Margaret Mary Boone, 96, was born Leap Day, 1924, in Zenda, Kan. to Henry Christian and Theresa Mary (Bencken) Mertens. She was the 5th born and last surviving of their 13 children. Margaret passed away peacefully in her sleep on Feb. 4, 2021, at Bridge Haven Oma’s House in Lawrence.

Margaret’s family moved 13 times before she was 18 years old. When the Depression hit the family moved to Kit Carson County, Colo. It would become one of the areas hardest hit by the dustbowl. In late 1935 they moved to Washington state to be near family. They returned to Kingman County, Kan., in 1936. Margaret graduated the 8th grade with honors and a basketball letter in May 1939. Instead of starting high school, she stayed home to care for her mother who had cancer, until her death on Feb. 5, 1940. Her father worked at Boeing and farmed, leaving much of the care for the 8 younger children to Margaret. In 1943, when the youngest started school, she joined her father on the 2-hour drive to work 2nd shift at Boeing as a riveter.

One Thanksgiving Day, she met a handsome soldier, George Tingley Boone. When he agreed to accompany her to Christmas Mass, she knew he was the one. They married on Groundhog Day. Being an Army wife meant more moving until George returned from Korea, took a job at Boeing and they made Derby home. In 1955, they became the first and only owners of 1144 El Paso St. where they raised their family until George’s death on Feb. 1, 1983. Margaret cherished living in one house for 60 years. She was a Boy Scout, Girl Scout and 4-H leader; enjoyed league bowling, square dancing, being active in St. Mary’s Altar Society and a member of the Rosie the Riveter Association. She was honored to be chosen to represent all her fellow Rosies in Lawrence’s Veterans Day Parade in 2017, 2018 and 2019. She could see an outfit at the store and make it without a pattern. Her lemon meringue pies were legendary and often requested by Bishop Maloney when he came to town. She earned her GED in 1977 with the highest score in Kansas that year. Above all, her greatest joy was caring for children – from siblings, nieces and nephews through great-grandkids to the other residents at Oma’s House who had become children again – she took care of them all. Margaret survived breast cancer at 91 and COVID-19 at 96. 

She is survived by sons Clifford (Elaine) of Conway Springs and Charles (Suzanne) of Jennings, Mo.; daughters Susan (Mark) Reiske of Lawrence and Sharon James of Marion; former daughter-in-law Carol Boone of O’Fallon, Ill.; grandchildren Christphor (Misti) Boone, Rebbecca (Kevin) Zoglmann, Lori (Aaron) Vierthaler, Julie Weinacht, Jason Boone, Jennifer (Russell) Goble, Christine Watson, Nichole (Sarah) Reiske, Henry (Laura) Reiske, Dominick Reiske and Charlotte James; great-grandchildren Austin (Jessica), Hayden, Reggie, Brielynn, Dennis, Neal, Emma, Sydney, Bridget, Eden, Reagen, Phillip, Patrick, Nicholas, Andrew, Noelle, Ben, Carly and Loren.

She was preceded in death by brothers John, Herman, Joseph, Charles, James and Bernard; sisters Eleanor Hageman, Odelia Stevenson, Clara Murray, Maryann Martin, Agnes Daniel and Theresa Ward; daughter-in-law Toni Boone.

Visitation will be 1 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 10 at Smith Family Mortuary, 1415 N. Rock Rd. in Derby. The Rosary will be 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 2300 E. Meadowlark St., Derby. Virtual attendance link: youtube.com/user/saintmaryderby. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Mary’s Altar Society in care of Smith Family Mortuary.

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