Margaret Zank, who worked tirelessly alongside her husband Gil to benefit the Hesperia Chamber of Commerce, died Sunday before noon at Sterling Commons in Victorville. She was 87.


"Having her for a wife was like having a wife and a partner," said Gil Zank, 89. "She supported me in everything I did."


Together in the 1980s, the Zanks were instrumental in starting several chamber events that have lasted a quarter century. First, the couple organized the annual Hesperia Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament. Next, the couple started the annual Christmas party, running the event for 13 years.


But the couple's proudest accomplishment was kicking off the chamber's weekly Friday morning coffee event, which later became known as Zank's Coffee Club. The coffees have become one of the most successful and enduring business networking opportunities in the Victor Valley.


"She was my right-hand person," Zank said. "Margaret was the one who helped with coffee. She washed the dishes afterward and got the business cards. Every morning she did her job."


Margaret Zank, who was born in southern Wisconsin, transcended polio, which paralyzed her left side when she was 3 years old.


"Margaret Zank is one of the most courageous and outstanding people I've ever met," said former Hesperia City Councilman Dennis Nowicki. "She overcame polio to be by her husband's side through thick and thin."


Nowicki's wife, Paula Nowicki, served as chief of staff for First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt who employees Gil Zank as a community liaison. The Nowickis took the Zanks out for their 68th anniversary dinner earlier this year.


The Zanks moved from their home near the Hesperia Country Club about six months ago to their current residence at Sterling Commons so Margaret Zank could receive special care after declining health.


"It was a blessing the way she went," Zank said. "She didn't suffer at the end."


Margaret Zank is survived by her husband of 68 years Gil Zank, her son Danny Zank of San Bernardino, daughters Peggy Gillett of Encinitas and Pamela Vickers of Prescott, Ariz. and six grandchildren.


No funeral services will be held; however, a celebration of Margaret Zank's life is expected to be held during the summer at the home of Dennis and Paula Nowicki.