Mary Franchel Thompson's Story

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Mary Franchel Thompson Johnson passed away peacefully at her home in Corsicana on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017. She was born in Corsicana on April 2, 1930 to Wilbur L. and Opal Meagher Thompson. She was the third of the four Thompson children. She attended Corsicana public schools and graduated from CHS in 1947.
Mary attended Ward Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee and transferred to SMU in 1949 where she graduated in 1951. At Ward Belmont, she was the student body president, going by the nickname of "Duck" because of the mallard tail feathers she wore in her fedora. At SMU, she was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority.
While at SMU, Mary met Walter Johnson during a blind date organized by mutual friends. During their courtship, Walter would sell a pint of blood to have money to take her to dinner, and they liked to go to Love Field in the evenings to watch the planes land. The couple was married on Oct. 17, 1951 at the Thompson home in Corsicana.
While Walter was serving his country in Korea, Mary began her career as an educator in Corsicana in 1955. She taught at Lee and Bowie Elementary, and was an active member of Alpha Delta Kappa Educators Sorority.
Mary took a break from her career to concentrate on rearing her family in the mid-60's. She welcomed sons Cal and then Dan, and spent her days caring for and teaching her two children.
In 1975, she began teaching again at James L Collins Catholic School as a fifth grade and elementary/middle school history teacher. Her passion for Texas history was obvious and her excitement for the topic inspired her students. More even than her topics, she wanted to instill in her students the importance of treating each other with respect, kindness, and compassion. Mary touched many young peoples' lives and it has been common to hear former students claim that Mary Johnson was their favorite teacher. She retired for good in 1995.
Mary loved activities with her family and they almost all involved the outdoors. She was an avid bird-watcher but didn't maintain a list. She loved hunting and fishing, and had the confidence and patience to usually "out-do" the men. She loved to travel and see different sights and country whenever she could. Her excitement for these things was contagious, and she passed these passions along to those she knew and loved.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Wilbur L. Sr. and Opal Thompson; her husband of 57 years, Walter C. Johnson; Brothers Wilbur L. Thompson Jr., and W.R. "Bob" Thompson.
She is survived by her sons, Walter Calvin "Cal" Johnson, Jr. of Colombia, Missouri; Daniel Johnson and Robin Baity of Garland; Sister Carole Ann Wilson and husband Bill of Hideaway, Texas; Sisters-in-laws Thelma Thompson of Georgetown, Estelle Summers of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Idalee Lyons of North Little Rock, Arkansas, and Carolyn Heffington of Willis, Texas as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the team of caregivers who took such diligent care of Mary for the last several years which allowed her to be at the home she loved and where she felt most comfortable. Thanks to Ella Humphrey, Jaqueline Struggs, Francis Crittendon, Shamika Reynolds and Sholondria Bryant. Additional thanks to Janice Johnson and Miriam Bravo.
If you wish, please honor Mary Johnson by making a memorial donation in her honor to the charity of your choice.
Visitation with the family was held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017 at Corley Funeral Home. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 at Corley Funeral Home with Dr. Mark Luera officiating. Burial followed at Oakwood Cemetery.
An online guestbook is available at www.corleyfuneralhome.com and selecting the Mary T. Johnson obituary.
Published on October 25, 2017
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