Margaret Ellen Johnson Wood passed away Monday, September 7, 2020 at her home in rural Cherryvale, KS. Cremation has taken place with Potts Chapel. A memorial service will be held Saturday, August 12th, at 10:00 am, in the First Presbyterian Church, 201 S. 5th St, in Independence, KS. Pews will be marked for social distancing and masks will be required. Memorials are suggested to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the Wildcat Extension Educational Foundation. Please make checks out to the foundation. They can be mailed to Potts Chapel, 122 S. Penn Ave., Independence, KS 67301.
Margaret was well loved into her eternal life by her family including her husband of 51 years, Michael A. Wood and daughter, Kerri Lee Wood Thomson. Margaret was born in Independence, KS in 1948 the youngest of four children of Myrl and Nina Torrance Johnson. She attended Lincoln Elementary School, Independence Junior High and graduated in 1966 from Independence High School. Margaret’s childhood was a fun time of bicycle riding, family birthday parties and neighborhood exploring.
A special connection was made when Margaret joined the Peppy 58 4-H club as a fifth grader. During that time, lifelong friendships were made, and 4-H provided opportunities for summer camping and statewide project awards. In 1963, Margaret met her husband to be, Mike, at the statewide 4-H Roundup held in Manhattan KS. They became an official couple in 1965 while Margaret was a senior at IHS and Mike was a freshman at ICJC. They both transferred to Kansas State University and married June 1st, 1969 at the First Baptist Church in Independence.
Their first home was a basement apartment in Manhattan, Kansas. As Mike taught 7th grade science at Manhattan Junior High, Margaret finished her degree in Family and Child Development. Margaret worked for the Kansas Regents Telenet Program, and Mike began his duties as the Media Specialist for the Manhattan High School. M&M, as they were called by family, bought a Manhattan house, and discovered a baby was on the way. And then they learned Mike had been accepted to a master’s degree program in Cinema/Television at the University of Southern California.
M&Ms’ beautiful daughter, Kerri Lee Wood, was born June 7, 1976. At 6 months old, she moved with her parents, in a U-Haul truck, to married student housing, on the USC campus, in the heart of downtown LA. The first day there, Margaret was hired as a Program Specialist by the School of Education, at the University of Southern California. Margaret’s organizational and analytical skills soon produced an advancement opportunity, and she was appointed as the Fiscal Officer for the School of Education. In 1980, Margaret accepted the position of Budget Officer for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, also at USC. Mike finished the MFA in Cinema in 1978, and Kerri was a happy elementary student in Pasadena. Margaret was active in the Parent Teachers Association, initiated a Brownie Scout Troop for Kerri’s school, and was a member of the La Canada United Methodist Church. The family continued living in California until the fall of 1985. At that time they relocated to Wichita, Kansas where both Margaret and Mike were employed by Wichita State University.
Wichita was home to M&M for 30 years. They were active members in the Calvary United Methodist Church where Margaret served on various committees and taught Adult Sunday School, and Mike served as the church organist. Kerri finished her degree at Wichita State and married James Thomson. They made grandparents of M&M, with the addition of two sons, Jack and Leo.
In 2016, following retirement from WSU, Margaret and Mike relocated to the Wood family farm south of Cherryvale, Kansas. It was a fun decision that included plans for a new small house and reworked flowerbeds. A good start was made, but the loss of Margaret’s health slowed recent progress. As a three-time cancer survivor over a 35-year period, it was with true sadness that Margaret faced the terminal return of the disease.
Survivors include husband Mike of the home, daughter, Kerri, son-in-law, James, and those two wonderful grandsons Jack and Leo, all of Bella Vista, AR, a sister, Mary Kathryn Johnson Lawrence and her husband, Don, of Chouteau, OK, sister-in-law, Norma Johnson of Springfield, MO, sister-in-law, Sherry Wood Ruddell and husband, Dick of Ft. Worth, TX, sister-in-law, Toni Wood, of Shawnee, KS, niece Susan Johnson and husband Allan of Independence, KS, nephew Mark Johnson and wife Linda of Valrico, FL, niece Sally Stewart and husband Tom of Kirbyville, MO, and nephew Chris Johnson and wife Heidi of Phoenix, AZ.
Margaret was preceded in death by her parents, Myrl W. Johnson and Nina L. Torrance Johnson, and brothers, Robert M. Johnson and William Lecurtis Johnson.