It is with regret and sadness that we must announce the death of Margo Brunson Reeder at Grand Brook Memory Care of McKinney, Tx on 8 Oct 2019. She passed surrounded by her sons, family and friends who prayed and sat vigil with her in her final days. It was her last step in her valiant and furious fight against cancer which started 18 months ago.
She was born Margo Darlene Brunson in Ballinger, Tx, on 21 July 1940. The oldest daughter of A.W. “Salty” Brunson and Azell Brunson, nee Greenwell, she was a member of a dynamic and loving family of five sons and two daughters, who improved the lives of everyone they touched. She was a woman of quiet, strong faith who ministered to those around her with selflessness, clarity and love.
A graduate of Ballinger High School, she matriculated at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, graduating as one of the first female speech language pathologists from Texas Tech in 1963, also with education teaching credentials. She became faculty at Tech, before moving to become research faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 1965. She later would be faculty at the medical school at The University of Nebraska.
She returned to Texas in 1966 and became a staff speech language pathologist at West Texas Rehabilitation in Abilene, Tx. Shortly after beginning her practice in Abilene, she met her future husband, Air Force officer Dick Reeder, in 1967, and they were married on 15 July 1967. This began a loving marriage full of adventure and life which lasted until his death in February 2005. The consummate military couple, they traveled the United States through duty assignments at Dyess AFB in Abilene, Tx, Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Oh, Offutt AFB in Omaha, Ne, Gunter AFB in Montgomery, Al, Bolling AFB with assignment at the Pentagon, Zweibrucken AB, West Germany and Ramstein AB, West Germany. Through their travels they would meet other military couples and teachers who became more family than friends. The names Duckworth, Dettman, Blockhus, Runnels and Nukala were all added to the Reeder tapestry of life. Margo and Dick Reeder retuned to the United States in 1991 after almost 10 years in Europe as he retired from the USAF.
Their idea of retirement being different from others, they began teaching at Ballinger High School and continued their adventure together. They touched the lives of hundreds of students, teaching, guiding and challenging them to be their best, and to explore and love the world. She said, many times, that teaching was one of the greatest joys in her life. She only retired in 2017 when her degenerating vision was impairing her teaching, and she turned to enjoying her retirement, with her family and friends, but particularly enjoying time with her beloved sisters-in-law.
She was a woman of many accomplishments, and never sought recognition. She was a woman of unswerving and granite convictions living her faith and creed. In 1961 she was one of many “Freedom Riders” who registered people to vote and escorted them to polling places in eastern Texas, northern Louisiana, and western Mississippi. She continued her civil rights work, participating in the Selma March in 1965. When at Bolling AFB, she served as the Air Force representative on the “Mayors Council” chaired by Effi Slaughter, wife of Marion Barry, the mayor of the District of Columbia.
When teaching for the Department of Defense Schools in Zweibrucken, West Germany, she was named “DoDDS Teach of the Year on multiple occasions. Whilst at Ballinger High School, her UIL teams won hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Her great professional passion was teaching, and that was reflected in her dedication to her students, their success and the art of teaching.
She was a faithful servant of Christ, wife, mother, aunt, educator, researcher and role model for the ages. She loved her life and lived it to the fullest. Margo was proceeded in death by her parents, her husband Dick, and brothers Lanny, Stephen and Glenn. She is survived by her sons Tommy and Tony, daughters-in-law Darla and Lori, granddaughters Taylor and Abigail, and grandsons Jacob, James, Jonah, Aubrey and Noah. She is additionally survived by her brothers Kirk, Jerry and Tommy, sister Shari and many loving family members and friends.
She is now where she wanted to be, in her own words, “Dancing with my husband through the clouds.”
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
-Mary Elizabeth Frye