Wanona Wiley was born January 26, 1922 in Tremonton, Utah to Merland Henrie and Effie Jane Blair, the fourth of seven children. A year later, her family moved to Jackson, Wyoming where she was raised and spent most of her life.
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From a very young age her life was dominated by the necessity to work. While in grade school she had chores at home cleaning, cooking, washing and ironing. In her early teens, she and her sister Vida worked at a commercial laundry running sheets through a press.
In summers during her high school years, Wanona worked at a Lumley's drug store, managing the soda fountain 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. After high school she went to cosmotolgy school in Salt Lake City for one year and got her license to practice in Wyoming,
On September 19, 1941, Wanona eloped with her high school sweetheart, Glen R. (Bob) Wiley. They were married in Driggs, Idaho on their way to Idaho State Universiy so Bob could attend pharmacy school. Thus began 72 years of marriage. Wanona found a job right away at a drug store in Pocatello. Within three months, the United States entered WWII, so they decide to go to Utah to find jobs in war related industries.
Wanona soon found a civil service job at Hill Air Force base where she worked for the duration of the war. She was involved in organizing secret troop movements all across the country and received commendations for her competency. When Bob volunteered for the draft and was sent to France in 1943, Wanona stayed with her parents in Layton, Utah.
After Bob returned from the war in 1946, they moved back to Jackson Hole to go into the construction business with Bob's uncle, Dean Driskell. As partners, they build one of the first motels in Jackson, called the D & W Motel. For the next twenty years, Wanona cleaned and rented rooms and kept books for the motel and construction company. After the sale of the motel in 1967, she got a bookkeeping job at Benson's Hardware store where she worked for several years until retirement. All through these years of working she also had the job of raising her three children--Mitch, Deana, and Russ.
As busy as she was, Wanona still found time for community service. She volunteered as a Red Cross Grey Lady at St. John's Hospital. She served as president of the Jackson American Legion Auxiliary and later as district president for western Wyoming. She was president of the Jackson Business and Professional Woman's Association and acted as the chairperson for selecting Girls' State delegates. She was a cub scout and girl scout leader. She belonged to an LDS Church choir called the Singing Mother's and had a role in the movie Spencer's Mountain as a member of this group.
When they took time off and in retirement, Bob and Wanona played as hard as they worked. They liked to do things together, especially dancing. Wanona was light on her feet and could follow anybody. They also enjoyed year round outdoor sports such as snowplaning, snowmobiling, camping, and going on historical treks all over Wyoming. Wanona especially enjoyed golf and served as a board member of the Ladies Golf Association of the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club.
For thirty years, Bob and Wanona were snowbirds, increasing the length of their stay each winter until 2004 when they bought a house in Canyon Cove and moved to Washington year round. They continued taking historical excursions and playing golf as long as their health permitted it.
Wanona was a kind hearted person and had a quiet influence for good in her family and on all who knew her. She was a descendant of Mormon pioneers and both sides of her family and a was life long member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. .
Wanona passed away in her home on February 2, 2014 one week after her 92nd birthday. She is survived by her husband Glen Richard 'Bob' Wiley; three children Mitch Wiley (Mary) of Taylorsville, UT, Deana Hardy (Kim) of Mesquite, NV, and Russell Wiley (DeAnn) of Hurricane, UT, fourteen grandchildren, and twenty-three great-grandchildren.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM at the Cotton Mill Ward LDS Chapel, 1080 W Arlington, Washington, Utah. Visitation will be Saturday, February 8th at 9:00 AM to 10:45 AM at the Cotton Mill Ward LDS Chapel. Interment will be Washington City Cemetery, under the direction of McMillan Mortuary 435-688-8880.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local Meals on Wheels.
Condolences may be shared at mcmillanmortuary.com
265 W Tabernacle St Saint George, UT 84770
Published in The Spectrum & Daily News on Feb. 6, 2014