Editor’s note: This tribute is from my wife, Michelle Todd.
Some people come into our lives for just a season. However, even after that time has passed, their positive impact is everlasting.
Margaret Crist Wood was one such person for me.
Margaret’s grace, love for her family, her kindness and laughter left a deep impression with me. We met when I started working with her brother, and was later blessed to work for her and learn from her on her brother’s Senate campaign.
Margaret passed away in her sleep Tuesday after an 18-month battle with brain cancer.
As I process the reality that I will never get to thank her in person for all she did for me, I’m reflecting on what a beautiful gift she was to all who knew her.
When I started working in the Governor’s Office, I immediately reached out to Margaret. Senior staff lovingly referred to Margaret as the “head sister” because she was the one who always coordinated family schedules and appearances. Keeping the Governor’s family informed was part of my job, and Margaret was gracious and kind as I navigated that part of my duties.
Margaret was a crucial member of the Governor’s Baseball Dinner Committee that successfully revived the once-proud Florida Spring Training tradition, and I was fortunate to work on that committee with her.
Working at her direction on the 2010 Senate campaign was a great opportunity to expand our relationship. Under the best of circumstances, managing a Senate campaign is a Herculean task. Managing an independent campaign makes the former look like child’s play. Margaret handled it beautifully with skill and grace. She expertly managed all of the personalities of a group of campaign kids (myself included) who needed our fair share or guidance. She was tough but fair.
While those are the ways I was blessed to establish a relationship with Margaret, that’s not what I will remember about her. What I remember is how fiercely she loved her family.
I keep thinking to a weekend road trip she and I took to Miami for the Senate campaign. We spent hours in the car. She talked to me about how she met her husband Emory and about her three children.
She proudly described how beautifully her daughter Mary delivered her first sermon at her new church. Margaret was so proud that her beautiful daughter had dedicated her life to serving the Lord as a pastor. She told me how her son Julian had carefully planned his proposal to his now-wife Meghan. She talked about how she treasured the ability to work day in and day out with her son Warren.
She talked about growing up in St. Petersburg and how her parents’ love story had affected her. She talked about water skiing with her siblings and the joyous summers they all spent together. Her love for her close-knit family was inspiring. Love permeated every word she spoke.
It was that car road trip and our talks about family and love and motherhood that made me realize that there was quite possibly something important missing from my life. Margaret’s love of her family made me desire a family of my own. I took plenty of opportunities to tell Margaret this and being as classy as always, she always told me I gave her too much credit.
As I look at my daughter in a princess gown twirling around daddy’s office as he writes, I can’t help but think of Margaret and smile. She may not have been willing to accept the credit, but my heart will forever credit her for helping prepare me to find my happily ever after.
So, today although my heart is heavy, I’m celebrating the classiest, most graceful lady I’ve ever worked with. For those of us who were blessed to know you, you truly made the world a better place. Rest in peace Margaret.