coleman, three of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 14 children, talk to her during a visit at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

From left, Peggy Cahill, Cathleen Loch and Dan Coleman, three of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 14 children, talk to her during a visit at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Sun shines on the Coleman family house where 92-year-old Margaret Coleman and her husband John Coleman raised 14 children Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Sun shines on the Coleman family house where 92-year-old Margaret Coleman and her husband John Coleman raised 14 children Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Molly Morris, 21, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, speaks to her by her bedside during a visit at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Molly Morris, 21, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, speaks to her by her bedside during a visit at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Jane, left, 21, and Kathleen Kelly, 25, two of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, visit with her at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Jane, left, 21, and Kathleen Kelly, 25, two of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, visit with her at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Photos of some of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren hang on the wall of the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Margaret and her husband John Coleman had 14 children together. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Photos of some of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren hang on the wall of the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Margaret and her husband John Coleman had 14 children together. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Molly Morris, 21, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, vacuums around her bed during a visit at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Molly Morris, 21, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 48 grandchildren, vacuums around her bed during a visit at the Coleman family home Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Maureen Kelly, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 14 children, puts a hand on her mother's head as she says goodbye after a visit at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Maureen Kelly, one of 92-year-old Margaret Coleman's 14 children, puts a hand on her mother's head as she says goodbye after a visit at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. Although she is on oxygen and can no longer walk, Margaret remains in high spirits and wishes to stay in the family house, so her children organize and take turns caring for her during the week. She also receives frequent visits from many of her 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

92-year-old Margaret Coleman, center, sits with her 14 children, from left, Rich Coleman, 55, Mike Coleman, 65, Diane Morris, 53, David Coleman, 54, Maribeth Rice, 61, Tom Coleman, 63, Cathleen Loch, 51, Dan Coleman, 47, Patty Griffin, 57, Maureen Kelly, 61 (twin to Maribeth), Tim Coleman, 62, Terry Coleman, 58, John Coleman, 67, and Peggy Cahill, 60, at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. In addition to her 14 children, Margaret Coleman currently has 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

92-year-old Margaret Coleman, center, sits with her 14 children, from left, Rich Coleman, 55, Mike Coleman, 65, Diane Morris, 53, David Coleman, 54, Maribeth Rice, 61, Tom Coleman, 63, Cathleen Loch, 51, Dan Coleman, 47, Patty Griffin, 57, Maureen Kelly, 61 (twin to Maribeth), Tim Coleman, 62, Terry Coleman, 58, John Coleman, 67, and Peggy Cahill, 60, at the Coleman family home Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Chicago. In addition to her 14 children, Margaret Coleman currently has 48 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Sun shines in through the window of the dining room at the Coleman family house where 92-year-old Margaret Coleman and her husband John Coleman raised 14 children Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

Sun shines in through the window of the dining room at the Coleman family house where 92-year-old Margaret Coleman and her husband John Coleman raised 14 children Monday, July 25, 2016, in Chicago. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune) 

One weekend in July 2016, 92-year-old Margaret Coleman was visited by all 14 of her children and handful of some of 48 grandchildren at the Coleman home in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago. Margaret, who also went by “Marge,” although in high spirits and with quick wit, was bedridden and on oxygen but wished to remain in the family house. Her children spoke loudly to her through a hearing device, giving updates about their own families, while the grandchildren joked with her about their summer plans before heading back to school.

Marge’s children, John, Mike, Tom, Tim, Maureen, Maribeth, Peggy, Terry, Patty, Rich, David, Diane, Cathleen and Dan, kept a schedule and took turns caring for their mother in 12-hour shifts in the house where they all grew up. Although she was a nurse and her husband Jack a doctor at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Marge was not too keen on seeing doctors herself. The family was happy to help.

“They gave a lot to us and really built a strong family bond and so they instilled that in us, that you have to take care of each other,” said Maureen Kelly, child number five. 

I was lucky enough to meet Marge and spend time photographing her with family members. At one point, all the kids stood in the kitchen, discussing the possibility and logistics of fulfilling their mother’s wish to visit the family lake cottage in Michigan one last time. The following weekend, they took her to the cottage where she spent summers at as a little girl.

Margaret “Marge” Coleman passed away on Sunday, August 7, surrounded by her family at home. 

Mary Schmich wrote two wonderful stories about the Colemans here:

One mom, 14 children, and the grace of caring

Mother of 14 dies the way she wished, at home with her children