Wilma was born on January 14, 1929 on a farm just north of Salem, Oregon. She was the youngest of 7 children born with blue eyes and blonde hair. Her father was from Kentucky and had black hair and gray brown eyes

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Wilma was born on January 14, 1929 on a farm just north of Salem, Oregon.  She was the youngest of 7 children born with blue eyes and blonde hair.  Her father was from Kentucky and had black hair and gray brown eyes; her mother was from Oklahoma with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes.  She and her sister Ethel were the only siblings to have blue eyes.
She decided she wanted to be a nurse when she was 5 and ended up in the hospital after her appendix burst and she had whooping cough.  She thought the nurses were very nice to her and wanted to be just like them.
Wilma was very shy as a girl and would hide behind her protective sister Erma.  Wilma never wanted to be center-stage but loved to help out from the side-lines.  She was always understated which made her humble and beautiful, with a kind compassionate spirit.
She fell in love instantly with Ben when she was 16 years old and later asked him when they were going to get married.  She decided she wanted 4 kids and by the age of 25 she had her 4 babies. She loved caring for them and always enjoyed being present with every moment.  Her husband on the other hand was planning for their college education.
Her family was always the most important thing to her.  She was Benny's wife and a mother to her children.  She was a preschool Sunday school teacher, a Blue Bird leader, and a Campfire Girls leader.  She sewed everyone's clothes, made curtains for the new house, painted and wall papered walls, canned all kinds of fruits and vegetables, made jam and rhubarb sauce.  

Later she was a very successful Avon lady, a Welcome Wagon hostess, as well as having her own candle making business.  She did toll painting, decoupage, water color painting, but her big love was landscaping and working with plants and birds.  She and Ben planted many of their yards with the various new homes they lived in.  She always grew amazing vegetable gardens and had one of the greenest thumbs imaginable.  

She went back to school in her 50's and received her AA degree in landscape design, and had a creative eye for beautiful yards.  She became a Master Gardner, and designed many yards including an area for Portland Community College.  Later when they moved to Indio 11 years ago, she started up the garden club by putting an ad in the community newsletter and her new friend Carol and her and Ben grew the club to over 100 members.  She wrote a couple of booklets on herbs and presented a speech to her garden club about them.  Even though she was nervous about getting up in front of people, she did a beautiful job, and everyone seemed to love her.  She worked from behind the scenes.
Wilma also loved to cook and belonged to a gourmet cooking group and loved to try new recipes. This was how she expressed her love to her family and friends.  She loved to have kitchens that opened to the family room where she could be a part of the conversation when meals were being prepared. She also started designing and making calendars for her family about 10 years ago, and would send them out every year.  She was always busy doing something, and never complained.
What so many people remember about her was her laugh.  She was fun-loving and full of joy. She was like an angel to so many people.  She had compassion for those less fortunate, saying she would never deprive anyone of food.  She and Ben gave toys to needy children at Christmas time, gave away personal items to homeless shelters, and money to people on the street.  She gave to others with no expectation of anything in return and was amazed at the love that came back to her.
She had a special love for birds, and many years ago nurtured a baby robin to adulthood that had fallen out of a tree.  She fed the birds in their yard for decades.  She said that if she could be any animal, it would have been a bird.  A wise elderly woman once said that sometimes angels come in the form of birds.  Two angels also came in the form of her hospice nurse Donna and her caregiver aide named Lupita.  They both fell in love with Wilma and gave her the utmost respect and outstanding care.  Wilma was very blessed to have them with her.
Wilma was a very spiritual woman who believed in the love and mercy of God.  She and Ben enjoyed watching Joel Osteen twice every Sunday because of the inspirational message he brought each week.  She found his words very comforting and encouraging, and always seemed to receive a very important message in her heart from him.  
She loved the 5-finger prayer and did this every day.  The thumb represented those closest to her, her family and close friends. The pointer finger was for teachers, ministers, and those who pointed the way for others. The tall middle finger was for leaders, and presidents to help them make wise decisions for us.  The ring finger, which is the weakest of all, was for those less fortunate, weak, and sick.  And finally the pinky was for herself.  She loved sharing this prayer with others.
Being married to Ben for 63 years was her greatest joy.  They had a very close relationship and she looked after him with compassionate love, saying it was her job to make sure he was cared for, and she was happy to do it.  Even after 63 years, her face would light up when she heard him coming.  Her last words when Ben came into the room and asked her if she wanted a kiss, were "you bet!"  In the end, she passed away peacefully next to her husband in bed...at dawn just as the birds were singing.

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