Former Alaska resident Tammy Wasdyke, also known to loved ones as "Oma," "Yobo" and "Grandma," made her way to the next life in the early hours of March 8, 2014.
Tammy's birth name was Ki Ja, and she was a direct descendant of Sejong the Great, the monarch who invented Korea's modern alphabet. She was a stunning beauty, strong-willed and whip-smart. Tammy didn't brag about her royal lineage, but instead carried herself with regal dignity.
After a years-long courtship filled with joy, dancing and pure love, Tammy came to the U.S. in 1964 as the wife of James Wasdyke, an aviator for the U.S. Army. While caring for a growing family in a strange new country, she taught herself to read and write English. Tammy was an Army wife, and no matter where her travels took the family, she forged deep friendships that crossed geographical, cultural and language barriers. Tammy became an adoptive grandmother to hundreds of military families in the U.S. and overseas.
Tammy was the queen of her household and a great mom; both to her own kids and those who just happened to come into her life. She was a warm, funny and welcoming presence at countless church functions, fundraisers and after-school hangout sessions. Anyone lucky enough to try Tammy's Korean cooking had an odd way of inviting themselves to dinner from that point on, and they were always received with a beaming smile and a fantastic meal. Her chap chae and bulgogi were always faves, and Tammy converted many a skeptic into a Korean food lover.
Tammy absolutely cherished the fresh air and hard work of her garden, which was always "ginormous" and regularly took up a big part of the backyard, the sides of the house, the front of the house, that little patch of dirt around the mailbox, any place a plant stood a chance to thrive. As much as she loved nurturing the people around her, she treasured caring for plants and helping them flourish.
Tammy was a humble lady who shared of herself freely with those in need. Over the years, she and her husband, Jim, opened their home to children and families who needed a safe place to stay - whether for a night or even a few months. Even during difficult times for her family, Tammy always made room in her home and heart for someone less fortunate.
Tammy is survived by her loving husband, Jim; sons, James, Jr. and Walter; daughter, Barbara; two sisters, 10 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews, and countless extended family and friends the world over who were all touched by her love.
Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, at Madison Chapel Funeral Home, 8521 Hwy. 72, Madison, AL 35758. Funeral Mass is 1 p.m. Thursday, March 13 at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church, 1055 Hughes Road, Madison, AL 35758.
Tammy will be laid to rest at Huntsville Memory Gardens, 6810 University Drive, Huntsville, AL 35806. A memorial luncheon will be held at Saint John the Baptist after interment.