Wilma Juanita (Lawder) Weaver, 87, passed away February 2, 2011. Born September 10, 1923 in Woodville, Miss., to Pearl (Swartz) Lawder and Rev. J. (John) Clyde Lawder, she was the eldest of four sisters.
An itinerant childhood through Enid and Neodesha, Kan., Tonkawa, Okla., and Normal Ill., culminated in Lansing, Mich., with an education degree from Michigan State University in home economics, which she taught in the South Haven, Sparta and Rockford school systems. In 1949, she married Kenneth Garrett Weaver, a Michigan State Police Trooper and the older brother of one of her South Haven students. Two daughters ensued and she focused her skills on her home, working part-time.
An avid gardener, composter, and recycler, she was preternaturally conscious of her carbon footprint decades before the phrase was coined. She could whistle Sousa marches like the clarinet-playing band member she had been and she could recognize most birds by sight and song. Her love of piano playing and classical music accompanied her fervent and prodigious knitting (mittens were a specialty). Her strawberry shortcake, peach cobbler, crumble-topped apple pie and turkey stuffing were seasonal favorites while the quality of her sartorial creations far surpassed store-bought. At Chinese checkers she was undefeated until the age of 87. She studiously imparted these skills and interests to her, at times, resistant daughters along with the imprimatur to make their own choices and lead independent lives.
As a member of the Rockford community since 1949, and the Rockford Methodist Church since 1962, she developed enduring and valued friendships, in particular Billie Hunt, a caring friend since 1955. Her husband’s retirement from the Michigan State Police in 1973, and from Michigan Bell in 1982, allowed them the good fortune of splitting their leisure years between Rockford and Colony Cove in Ellenton, Fla. Wilma often told her girls that if she could spend her final years at Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids, she would consider herself very lucky—and that she was. Since 2004 she enjoyed Clark’s social programs, Euchre nights and the camaraderie, care and concern of all her special friends, dear neighbors and the Clark staff as well.
Wilma is preceded in death by her parents, J. Clyde and Pearl Lawder of Pensacola, Fla.; her daughter, Margo Lynn Weaver of Rockford; her sister, Leona Pearl Morris of Panama City, Fla.; her husband, Kenneth G. Weaver of Rockford; her sister-in-law, Donna Marie Kuhn of South Haven, Mich.; four brothers-in-law and four nephews. She is survived by her daughter, Annette Lee Weaver, and Jan Kleiman of Frederick, Md.; sisters, Elinor Clydine Pickard and Eulalie (Charles) Mock of Fla.; sister-in-law, Bonnie Jean Harrington of South Haven, Mich.; and nine nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held at Clark Retirement Community Chapel, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011. Memorial contributions may be made to Heifer International.