Margaret Thompson

Margaret Myrtle Thompson, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandmother, peacefully passed into eternity at her home on Sunday, June 23, 2024, one month and two days shy of her 92nd birthday.
One must begin again each day, each moment, though the moments seem heavy, ill-defined, after a loss such as this. Our beloved mother and grandmother has gone to join her beloved. Even though her passing was expected, and we are happy for her joyful reunion in heaven, we are still staggered by the abrupt divide between here and the beyond, between what was and what is. By the strength she imparted to us and the grace of God, we will go on.
Margaret was born in Laird, Colorado, on July 25, 1932, to Thomas E. and Ivy V. (Brown) Morrell. She was the seventh of seven children born into a devout, hardworking family. Her oldest sister was married and gone from home when Margaret was born; her oldest brother followed soon after. She remembered living in a small house—really two tiny homes joined together—at the base of a hill in Laird. She remembered that when it rained, her mother opened the uphill back door to sweep the runoff through the house and out the front door. Margaret was privileged to visit her first home place with some of her siblings many years after she left it.
She moved with her family to St. Francis, Kansas, at a young age and completed most of her schooling there. Her oldest sister and her oldest brother remained with their families in Colorado. Margaret liked to remember and tell stories of her life in St. Francis, where her family first lived on a farm outside of town. After a time, they moved into town where her father had a blacksmith shop and a gas station. Her mother worked alongside her father and gardened and kept chickens for eggs and meat. The family depended on selling eggs to augment their income. Life was not easy for the Morrells in those years. Margaret remembered a time when her mother did not have a penny to buy a 1-cent stamp.
When Margaret was sixteen, she moved with her parents and one brother to West Plains, Missouri. Margaret and her parents left St. Francis pulling a small travel trailer after selling off their property and belongings. They had no set itinerary but stopped here and there while looking for a new place to live. West Plains was not a planned destination, but it was the place her father found things to his liking, with farmland to buy, and they stayed. Her youngest brother joined them when he left the Navy. Two brothers and one sister remained in St. Francis and Kansas City with their own young families. We can imagine (and she did acknowledge) how difficult the move from St. Francis to Missouri was for 16-year-old Margaret. Little did she know what lay in store. It was in West Plains that Margaret finished high school and met the love of her life, Laurel R. Thompson. The couple graduated with the West Plains High School Class of 1950 and married on March 17, 1951. They lived in West Plains all their married lives except for the months they spent in Kansas City while Laurel completed technical school.
In late 1951, the Thompsons returned to West Plains where Laurel began work at KWPM and Margaret made a home out of a small four-room house. Over the next four years, Laurel and Margaret had three children. Two more children followed four and eight years after that. Margaret loved her family and took pride in being there for them. She fondly called the times when her children were small and the years in which she raised them the happiest times of her life. It surely was a challenge for her to have five children under twelve at home, yet she said she would not change a thing and she would do it all again. She loved her babies, and she was a loving Grandma to her babies' babies. When her children grew out of babyhood, Margaret worked as a bookkeeper at radio station KWPM for 25 years. She had kept books for Smith Auto Parts on Washington Avenue as a young adult, before she married.
Throughout her long marriage, Margaret was truly the wind beneath her husband's wings. Without her devoted love, support, and family-management skills, it is doubtful that he could have lived the life he did, and accomplished the things he did. She was his foundation, his very heart, and he was hers.
Margaret had a loving, tender heart and innate generosity not only toward her family but for her community as well. Margaret loved sewing, needlework, baking (oh, my, her raisin bread and dinner rolls!) and cooking. She liked reading and held onto treasured books she'd had since young. She gardened much of her life--a freshly sliced sun-warm tomato and a sweet blooming rose coaxed up from a cutting were equal treasures. Like her mother before her, Margaret almost always had a cat. She loved her cats, and she loved feeding and watching birds. Hummingbirds were a special joy to her. She was an avid letter writer to distant family and friends and to her kids at summer camp. She kept a journal or diary for many, many years. She loved weekends at the lake, traveling with her husband and family in an RV, and wearing a big sun hat to fish for trout on the north fork of the White River. She loved her church, and she loved her church family. She lived without regrets.
Margaret was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Laurel R. Thompson; her parents, Thomas E. and Ivy V. Morrell; her parents-in-law, Earl H. and Faye Thompson; one daughter, Sherrill A. Thompson; one son, Steven K. Thompson; one grandson, Jeffrey Scott Thompson; two sisters; and four brothers.
She is survived by three children—Jim Thompson and wife, Sarah, West Plains; Vickie Petković, West Plains; Russell Thompson and wife, An, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee—eight grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; her brother-in-law Leon Thompson, West Plains; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Visitation for Margaret will be from 6:00 until 8:00 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Langston Street Chapel of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home. Services will be Sunday, June 30, at 2:00 p.m. at the First Christian Church. Burial will be in Oak Lawn Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church of West Plains and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main Street, West Plains, MO 65775. Online condolences may be left at
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