Wilma Jane Atkinson Obituary

Wilma Jane Atkinson

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Memories & Candles

“Wilma was one of the most loving and giving people I have had the pleasure to know. She had a ready laugh, wonderful sense of humor and patience...Read More »
1 of 13 | Posted by: Jan Vacha Caldwell - Cody, WY

“I feel so fortunate to have known Wilma all my life. Growing up my parents were friends of her and Marsh, then when she would come into the...Read More »
2 of 13 | Posted by: Jo (Dodder) Greiner - Washington, IA

“Please know that I share your loss as Wilma & I became special friends at Halcyon House. I recently retired from Halcyon House after 22 years and...Read More »
3 of 13 | Posted by: Sue Lucas - Brighton, IA - friend

“I was sorry to read of Wilma's passing. I stopped by and visited with her the middle of November. She and my dad were first cousins and we also...Read More »
4 of 13 | Posted by: Janet (Richards) Shelman - IA

“I was sorry to read of Wilma's passing. I stopped by and visited with her the middle of November. She and my dad were first cousins and we also...Read More »
5 of 13 | Posted by: Janet (Richards) Shelman - IA

“I have so many fond memories of Aunt Wilma, growing up we would often visit Wilma and Marsh in Washington. She was always so welcoming, and will...Read More »
6 of 13 | Posted by: Carol RIchards Berger - Holly, MI

“My sympathies go out to Wilma's family. I had the privilege of getting to know both Marsh and Wilma through my job as Halcyon House Liaison from...Read More »
7 of 13 | Posted by: Lynette Sievers - Atlantic , IA

“Wilma was part of the 'Topic of the Day' discussion group at Halcyon and added much to the discussions with her quick insight and understandings. We...Read More »
8 of 13 | Posted by: Lela Garton - Washington, IA

“Wilma was a dear, beloved family friend to us for many years.. She gave good hugs and was so kind. She truly cared about my family and was a big...Read More »
9 of 13 | Posted by: Sue Ellen (Dawson) Hegstrom - MD

“Wilma was like a second Mom, I grew up next door to her family, her daughter Marsha and I were best friends, we had many of wonderful and great...Read More »
10 of 13 | Posted by: Nancy Fields Welch - Wascott, WI

“Leave a condolence or a memory. ”
11 of 13 | Posted by: Sue Ellen (Dawson) Hegstrom - MD

“Family, I had the pleasure of attending Sunday school with Wilma. She was asuch a lovely lady and an inspiration for living a good life. My...Read More »
12 of 13 | Posted by: Dee Smith - Pella, IA

“Wilma was a customer at the beauty shop for many years. We enjoyed many great visits. Marsha and I graduated together so we had that in common. ...Read More »
13 of 13 | Posted by: Nancy Wayers - Washington, IA


Wilma Jane Atkinson, age 91, of Washington, Iowa, died Tuesday, January 08, 2013, at the Washington County Hospital following a short illness.

Celebration of life services will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 11, 2013 at the United Methodist Church with Pastor Jim Stiles officiating. Visitation will begin noon Thursday, January 10, 2013 at the Jones & Eden Funeral Home where the family will receive friends from 6:00 until 7:30 Thursday evening. Interment will take place at the Elm Grove Cemetery in Washington, Iowa. Memorials have been established for the United Methodist Church, Halcyon House Good Samaritan Fund or the Appalachia Service Project. Online condolences may be sent for Wilma's family through the web at www.jonesfh.com.

Wilma was born January 2, 1922, the first child of Stanley H. and Olive Marie (Tomlinson) Richards. She attended rural schools and graduated from Washington High School in 1938. Her mother died just before graduation, leaving her to help raise her five younger siblings by taking on the household duties. At graduation she received a $50.00 scholarship per semester. She worked half days as a secretary at the new Lincoln School, which opened that same year. After three and a half years at Washington Junior College, she had an opportunity to teach in a rural school. She taught two years at Eureka and one year at White Oak.

On June 7, 1942 she was united in marriage to Marsh G. Atkinson at the First Christian Church in Brownwood, Texas. When Marsh went overseas, she moved to Cedar Rapids and worked at Collins Radio. After the war, they returned to Washington, Iowa.

She transferred her membership to the United Methodist Church, where she was active for over sixty years. She served on the official board, and was financial secretary and treasurer. She was president and held district and conference offices in the Woman's Society of Christian Service. She led many church mission trips, and she and her husband were volunteers for six years for the Appalachia Service Project. She assisted Marsh, who was responsible for staff vehicles, while she was in charge of paint for the project. One summer she prepared an eight volume history of the first twenty-five years of the Appalachia Service Project.

After the Vietnam Conflict, the local United Methodist Church sponsored a Vietnamese family. Wilma was the contact person; she was especially close to their daughter, Elizabeth. She attended her wedding, helped name their first child, and later visited them in California. Several years ago, Elizabeth flew to Washington to visit Wilma.

She was an active member of the Washington County Red Cross, as a water safety instructor who volunteered for the summer Red Cross "Learn to Swim" program. She also served on the Red Cross board and organized the first disaster plan for Washington County.

Wilma was corresponding secretary of the Washington County Genealogical Society. She recently donated thirty-seven volumes of family history to the local genealogical library.

Wilma has been a resident at Halcyon House since 1979, where she served on the advisory committee and was chair person of the Good Samaritan Fund drive for many years.

Wilma and Marsh were blessed with two daughters; Marsha and Becky. They also helped to raise Wilma's brother Jerry Richards, who lived with them from seventh grade through high school.

After their retirement, they enjoyed traveling. They visited all fifty states, Canada, Mexico, England, and Switzerland. In addition to traveling and genealogy, she was an avid sports fan, especially the Hawks and Cubs.

Wilma is survived by her daughter, Becky Nardy and husband Dennis of Creston, Iowa; five grandchildren; Jon Simpson and wife Amanda of Iowa City, Iowa; Marsh Simpson and wife Jen of Coaldale, Colorado; Matt Nardy of Des Moines, Iowa; Megan Kiddoo and husband Brandon of Macksburg, Iowa; and Kate Guiter of Creston, Iowa; ten great-grandchildren: Marsha Jo and Allen "AJ" Simpson of Coaldale, Colorado; Jessica and Wyatt Simpson of Iowa City, Iowa; Chance, Xander, and Gabe Kiddoo of Macksburg, Iowa; and Reagan, Reese, and Winston Guiter of Creston, Iowa; sister, Sue Williams of Gold Canyon, Arizona; brother, Stanley "Tommy" Richards of Columbia, South Carolina; brother, Jerry Richards of Ft. Worth, Texas; and brother-in-law Charles Atkinson of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband in 1999; daughter, Marsha Lindemann in 2005; two brothers, John Richards and Leland Swift; and a great-grandchild, Jordan Simpson.

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