Wilma Marie Lesmeister
September 30, 1930 - August 12, 2018
Wilma Marie Lesmeister passed away on August 12, 2018, from Parkinson's Disease. She was 87 years old. Wilma was born on the family farm in Montrose, Missouri, on September 30, 1930. She was the fifth child, and first daughter, born to Lawrence and Lena (Nold) Lesmeister. Two younger sisters followed. Siblings were: Leroy, Eugene, Larry and Vern. Then Eloise and Ruth, Wilma had a limited education, and spent most of her life helping her mother with the chores of a large household. The family sold the farm and moved west, as did many during the 1940’s. The family initially settled in Independence, Oregon, to work in the hop fields. Then to Mt. Angel, Oregon, and finally putting down roots in Salem, Oregon.
Wilma found employment in the food processing business. She retired after working 27 years in the cannery, all the while living with, and helping her aging parents. She maintained many lifelong friendships forged over green beans and sweet corn! She never married, but found love and purpose in her family and friends. She had a remarkable memory and could recite verbatim, addresses, phone numbers, zip codes and birthdays at one's request. She was blessed with a heart full of gratitude, and was diligent in writing letters or a thank you for any kindness or note extended to her, She rarely missed a special occasion without sending a card or note! Her baking was amazing, and family would request her famous Black Magic Cake until she was sick of making it, and said enough was enough. She finally retired the recipe! Wilma had an innocence, a sweetness of soul that endeared her to all, and a lovable sense of humor. She enjoyed being teased and her family happily obliged! At any family picnic she was fair game. Oh, how she loved family gatherings and parties! It won't be the same without her.
Wilma lived independently until her Parkinson's progressed to the point her doctor told her she could no longer live alone. Her niece, Lynette, and family friend, Beth Crocker, found her the perfect place in Elliott Care Home, Salem. Esmeralda and Danny Elliott (and staff) were her newfound, additional family members, loved by all who entrusted Wilma into their loving care. We are eternally grateful for the professional care and heartfelt love given to her these last three years. She was blessed we found them,
Foremost, the cornerstone in Wilma's life, was her Catholic faith. She was avid in saying a daily rosary, loved going to Mass, and receiving the Holy Eucharist. Her faith was inspiring and beautiful to witness. She was a member of Catholic Daughters and the St Vincent's Altar Society for many years. She had countless friends through her parish of St Vincent DePaul, Salem, where she was a member for over 65 years.
Wilma is survived by her sister, Eloise (Patty) Williams, of Eugene, Oregon, and sister-in-law, Mildred Lesmeister, of Albany, Oregon. She has numerous nieces and nephews, and their families, scattered throughout the country, who will never forget their "Aunt Willie." She was an icon to all of us, and will be forever loved and missed.
Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held at 10:30 am, Friday August 17th followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church 1010 Columbia St., NE Salem. The casket will be open for viewing at 9:30 am at the church. A Graveside Service will be held at 2:00 pm at St. Barbara’s Catholic Cemetery in Salem.
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