Life Story / Obituary
Throughout her rich and rewarding life, Margo Smith lived each day to the fullest while holding her loved ones near. Her family was everything to her, and her devotion to her loved ones was truly unmatched. Some see being a mother as a rather mundane and ordinary role, but nothing could be further from the truth as far as Margo was concerned as she considered it to be both her highest calling and her greatest blessing. In everything she did she thought of others first and foremost, and over the years she blessed so many people in such a special way. Although she will be deeply missed, Margo leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever cherish.
The 1930s were some of the most trying days we have ever faced in America as the entire decade was clouded by the Great Depression. Jobs were scarce, the unemployment rate soared, and countless American families were left to live in their cars or in shantytowns called “Hoovervilles” after losing their homes. Despite the challenges around them, John and Erma Runyon were able to focus on an exciting time in their own lives as they were eagerly anticipating the birth of their new baby as fall began to unfold in Detroit, Michigan, in September of 1938. Their wait was over when the baby girl they named Margo K. made her arrival on September 18th. She was the older of two children to be raised in the family home that her father built on Hancock Street in Farmington Hills as her brother, Milo, was four years younger than she. This was back in the days when Grand River was a dirt road and a direct route into downtown Detroit.
For the most part, Margo was a young girl of her generation. Her father worked as a plant foreman at Kelvinator while her mother focused her time and attention at home. Margo attended local schools including Farmington High School. She and her best friend, Lois Hanley, were often together and enjoyed doing things like going to football games, bowling, and hanging out with a group of friends and also visiting her grandparents who lived in Brighton.
After graduating from high school, Margo took a bus to a training school in Detroit where she learned how to operate the old tabulating machines that were used in accounting departments at that time. She became very proficient and then started working in the accounting department at the Ford Wixom plant.
It was at work that Margo met the man who would change the course of her life forever. His name Gerald “Jerry” Smith, and after dating for a time they found themselves deeply in love. With a desire to establish a life together, Margo and Jerry were married on August 19, 1961, at Clarenceville United Methodist Church by Rev. Elsie Johns. Together Margo and her husband welcomed three children including Keith, Tim, and Kimberly into their hearts and home. She was completely devoted to caring for her children, and her life centered around her family.
Margo also had incredible skills as a homemaker as she made a hot breakfast every morning before school, except for the one morning a week when she allowed her kids to have the cereal they requested. She also kept a very neat and clean home as she was a homemaker until her boys were in their teens. It should come as no surprise to those who knew Margo that she took everything in stride as a mom, too. Tim once broke his leg and was hospitalized for 57 days. She made it work, visiting him every single day. Margo was fiercely protective of her children and was continually concerned for their safety and well being.
Life was certainly an adventure when Margo was around. It was important for her to spend time with extended family members, and over the years they were often getting together with her parents and her brother’s family in Howell They also took the occasional vacation with family, visiting places like Sleeping Bear Dunes, Cedar Point, and once to a family reunion in Tennessee. The Smiths also visited Jerry’s relatives in Pennsylvania several times a year when the kids were young. Margo was an active part of her children’s lives as she was a den mother for Keith and Tim’s Cub Scouts as well as being involved with Kimberly’s Brownies group. She and Jerry were very involved in church activities, holiday parties, progressive dinners, golf, bowling, and playing pinochle with church friends. Margo also made time for friends, and among her best friends were Anita Strach and Phyllis Beck who both lived in the neighborhood. She went on girls trips to Florida and Las Vegas several times with her friends. Through his work, Jerry often won vacations to places like Ireland, Rome, Portugal, and Hawaii several times. Margo and Jerry divorced in 1986, but they remained close and still gathered together to celebrate family holidays and birthdays. In 2004, she was deeply saddened with Jerry’s death.
Over the years, Margo was a woman of many interests. Once the boys were in their teens, she entered the work force in the accounting department at Great Lakes Realty where she remained until retiring in 2009. Margo loved being a grandmother, and she was blessed with 14 grandchildren: Paige, Rachel, Kevin, Caleb, Ashley, Collin, Amanda, Daniel, Hannah, Carter, Conner, Bethany, Peyton, and Benjamin. She was a great cook, putting the skills that her mother taught her to good use. Margo often took note of limousines when driving around, finding such excitement in wondering if someone important was inside. Her family had fun teasing her about it and overwhelmed her with limo sightings and suggestions of who might be inside. She enjoyed old shows like I Love Lucy, the Carol Burnett Show, Golden Girls, Fantasy Island, Dallas, and Love Boat. Margo equally enjoyed reading books from Mary Higgins-Clark and drinking instant iced tea. She also had quite the sweet tooth.
All who knew Margo Smith would agree that she was truly extraordinary. She took nothing for granted and lived fully while selflessly giving to others. Margo had a fun-loving spirit and a love for life that was contagious to all who were near. She was a woman of strong morals and values. Due to her strong Christian faith and devotion to church community, a new generation was able to move forward in that same faith.
Margo Smith died on April 2, 2016. Margo’s family includes her children, Keith (Camille), Tim (Kim), and Kimberly (Jason) Rolf; 14 grandchildren; and brother, Milo. Margo was preceded in death by her husband, Gerald. Visitation will be held on Tuesday, 3-9 and Funeral Service Wednesday 11 a.m. at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile (Between Middle Belt and Merriman). Interment Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens. You may share a memory and sign the guest book at www.TurowskiLifeStory.com