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Columbia Missourian

Thelma Ferol McArthur, April 10, 1916-Oct. 19, 2012, of Columbia

By By Kay McArthur
October 30, 2012 | 6:43 p.m. CDT

Thelma Ferol McArthur, a long-time resident of Columbia, Missouri, died peacefully on October 19, 2012, after a long and full life. She was 96 years old. Thelma, who, with her husband, Art McArthur, and their two children, moved to Columbia in 1956, was an active member of the community.

A life-long reader and lover of books, Thelma was a woman of great curiosity and could suggest a book on many and varied subjects. When she worked at the Public Library, she initiated a book cart service to patients at the University Hospital. They welcomed her rounds and the special attention she paid to what each person might like to read. After retiring from the library, Thelma was a popular massage therapist at the Massage Center in Columbia. She was a founding member of the Unitarian Church and was active in the Lenoir community after she and Art moved to a home in The Village in 1990.

Thelma Ferol Houseman was born April 10, 1916, in Cuba City, Wisconsin, to Harley and Addie Houseman. Her father taught chemistry and her mother went to college when few women did so. In 1926, the family moved to Oakland, CA, driving across country and camping along the way.  Thelma married Art McArthur in 1937. They had two children and moved to Columbia in 1956, where Art taught Family Life Development, first at Stephens College and, later, at the University of Missouri Extension Division. They celebrated 58 years of marriage before Art passed away in 1995.

Thelma’s curiosity and adventuresome spirit served her well when Art was awarded a Ford Foundation Grant for independent study in 1954. He was granted leave to study the new, nationwide high school classes in dating and marriage and, as a result, the whole family traveled across the country for nine months. Thelma managed life with two kids living in an 18’ foot trailer as they traveled through thirty-nine states.

Thelma is survived by her son, Verne McArthur of Springfield, MA, and her daughter, Kay McArthur, of Albany, CA, as well as by two grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Thelma was a philosopher who loved nature, ideas, books, conversation, pie and coffee, spiritual exploration, tarot, astrology, and stories of all kinds.

The family thanks the wonderful staff at the Lenoir Health Care Center for their kindness and care during Thelma’s nearly five years in the Woods Central neighborhood, and expresses their heartfelt appreciation for the compassionate team from Hospice Compassus.

A celebration of her life will be held 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. on November 11, 2012, in the Arts and Crafts Room at the Lenoir Community Center.

For those of you who knew Thelma and would like to remember her, pick up a book, read for awhile, and think of her.