Mavis R. Wood

MANISTIQUE — Longtime Manistique resident Mavis R. Wood died peacefully in hospice care at her son Stephen’s home on Dec. 24, 2017, just 16 days shy of her 94th birthday. Mavis was born Jan. 9, 1924, in Dunklin County, Missouri. She grew up during the Depression in Flint, Mich., where she attended school and graduated from Flint Central High in 1941 at age 17. She then went to work for a CPA in Flint until she turned 18. She was then hired as a secretary at AC Spark Plug in Flint, where she met her future husband, who worked there, too.

On May 5, 1945, Mavis married George G. Wood in Flint, and when the war ended later that year, she and George moved to Manistique so George could join the established law practice of the late J. Joseph Herbert. Mavis was a city girl. Compared to Flint in 1945, Manistique was a tiny little town in the far-off Upper Peninsula, and when she arrived, she “didn’t know a soul.” But she soon did, and over the years she made many dear friends.

Mavis and George had five children, all of whom survive: John (Rosanne), Michael, Paul (Jo Anne), Stephen, and Catherine (Bob Johnson). So for many years, Mavis was a very busy homemaker. She enabled George to concentrate on his work and her kids and grandkids to begin to navigate life. She was very proud of all of them.

Mavis was raised Baptist but became a Catholic when she married George. She was an active member of St. Francis de Sales parish for more than 70 years, always willing to help the church any way she could. For many years, she was an active member of St. Anne’s Altar Society and St. Elizabeth Circle, both of which were instrumental in building the new church in the 1950s and school in the 1960s. The importance of the parish and school to Mavis and George was demonstrated by their continual generosity to them, financial and otherwise. Indeed, the St. Francis de Sales Education Foundation and the Imogene Herbert Trust, both of which George persuaded into existence, are still vital to the school’s existence today. To the very end of her life, Mavis would ask how things were going at the school.

In addition to her commitment to the church, Mavis was a long-time member of the Manistique Woman’s Club and active in the Republican Party, especially during the George Romney era in the 1960s. She was a member of Indian Lake Golf and Country Club for more than 60 years and continued to play well into her 80s. Over many years, her most reliable escape from both the chaos and tedium of day-to-day life was Wednesday Ladies’ Night at the club, which she rarely missed.

Mavis learned to ski in the 1960s; she enjoyed playing bridge; and she liked to travel, especially to Europe and Mexico. Mavis was a marvelous cook and gracious hostess. She always tried to teach her children good manners, and at least some of her lessons were at least partially absorbed by them. Mavis rarely told or cracked jokes, but she was a good audience for those who did. She was, all in all, a most congenial, kind-hearted and conscientious person loved and respected by many.

Mavis was preceded in death by her husband, George G. Wood; by her mother, the late Rosie Loafman, and her stepfather, Forest Loafman; and her brother, Homer Rittenberry.

In addition to her children, Mavis is survived by six grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and her first cousin, LaVerne King.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 2, at the Messier-Broullire Funeral Home in Manistique. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 3, at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Manistique with Father Ben Paris officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials, donations may be directed to the St. Francis de Sales School or the Manistique Public Library.