My mother, Wanda Marie Fadness, passed away January 15, 2013, at Providence Hospital in Medford, Ore. She was 89 years of age. She was admitted to the hospital on Thanksgiving Day for the first time since 1974. Wanda was a member of the greatest generation. She was the only daughter of Edna and Merlin Henderson Shumway. She was born and raised in Sacramento, Calif. She was a pretty and popular student at Grant High School in Sacramento.
After she graduated, she volunteered to sit in a tower, watching for enemy air craft, and attended community college. She met my father, Blake, when he came home for a furlough with her brother, Merlin, from the Army Air Corp flight school for pilots in King City, Calif.
After a war time romance, she and Blake had a military wedding in Washington, DC, in 1945. As the wife of a military attach, she played bridge with Mamie Eisenhower and enjoyed the postwar social life of Washington. She and my father wound up at March Air Force Base in 1949, where my father was the air force liaison with Hollywood, to make WW II movies following the war. After working in California and ranching in the Centennial Valley, my parents divorced in Dillon, Mont.
Wanda got a degree in art and her teaching certificate from Western Montana College in Dillon, where she met and married my stepfather, John, in 1964. Mother taught school in De Lake, Ore., now Lincoln City. She was a teacher and principal in Edgewood, Calif., and taught school in Fortuna, Calif., until she retired in 1973. She continued to take art classes and was a creative teacher and artist; her students loved her. John returned to school to become a psychologist. He became the Mental Health Director in Humboldt County, Calif., and mother enjoyed being a house wife. Wanda cared for her house, gardened, and continued to paint and do her art in Eureka, Calif., until my stepfather, John, passed away in 1988. Mother's heart was broken. She moved to Central Point to be closer to her remaining family in 1992.
Wanda loved her home and her garden. She was able to stay in her own home until November, following a fall. There will be a private service honoring both Wanda and John this summer, in Montana.
Wanda was preceded in death by her mother and father; first husband, James Blake Bean, ret. Maj., U.S. Air Force; second husband, John Richard Fadness; brother, Merlin Shumway, ret. Capt., U.S. Army Air Corps; and her son-in-law, Hank Collins.
If you wish to honor my mother, volunteer in an elementary school, help children learn to read, plant a garden, or buy an original piece of art from a local artist to place in your home.