Bobby Jo Thompson Muirhead passed from this life on September 29, 2013 at the age of 89. She was born on December 8, 1923, in Mangum, Oklahoma, the first of four lovely daughters born to Grayce Jewel Richardson Thompson and William John Thompson. In 1933 her parents moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma where she completed grade school. Two years later the family moved to Dallas, Texas where Bobby graduated from Sunset High School in 1940. She attended Arlington College for one year after which she worked for Southland Life Insurance Company and then for the Army Corps of Engineers in Dallas. Bobby Thompson met her future husband, Lt. Vincent Muirhead, on a blind date on July 10, 1943. On August 31, before Lt. Muirhead left for Pensacola, Florida to complete flight training, they became engaged. They were married in Pensacola on November 5, 1943 and made that their first of many homes together. In January 1944 the young couple moved to Vero Beach, Florida. Upon completion of Operational Training, her husband was assigned to Carrier Air Group Sixteen. Bobby returned to Dallas where their first daughter, Rosalind Diane, was born in November 1944.
From her family home in Dallas, Bobby traveled from one coast to another in order to spend whatever time she could with her husband. Christmas of 1944 found them in Oceana, Virginia where they spent two weeks together before his deployment. One month later Bobby met Vincent in Providence, Rhode Island, before he sailed for the Pacific. Eight hours were all they had together in Los Angeles before he departed for Japanese waters. Following the war, Air Group Sixteen arrived at NAS Norfolk, Virginia, in October, 1945. Bobby was on the flight line to meet him as he taxied in. They had one short month together as her husband was transferred to another carrier in the Pacific. Fortunately, the carrier was sent to Boston, Massachusetts for decommissioning, and in April, 1946 was she able to again start a home for her family in Foxboro, Massachusetts. She barely had time to hang curtains in their tiny home before they moved to Annapolis, Maryland, for her husband to attend U. S. Naval Postgraduate School.
Bobby spent the summer of 1948 in Dallas to bear her second daughter, Jean Sheryl in August. Taking her small daughters, she traveled to San Gabriel, California where Vincent completed his graduate work at California Institute of Technology. In the following years she made comfortable and memorable homes in Corpus Christi, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; Bermuda; Dallas(where their third daughter Juleigh Gayle was born in November 1954); Chula Vista, California; Sangley Point, Philippine Islands; Cubi Point, P.I.; Memphis, Tennessee, and for the last 52 years in Lawrence, Kansas.
As a member of the Church of Christ, Bobby was an active teacher for more than 50 years. While living in Bermuda, she and her husband began a congregation of the Church of Christ on the Naval Base and were instrumental in obtaining from the Bermuda Parliament permission for the group to meet on the island. Currently there are two congregations there. Since moving to Lawrence she has contributed her time and heart to the work of the Southside church.
During her Navy years Bobby was a Gray Lady at various naval hospitals, and she continued this service at KU’s Watkins Hospital. She was a member of the Kansas University Wives Club and the Engineering Wives Club. She and her husband were avid travelers throughout the United States and to some 30 foreign countries, her favorites being Hawaii and Bermuda, where the Muirheads celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1993.
Bobby has always been dedicated to the happiness of her husband, daughters and family. She was a fine seamstress and knitter, an accomplished hostess, a baker of amazing pies, a writer of charming letters, an editor of numerous academic papers, and a gentle nurse to her children. She was a model of womanhood not only for her daughters, but for other young girls and women she has come in contact with over the years. A friend once recounted how she came upon her little girl pretending to be “Mrs. Muirhead”.
In addition to her husband of almost seventy years, she is survived by her three daughters: Rosalind Underdahl (and Charley), DeSoto, Kansas; Jean Sheryl, Lawrence; Juleigh Clark (and Stephen), Williamsburg, Virginia; three sisters, Billie and Jean Thompson, Dallas; and Shirley (and Mack) Thomas, Midland, Texas; niece and nephew, two step-granddaughters and four step-great-grandchildren.
The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2013 at the Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. Services will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. at the Southside Church of Christ in Lawrence. Burial will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery. Memorials may be made in her name to Christian Family Services and may be sent in care of the mortuary.