Herminda Wilhelmina Elizabeth Wykoff, nee Wild, 94, of Pinellas Park, Fla., bornSept. 6, 1921, in Valmeyer, Ill., died Thursday, March 10, 2016, in Pinellas Park, Fla., after being hit by a truck while crossing the street.
Herminda was the oldest child born to Louis Wild and Minnie Wild, nee Stricker, and desperately wanted a sister named Sue. Her parents obliged with a baby sister, but named her Berniece Louise. Not to be deterred, Herminda called her baby sister Sue until the day Sue died at age 89.
Herminda grew restless living in a small town and got on a bus to California when she was twenty without telling her parents. She mailed them a letter before she got on the bus. This was during World War II and Herminda became Rosie the Riveter, or as she liked to call herself, Wild the Welder. She was injured on the job and fired because she had to miss work. There was no such thing as workman's comp in those days. She got a job as a waitress in a coffee shop where she met her future husband. Lowell Hadley Page was in the Navy and stationed in San Diego, Calif., at the time. He had been out drinking with the other sailors and decided to call it a night. He hailed a cab and instructed the driver to take him to the nearest place where he could get a cup of coffee. Herminda was working at the time and he took one look at her and said, "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." Forever afterwards, when Herminda told this story she would end it by saying, "See what alcohol will do for you." Herminda and Lowell married shortly thereafter and had five children, Mary, John, Roy, Roger and Barbara. The marriage did not last and they were divorced after about eight years.
Herminda struggled to raise the five children working as a waitress, and about ten years later met her second husband, William Wykoff. They had three chidlren, Barry, Gail and Joan.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Minnie and Louis Wild; her baby sister, Berniece "Sue" Kidd; both husbands; a son, Roy, who died in Vietnam at the age of twenty; and a daughter, Gail, who died of cancer at the age of 47.
Surviving are six children, daughter Mary Page Rao and her husband, Nasim Rao, and their children, Ameena, Imran and Anwer Rao; son John Page and his son, Alex Page; son Roger Page and his wife Deborah and their daughters, Katina Floyd and Jaime Jordan; daughter Barbara Blumenfeld and her daughter, Herminda's namesake, Herminda Holcomb; son Barry Wykoff and his children, B.J. Tobin and Jera Wykoff; and daughter Joan Wykoff and her children, Asheleigh-Page Forsburg and Austin Mallery. Also surviving are her great-grandchildren, Aliana Rao, Austin and Zane Tillman, Hadley Jordan, and Addison, Jaxon and Greyson Holcomb.
For those who wish, donations in her name may be made to the group home where her daughter, Gail, lived, Community Integration Services, 212 S. 32nd St., Belleville, Ill. 62226.
Services: As per her wishes, Herminda was cremated and her ashes scattered.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat on Apr. 17, 2016