Saturday, April 25, 2020

Margaret Johnson Terry

Margaret Terry passed away on Friday, April 24, 2020, at the Choctaw Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Ackerman, Mississippi. A memorial service for Margaret will be scheduled for a later date.

Margaret was born in 1927, the middle child of seven in rural Winston County, Mississippi. She was part of that “Greatest Generation” that survived the Great Depression and a world war before she was even out of high school. On the farm it was work or starve back then. So they learned to work together as a family at an early age. She passed that on to her own kids her whole life. She was a kind and generous person, with a smile for everyone, and she loved to laugh. Those were traits she never lost in her 92 years of life.

Moving to Jackson after high school, Margaret attended business school, and lived in a boarding house near downtown. There she met Bill Terry and they were married in 1947. They were married for 63 years until Bill passed away in her arms in 2010. Along that journey they raised three children, Marsha, born in Louisville, Mississippi, Ronnie, born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Jeff, born in San Antonio, Texas. They were never afraid to go where the work was. She told many stories of riding a train from Mississippi to California in the early 50s with a very young Marsha in tow. She did put her foot down after one winter in Wyoming with a new born named Ronnie to care for. They moved back to a warmer climate shortly after that. Then a few years later, while living in San Antonio, a surprise named Jeff came along.

With a husband and three kids, you learn how to cook. Margaret was one of the best traditional southern cooks you would find. Another trait she kept practicing until just a few weeks before she passed away. Even in her 90s she rarely missed cooking a big Sunday dinner for her family. And her pies were a big hit at the church gatherings. Christmas dinners were just ridiculous, and she insisted on doing it all. And you best just get out of her way, or get run over in the kitchen. She truly found happiness preparing food and watching people enjoy it.

Margaret loved to watch things grow. She had a love of flowers and plants. She left her mark on every place she lived by planting trees and flowers and anything she could stick in the ground and feed and water. There are many tall trees now that she planted as just a seedling. The same can be said for her love of her grandkids Stephanie and Phillip, and her great grandkids, Kyle and Blake. She loved any chance she got to feed and nurture them and watch them grow and progress through life.

Margaret was a giver. She never stopped giving of herself to her children and her family. Whether it was food, or just a visit to check on one of her brothers or sisters, or their family members, she did whatever she could. And she never thought anything about it. She would tell you that was just what families do, they take care of each other. All of those brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and family members went out of their way to check on her in her later years as well. Because that is just what families do.

Another one of her families was her church family. She was a faithful member of Enon Baptist Church, and enjoyed being there every Sunday that she could. After Bill died in 2010 and then her son Ronnie passed away in 2012, the folks at Enon wrapped themselves around her like a warm blanket. She found a lot of peace there. Ronnie and Bill are both buried there. Margaret will be as well, right between them.

Margaret said many times that she had had a very full life. She had seen many places, and done many things. She never regretted the life she lived. Nothing ever hurt her as much as losing a husband, and a son, and a great grandson way too early. However, the strength she developed her whole life pulled her through it, along with that warm blanket of family and friends around her. As hard as it is, Margaret would want us to take away from her life and death the joys of knowing her more than the sadness of losing her.