Wanda Louise Barton passed peacefully into Gloryland and the waiting arms of Jesus, Monday August 9th at Cherry Hills Assisted Living Memory Care in Centennial, Colorado. Two of her daughters and their families were by her side. Her other 4 daughters had spent good times with her in recent days and were there in spirit.
Wanda Louise Furr was born at home, October 28, 1928 in Lubbock, Texas to Ruby Alzora Beezley and Russell Carlton Furr.
She grew up in Texas, living also in Celeste and later in Dallas.
She graduated from North Dallas High School, class of 1946. Since she lived out Proverbs 27:2 "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth..." she never talked much about her school activities, so we're going to do it for her now.
Taken from her year book, she was: the Homeroom President, Vice-President, Secretary, History Club Archivist, Hi-Lite Treasurer, on the Student Council, on Compass Staff, on the Honor Roll and was the Thrift Secretary. She was very well liked and had many friends.
She had a part time job while in high school working at the Morris Department Store in Dallas as a sales girl. Lucell Barton, the store manager, really liked Wanda. So much,that she offered to introduce her to Billie Joe, her son who was home for Christmas. He was on leave from the U.S. Navy.
It was apparently love at first sight, and this enamored young couple were engaged after knowing each other only 2 weeks! They were married September 12, 1947 and lived 72 wonderful years together.
God blessed their union with six daughters over the next 21 years. Wanda found her true calling in life, being THE BEST mother. First to Jackye, then Teresa just two years later, both born while Bill was going to school at Southern Methodist University.
The decision was made to move their young family to Littleton, Colorado in 1956. Bill grew up spending summers in Evergreen, CO visiting his Granddaddy Sandlin. He loved it and wanted to live there someday. Wanda agreed, but with a heavy heart. She had never lived anywhere else but Texas.
She was very close to her parents and older sister, whom she adored. She was extremely homesick, heartsick for many months. So much so that Bill told her, "If you’re still this homesick after a year, we will move back to Texas." Around this time, God sent her a fun-loving neighbor named Georgia Brown. They met across the backyard fence while hanging laundry out to dry, and became fast, best friends. Wanda’s homesickness found a cure and Colorado became home.
A third daughter, Debbie was born in 1957, after a difficult pregnancy that required months of bed rest. Wanda had many long talks with God and her baby, asking Him to spare this little ones life, so this precious baby could grow, get stronger and live. Her prayers were answered! Debbie survived Although she had some physical limitations after a 2.5 month pre-term birth, God also gave her a strong will, mind and spirit to overcome any obstacles.
Wanda’s mothering skills were growing by leaps and bounds and being tested during these trying times, but she never gave up. She persevered, all the while with great faith in God and great love. She was at the same time imparting great life lessons to her growing family.
The family made a move from Littleton to Fort Collins in 1962 after Bill’s job moved to Hewlett-Packard in Loveland. A fourth daughter, Lisa was born in 1963. With her arrival, God provided another best friend for Wanda.
Her hospital roommate, Gisela Schueler had a son the same day. They hit it off, kept in touch, and stayed lifelong friends, for 58 years and 8 days until Wanda’s passing.
Over the next 6 years, 2 more daughters were born. Kristi in 1967 and Jennifer in 1969. Kristi was always mom's "snow baby" born the 12th day of January. Amazing how God worked in Mom's life more than once to give her a new friend when she had a new baby. The next door neighbor, Phyllis Campbell had a new daughter born January 24th. We remained friends with the family and stayed in touch many years, even after they moved back to Utah.
Bill and Wanda decided to 'stop at perfection' when daughter number six Jennifer came along. That or as Mom said, no more tries, six is enough.
Along with being the best mother in the world to six daughters who were toddlers, young children and teenagers at the same time, Wanda found time to be a great wife, homemaker, cook, seamstress, nurse, chauffeur AND driving instructor…yes she taught all six of her daughters to drive, and lived to tell the stories!! Kristi fondly remembers her helping lead the Girl Scout Troop she belonged to. I’m sure her excellent cooking and crafting skills were put to good use.
Wanda had really good advice about life. Sometimes they were plain old favorite expressions she shared with her and girls. Here are some of her best MOMisms. Kristi remembers, "Your mother loves you, and that’s all that matters." From Lisa, "Tell the truth…the truth will set you free." From Debbie, "God will give you what you need just when you need it." From Jen, "Love you more." From Jackye, "Clean your plate, think of all the starving children in the world!" And from Teresa, "WHATEVER!!!"
She was "Mimi" to 14 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. They were her pride and joy. She loved them to pieces and did her level best to spoil them rotten. Times spent with her were filled with food, fun and lots of laughter.
She was a member of Meadowlark Church of Christ since their doors opened in 1972.
She enjoyed teaching Vacation Bible School, and cooking for College Suppers on Sunday nights with Helen Ferry, Pattie Orme and Maxine Tamlin. She also helped cook meals for Youth Retreats, Summer Camp and the Annual Labor Day Picnic at Cherokee Christian Ranch.
She had a love of "crafting" which she found time for in spite of all her family and homemaking responsibilities. Knitting hats, scarves and mittens, sewing quilts and Christmas decorations, including stockings for everyone to hang on Christmas Eve.
Perhaps what she will be remembered most for, are her crocheted creations. She’s made many afghans, coasters, tea cozy’s, doilies and Christmas ornaments through the years. She crocheted literally thousands of Easter eggs since 1972 when she found the pattern in a Family Circle Magazine. She will be remembered fondly for them, as they are passed on to new generations of her family. She learned this skill, after she was married, from Bill’s maternal grandmother, Carrie Etta Parks Sandlin. Her mother tried teaching her at a young age, but her interest level was low then, as was her mother’s patience. She passed her love of crocheting on to 3 of her daughters, Teresa, Debbie and Kristi.
Wanda made each house she lived in a HOME. A warm and welcoming place, full of love, life, light, laughter and her wonderful southern cooking!!! Her pecan pie, peach cobbler and fried chicken are legendary. Grandson Kyle loved the peach cobbler so much he chose it over groom’s cake when he and Melissa got married. Then his mom Lisa and 2 of her sisters made 13 13x9 pans of cobbler from THE RECIPE for the reception. Wanda also made every holiday special with great food and sweet treats, too numerous to name. Many of her children’s friends called her Ma Barton for good reason. They felt loved and accepted, like one of her own. The home she made for her children was THE FUN place every friend wanted to be. Her legacy of love, good mothering and good cooking will be carried on for many generations to come!!
She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Alodee Budd, her half brother H.K. Johnston, many aunts, uncles and cousins, and her beloved husband Billie Joe, just 14 short months ago. They were all beneficiaries of her great love, as are the those who live on today.
She is survived by, loved by, and will be dearly missed by her Six Daughters:
Jackye (Steve) Churchill of Sedona, AZ. Teresa Louise (Kevin) Benninghoff of Cottonwood, AZ. Debbie (Robert) Hard of Loveland, CO. Lisa (Marc) Ebeling of Napa, CA. Kristi (Kevin) Calcagno of Santa Clara, CA. Jen (Corey) Rodriguez of Greenwood Village, CO.
Chris Greenlee, Diana (Adrianne Alpern) Churchill, Darren Churchill, Luke, Josiah and Maria Louisa Hard, Kyle (Melissa) Ebeling, Jarrod, Nicholas and Madison Ebeling, Kieleigh Louise and Kristian Calcagno…the youngest grandson who was born on his Mimi’s 78th birthday, Zachary and Mackenzie Rodriguez.
Gage Greenlee, Everett Alpern Churchill, Ellie Ebeling, Zoey Freeland, and many nieces and nephews.
Wanda came from a long line of God-fearing, God-honoring, Bible believing and faith filled women.
Wanda loved God and always had a strong relationship with Him since her confession of Faith in Jesus as a young girl.
She lived out her faith daily. God's light shone brightly through her into every life she touched. Her family first and on and on in the ever widening circle that will continue to spread, even today in her absence.
She truly brought to life God's greatest commandment, as told in Luke 10:27 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
Wanda lived a long, full life. It was well lived because she loved well. She lived out 1Corinthians13 every day. Wanda was another name for LOVE. Wanda was patient. Wanda was kind. Wanda did not envy, she did not boast and was not proud. Wanda did not dishonor others, she was not self-seeking or easily angered, she kept no record of wrongs. Wanda did not delight in evil, but rejoiced with the truth. Wanda always protected, always trusted, always hoped, always persevered.
May we all continue Wanda’s legacy and LOVE WELL.
Interment will be at Lakeview Cemetery, Windsor, CO
Thursday August 19th at 10am
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association in Wanda’s memory.
Online condolences may be made at www.marksfuneralservice.com.