Memorial services for Ermona Bess McGoodwin will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 27, 2019, at the Milo Baptist Church. The Rev. Mike Johnston will officiate. Interment will follow at Woodford Cemetery. A memorial service is also planned for September in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Ermona Bess McGoodwin passed on to the next life July 11, 2019, at the age of 78 at her home in Wheaton, Md. She was born Oct. 23, 1940, on the family farm at Woodford to James Vauriece McGoodwin and Mildred Annette Smith McGoodwin. She was a graduate of Springer High School in 1957, attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and earned her Bachelors of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1961.
Ermona’s love of nature, plants, and animals launched her career in the biological sciences, which took her to Maryland in 1964 where she did research on Siphonaptera, and has a species of flea named for her. She later worked for the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, from which she retired in 1998. Ermona had many interests and accomplishments in her life. She learned the French, Spanish, and Hindi languages and to play the piano. She became a Master Gardener, and volunteered for many years at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton. Her home garden was noteworthy in its own right for its exotic flowers attracting butterflies, and she possessed the ability to make orchids bloom. Ermona obtained her pilot’s license and owned her own airplane, a Cessna 172. For many years she was an active member of the Ninety-Nines, the international organization of women pilots. The wonders of nature called to her and Ermona became a world traveler, having visited at least 58 countries and territories on all seven continents. Yet she stayed grounded, regularly returning to her home in Wheaton and the family farm in Oklahoma for rest, relaxation, and spiritual meditation.
Despite her many interests and accomplishments, Ermona was best known for her personality and character. She was fair, thoughtful, warm and kind, practical yet generous, clever at times, gracious and compassionate, and accepting of people of all kinds. She possessed a gentle wit, was a good listener and people sought her advice. Ermona was beloved by her siblings, nieces, and nephews, and had a large and diverse community of friends who would often adopt her into their own families and activities. People would go out of their way to spend time with her, sometimes traveling from the far corners of the world. Ermona was the kind of person people often felt was their best friend. Her home in the Washington, DC area opened the doors to experiences in art, culture, and science, not only to herself but to her friends and family as well. She encouraged these experiences in others, bringing her nieces and nephews to Washington upon their high school graduation, and later taking them with her on trips overseas. Ermona broke down gender barriers of her time simply by living her life and doing the things she wanted to do, and by supporting both men and women to do with their lives the things that made them happy.
Ermona’s openness to life and God’s creation inspired a deep desire within her to learn more about the spiritual realm and her place within it. She studied the sacred writings of many faiths, and practiced daily prayer, meditation, and reading from the Bible. Her studies led her to the great truth Jesus taught: a life of meaning is a life of giving love for others. Ermona lived this life to the best of her ability, with compassion and humility and a lack of judgement of others.
Ermona is preceded in death by her parents, and by two brothers-in-law, Paul Beck and Sharon Wilson. She is survived by her sister, Gayle Beck of Spiro, Okla.; sister Venita Wilson of Woodford; sister, Judy Tidmore and brother-in-law Bill Tidmore of Franklin, Tenn.; brother, Cappy McGoodwin and sister-in-law Phyllis McGoodwin of Oklahoma City; 11 nieces and nephews; 14 grand-nieces and -nephews; and by her closest of friends Jean Schreier of Cabin John, Md.; Betty Olivolo of Kittery, Maine; Robbin Del Nagro of Ajijic, México; and the Dutta family of Lucknow, India.