Margarete Ohnesorge, Oak Ridge

Margarete Ohnesorge, age 89, of Oak Ridge, passed away on Tuesday, January 9, 2024, at Commonwealth Senior Living, attended by her daughter. Margarete was a member of Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church.

She was born Margarete Kirchner on April 18, 1934, to the late Gerhard Kirchner and Erna Vogt, in Bremen, Germany. In 1950, she moved to California at the age of sixteen. Once living in the States, Margarete preferred to be considered American. In 1962, she moved to Oak Ridge with her husband, Jim Ford. There she had her first child, Jimmy, who passed away in 1968 from leukemia.

Margarete was an avid photographer who joined the Carbide Camera Club in 1975. After 23 years of marriage, Jim passed away at age 50 in 1984. Margarete then went back to school to qualify as a Health Physics Technician and found work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in bioassay.

Margarete met Walter Ohnesorge at ORNL and they married in 1991. They were kindred spirits who loved being outdoors as much as possible. After Walt retired, they traveled and went hiking more than ever. Margarete’s photography captured their wonderful experiences together until Walt passed away in 2013.

Margarete was preceded in death by son, Jimmy Ford; first husband, Jim Ford; second husband, Walter Ohnesorge; sister, Erika; and brother, Peter. Survivors include children, Susan Ford and Kenneth Ford, both of Tennessee; and sister, Heide, of Australia.

The family will host a memorial service at 2 pm on Saturday, March 30, 2024, at Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church. Online condolences may be left at

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