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Wilma Louise Richert

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Wilma Louise Richert Obituary

Wilma Louise Richert took occupancy in her heavenly home on December 20, 2016, just 18 days short of her 97th birthday. Mom, "Granny," or GG to we who survived her, had many of the typical accolades one hears at a memorial service. She had the usual diplomas, degrees and professional accomplishments. She was deeply committed to her community, serving as a president, director, chairperson, and head of a variety of charitable organizations and committees. She was even the "Sweetheart Queen" at Chico State in 1940, shortly before she married the love of her life, and husband of 68 years, Leonard Richert (deceased). But what made her truly "famous" to us was her fierce love for, and unqualified, tireless devotion to God and her family.

It was no exaggeration when granddaughter Kit recalled "There was one person on this earth that prayed for me every day of my life... Granny!" Her greatest accomplishments were all achieved on her knees, open bible by her side, as she daily prayed for her sons Scott and Terril Richert (deceased), her daughter Cheryl Johnson Eden, grandkids Kit and Rob Richert and their mom, JoAnn Richert Lorber, Jeanenne and Lindsey Richert, Kyle Johnson and Tiffany Thomason, along with great granddaughters Kallyn and Kinsey Thomason.

Her strength and determination were forged in trials of the great depression. She began her journey in 1920 on a farm in Oklahoma. Her tender heart, piety, and devotion to God and family were strengthened by her German Mennonite upbringing, and personal love for Jesus Christ. As a young child, she learned to speak English by playing with her neighbors. Her family had no running water, electricity, or indoor toilet. Nevertheless, like so many from the "Greatest Generation," she remembered it as a wonderful childhood. The occasional hunger, or lack of birthday presents was utterly insignificant.

That childhood poverty led the frugal world-traveler (wealthy by any standard) to often travel an extra few miles, or make trips to multiple markets, just to save a dollar or two. Son Scott remembers finding a jar full of dried soap slivers in the pantry – saved to be melted into a full new bar of soap. Daughter-in-Law Carolyn Richert remembers Granny washing Ziploc bags because there was simply no reason to discard them after one use. She remembers how vigorously a sinuous, seventy-year old could work tearing up flooring as she helped her kids remodel their house. Yet the same wiry old woman was quick to open her home and heart when Carolyn with two small babies was too sick to care for them herself.

When son Terry passed, Granny devoted even more love to daughter-in-law JoAnn, who occupied a central part of Granny's heart till the day she died. She loved few things more than boasting about her "perfect" kids. Daughter Cheryl was her pride and joy. She became Wilma's dearest friend (but for husband Leonard) and an extraordinary caregiver reflecting her own mother's immeasurable love.

Wilma's "questionable" health fads, dozens of daily vitamins, home-grown, organic fruits and vegetables, combined with her constant hand-washing seemed to do the trick. No one remembers her ever being sick in her 97 years. She continued to play tennis well into her seventies. She golfed into her mid-80s, and she gardened until she was 90.

Mom, Granny, GG had unconditional love for each of us. She was certain that we would all become presidents of a multinational company, Presidents of the United States, or the best at whatever field we chose. Her confidence in each of us gave us the confidence to do more than we were otherwise able. She had a limitless love for her family, her church and her savior, in whose presence she now resides forever.

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Published in Appeal Democrat on Jan. 5, 2017
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