Wilma Woods, 81, of Arcola, IL passed away at 9:20 P.M., on her birthday, Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at the Odd Fellow-Rebekah Home in Mattoon, IL.
A Celebration of Wilma’s life will be held at 1:00 P.M. on Sunday, October 13, 2019 at the Ingraham Community Center in Ingraham, IL. Private burial will be held on Monday, October 14, 2019 in the Arcola Cemetery.
Wilma was born on October 9, 1938 in Bogota, IL. She was a daughter of Russell and Mildred (Fulk) Stanley. She married Donald Woods on July 28, 1956 in Ingraham, IL. He passed away on January 3, 2006.
She is survived by one son, Jerry Woods and his wife Sandy of McKinney, TX, one daughter, Vicki Woods and her husband Jim Skinner of Charleston, IL.
Memorials may be made to the Odd Fellow-Rebekah Harmony Center in Mattoon, IL or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Wilma Woods was born on October 9, 1938 into the family of Russell and Mildred (Fulk) Stanley. Her family would include a brother, Russell Stanley and three sisters, Noma Reid, Edith Bales and Doris Cauclasure. They grew up in the small town of Ingraham, IL. It was a community of family members and friends. On Tuesday evenings and Saturdays, families came to town to visit. Mostly spending time at the restaurant and Bryant Bros. General Store. Mom happily chose to live close to family and friends.
Mom was a member of the Ingraham Christian Church; she taught Sunday School and Bible School. She helped the Webster sisters paint New Testament murals on the church walls. When mom was a teenager, she put aside her fear of water; she waded into the waters of the Little Muddy Creek and accepted Jesus Crist as her Savior.
Mom attended Ingraham Grade School and graduated from Clay City High School. She represented Ingraham in the County Fair Beauty Contest; she did not win and always claimed the judges must have been blind.
After graduation, mom introduced her future husband, Don Woods to her parents. Grandpa heard about dad racing and driving fast. Grandpa asked dad to promise not to drive fast with mom in the car. Mom said immediately after leaving the house, dad sped up to 100 mph. on the gravel road; she punched dad in the shoulder and said, “gosh, you promised daddy you would not drive fast with me in the car.” Dad slowed down and never again drove fast with mom in the car.
On July 28, 1956, Wilma Stanley and Donald Woods were married at the Ingraham Christian Church. It was an evening wedding. They had a honeymoon night planned in Bloomington, IL. While they were driving to Bloomington, dad fell asleep at the wheel. The romantic honeymoon night was spent sleeping in the parking lot of a Decatur Hospital. They always slept in a bed over the next forty-nine years of their marriage.
Mom and dad made a home in Arcola, IL. They raised a son, Jerry Woods and his wife Sandy, and a daughter, Vicki Woods and her husband Jim Skinner. Then later it was five grandchildren, Jami Woods, Sam Woods, Cathy Woods, Brooke Bueker and Brittany Robison and six great-grandchildren. They participated in community activities such as church, bowling leagues, cub scouts, girl scouts, little league baseball, and Lions Club. They made many friends and were proud to call Arcola home.
Mom enjoyed meeting people, conversations and shopping. When she decided we could stay home alone, she put her skills to work in retail sales. Mom had fun buying things she wanted. She also had fun helping other people buy things they wanted. If you shopped in Arcola, Tuscola, Mattoon or Charleston, you probably met mom.
Mom was always excited about babies. She loved holding, touching and talking to babies. Mom was so happy for the mothers and fathers. It was nine months of anticipation, conversation and celebration. Mom thought babies are gifts from God and to be cherished.
A little over a year ago, I witnessed the power of mom’s love for babies.
Dementia had long confused mom’s thoughts, erased her memories and stole her emotions.
Mom saw a young mother standing in the hallway of the care center, the mother was holding a baby. Mom pulled her wheelchair to the mother and asked to see the baby. The mother held the baby down for mom to view, mom smiled, spoke softly and touched the baby’s hand, arm, leg and foot. The baby watched mom and smiled.
Over the next few moments, I saw the strength of mom’s love and the smile of a baby, push back the darkness of Dementia. Mom’s face was filled with joy for the first time in months.
On October 9, 2019, mom completed her work on earth. She was called to join dad in the presence, love and light of God!
I know the house Jesus built for them, has room for mom to care for all the small souls waiting to bring happiness and smiles to their new families.
Mom, you will always be in our hearts and thoughts.
Love, your family.