Ouida Merle Griffeth, 97, passed to the next phase of creation Tuesday, August 24, 2021, in Topeka, KS. She was born November 2, 1923, in Friona, TX to Vander Poole and (Annie) Ellen (Wright) Hodge.
The Wright family were early settlers in this part of the Kansas Territory with Ouida’s grandfather being the first white child born in what is now Ottawa County on Pipe Creek. Her grandfather left home at an early age and became a cowboy in Texas. When his father passed, he returned to Kansas and owned a substantial cattle ranch east of Barnard. In 1917 he loaded up the family and moved to Texas where Ellen would meet Vander. Ouida’s early years were spent in Texas and Oklahoma until Ellen moved back to Kansas with Ouida and her brother Howard to live with Ouida’s great-grandfather George White. Ouida spent her early years in Barnard, Kansas where she played in the band. She was a member of Barnard High School class of 1942. She married William Griffeth, also of Barnard, on April 1, 1944 at the Barnard First Baptist Church. When Bill left to serve during WWII, Ouida and her mother ran a grocery store in Barnard until Ouida moved to Wichita to work at Boeing where she worked on B-17s and the very first B-29 bomber produced. After the war, the couple moved to Wichita Kansas where Bill became a machinist in the aircraft industry. Ouida earned her teaching degree from Friends University in Wichita and masters from Wichita State University. She went to work teaching elementary school and later on high school. She taught in the Wichita, Esbon, and Burr Oak schools. Bill and Ouida bought their first farm in 1961 and enjoyed farming together on weekends and vacations. When time allowed they also enjoyed boating and riding their motorcycles. After Bill’s death in 1974 Ouida continued teaching and farming. After retiring from teaching, she returned home to the farm near Barnard where she was actively engaged in farming into her 90's. Ouida was a member of the Barnard First Baptist Church, Eastern Star, Daughters of the Nile, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Christian Motorcycle Association. She could be often found riding her motorcycle and even attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally at the age of 95.
Ouida is survived by her son, Glenn Griffeth and wife Pam of Topeka, KS; grandchildren, R.D. Griffeth and wife Peggy, Heather Barranco, and Joshua Griffeth and wife Ashley; 16 great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, William and brother, Howard P. Hodge.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 31, 2021, at the Barnard First Baptist Church with burial following at Milo Cemetery. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living member of the Barnard Baptist Church.
Memorial contributions can be made to Midland Hospice or Helping Hands Humane Society both of Topeka, c/o, Hall Chapel, PO Box 37, Lincoln, KS 67455.
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