Wilma Lucille Smith, 89, of Anchorage, Alaska, died peacefully on May 25, 2014, at Providence Extended Care. Born on March 20, 1925, in Wausau, Wisconsin, she was the last surviving child of the late Otto Ihlenfeld and Ariel Cottrell.
She was very proud of earning her high school equivalence and an associate's degree in Business Administration while in her 50s, as she had to leave school and work to help support her family during the Great Depression. She also took pride in her support of the war effort during World War II. Having moved to Los Angeles, she became a skilled assembler of precision instruments used in the American heavy bombers that helped liberate Europe. As the war neared its end, she met and married the love of her life, the late Harry H. Smith.
In the 1950s, the family relocated to Flint, Michigan, where Wilma worked as an emergency room ward clerk at St. Joseph Hospital, then as a pediatric ward clerk at McLaren General Hospital. She also worked in a variety of service occupations and volunteered later in life, helping children and other seniors.
"Gramma Willie," as she was lovingly known, is survived by her children, Lynnell Catherine (James H.) Hanes and Brian (Cherie) Kibble-Smith; her grandchildren, Daniel, Rachel, Sarah, Bethany, and David; her grand-nephew, Jonathan; her great-grandchildren, Krystal Everhart and Matthew Wilson; and numerous loving relatives and many friends.
Wilma requested a private service.
Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society at www.cancer.org/donate, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 and 1-800-227-2345 in Wilma's name to honor the memories of her beloved husband Harry and mother Ariel. The family wishes to thank all those who cared for her, especially the Providence Extended Care staff.
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