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Oklahoma Family Tree Stories

This beautiful sculpture of three redbud trees with gold and silver leaves by artist Robin Starke is located just outside the Eleanor & John Kirkpatrick Research Center in the Oklahoma History Center. Each leaf of the "Oklahoma Family Tree" memorializes an Oklahoma family with the family surname, first name(s), and the town or county where they lived. In addition, a short family history will be preserved in the digital family history book at the base of the tree. This is a great way for your family to make history and benefit future generations at the same time. To find out how to honor your own family with a leaf visit the Oklahoma Family Tree Project page.

Carmichael Family

On June 30, 1946, John Carmichael married Betty Jo Temple to begin a wonderful life together that lasted more than sixty years. Their greatest joy and proudest moments involved their three daughters: Montress Jo ("Monty Jo"); Marilyn Ann; and Marcheta Kay ("Marky").

John was born to James Guy and Mary Silvia Baker Carmichael on January 9, 1922, in Henryetta. After graduating from Henryetta High School in 1940, John enrolled at Oklahoma A & M College (later, Oklahoma State University), where he joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. As a student in the pre-dental program, John served as a second lieutenant in the Army Medical Administrative Corps. In 1943 he attended dental school at the University of Kansas City. He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in June 1946 and was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the Army Dental Corps.

Betty Jo was born to Owen W. and Mabel L. Grimes Temple on March 3, 1923, in Buffalo. In addition to her high school activities, Betty Jo was active in dance and drama, and she attended a summer session at Central State College (later, the University of Central Oklahoma). Betty Jo moved to Oklahoma A & M College in 1941 and joined the Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. She completed her education at Chillicothe Business College, Iowa State University, and the University of Oklahoma. She complemented her education with work at the Douglas Aircraft facility at Tinker Field, the Oklahoma State Department of Agriculture, and the Northwest Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. She also assisted her father, Owen Temple, in his retail, farming, and ranching enterprises.

The Carmichaels had been married only a short time when, in 1946, the U.S. Army commissioned John as an Army Dental Officer and sent him to Japan, where he attained the rank of captain. As an Army dependent, Betty Jo was able to join her husband in Japan, and they enjoyed an exciting two years. They returned to the United States in December 1948.

In January 1949, Betty Jo and John arrived in Woodward, where they made their home for the next fifty-four years. John initiated his dental practice with Dr. James R. Ruble at 1017 Main Street. He remained in that office until November 1958, when he associated with Dr. Ben H. Benson at 1710 Main Street. After a successful and rewarding practice, Dr. Carmichael retired on April 1, 1991.

As they were raising, educating, and enjoying their three daughters, Betty Jo and John became involved in local, state, and national activities. As members of the First Presbyterian Church, they were involved in many activities and served several stints on the church's secession, Sunday school, and women's organizations. John was elected to the church's board of governors and served nine years. On two occasions, he was elected as president of that body

Governor George Nigh appointed John to the Oklahoma State Board of Health. He remained on the board for twenty-two years and served as president three times. As a member of the Oklahoma Dental Association, the American College of Dentists, and the International College of Dentists, John held numerous local and state positions. He was the vice-regent and regent of the U.S.A. section of the International College and served as councilman and a member of the International College's board of trustees.

As an avid participant in water sports, Betty Jo taught swimming and diving in Woodward and Gage for several years. When her children were in school, she supported their activities and tutored students at various educational levels. As a member of the Woodward Little Theater, Betty Jo acted on stage, directed, and produced plays. Woodward Public Library appointed her to its board of directors, and she remained on the board for more than eighteen years. When she served as president of the library board, Betty Jo helped reorganize the staff and assisted in relocating and remodeling a new library. Her favorite hobbies included reading, creative needlepoint, and duplicate bridge. In 1972, Betty Jo actively managed the Temple farm and ranch operations after her father retired.

For ten years, Dr. Carmichael consulted with the Oklahoma Historical Society in the designation, preservation, and development of Historic Fort Supply. Through this project, he worked with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and, in 1991, received its Volunteer of the Year Award.

John's leadership positions in several organizations afforded him an opportunity to help develop projects that impacted his profession and community. Woodward recognized him as the Citizen of the Year in 1987; Oklahoma State University presented him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1993; Woodward gave him an Appreciation Award in 1999; and the School of Dentistry at the University of Missouri at Kansas City recognized him as Alumnus of the Year in 2003.

John and Betty Jo moved to Spanish Cove in Yukon in July 2003.

The Carmichaels' first daughter, Montressa "Monty Jo," was born in Woodward on April 25, 1949. She graduated from Woodward High School in 1967 and received her BS (1971) and MS (1973) in Microbiology from Oklahoma State University. She went on to become an emergency response coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. Her son, Samuel Temple Elder, was born in Oklahoma City on May 3, 1979. He moved to Berkley, California.

The Carmichaels' second daughter, Marcheta Kay, was born in Woodward on April 5, 1953. She graduated from Woodward High School in 1971 and attended Oklahoma State University from 1971 to 1974. She graduated with a BS in Business from Central State University (later, the University of Central Oklahoma) in 1975. Marcheta married David Pop Almon, Jr. in Woodward in June 1974. Their two sons, both born in Oklahoma, are Jonathan Pope (b. February 25, 1981) and Jeremy Temple (b. June 5, 1984). Marcheta worked in the Securities Division of the Federal Reserve Bank in Oklahoma City from 1975 to 1977 and the Investment Division of Fidelity Bank in Oklahoma City from 1977 to 1980. She also served as the lower division librarian in Oklahoma City's Westminster School.

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