SHAWNEE, Okla. – The youngest sister of Woody Guthrie, Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, passed away over the weekend. She was 96.
She was born in Okemah, Oklahoma on December 24, 1922, to Charlie and Nora Guthrie. She moved to Texas at a young age, but eventually settled back in Oklahoma where she met her husband, Hulett Edgmon.
She passed away Saturday at the Regency Skilled Nursing Facility in Shawnee.
“Her greatest passion was being the number one spokesperson and cheerleader for her brother, Woody Guthrie,” her obituary reads. “Anyone that knew Mary Jo could attest to the fact that she absolutely loved chocolate, family, life, and Woody’s world. She was the epitome of optimism and bringing out the best in people.”
The Woody Guthrie Center also released a statement following her passing saying her legacy will remain alongside Woody’s.
“Nobody loved Woody Guthrie as much as his baby sister Mary Jo did. Years before the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and the Woody Guthrie Center were established, she was his champion, sharing his message with students across the state so that his importance in American history was not forgotten. Her legacy will remain alongside Woody’s in all that we do at the Center. She was a dear friend, our “baby sister,” and our expert on all things Woody. We can’t think of anyone who was a better carrier of Woody’s torch. Our hearts ache for the family as we all honor a life well lived and a spirit of giving. We all hope we can live up to her expectations and continue sharing her brother’s love with a new generation in the way that she did for so many years.”
She is survived by her son, Hugh and his wife Susan of Scottsdale, Arizona; Grandson, Chris and wife Angela of Scottsdale, Arizona; Granddaughter, Christy Martin and Great-grandchildren Cade and Campbell Martin of Frisco, Texas; in addition to Guthrie nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and extended family.