Wanda Fern Jones Bennett was born at home in Lotts Creek township on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 to Wesley, Sr. and Pearl (Porter) Jones. Wanda attended country school and then attended high school in Mount Ayr through her junior year, later earning her GED.
Bob and Wanda started dating on Bob’s 16th birthday, shortly after Wanda turned 15. They were married on May 23, 1956 the day following Bob’s graduation. Bob left for the Marines a few days later leaving Wanda at home with plans to finish her senior year. By the end of his basic training they knew they couldn’t possibly wait another year and returned to California together. While stationed in southern California, their daughter, Cyndi, was born. In the spring of 1958, they returned to farm with Bob’s parents north of Mount Ayr. Their son, Chuck, was born in 1959. In those early years, Wanda helped on the farm plowing, raking hay and milking cows.
Wanda was very active in the Wishard Chapel church teaching Sunday school and Bible school and serving as Sunday school superintendent and as a member of UMW.
In 1970 Wanda and Bob completed their family with the adoption of five-day-old Rhonda. The family enjoyed many vacations to California and New Mexico; trips that Wanda recorded in home movies. Although Wanda’s primary career was wife and mother, she worked for a time at the Mount Ayr Cap Factory and later taught at the Creston Head Start for a number of years. In the fall of 1999, Bob and Wanda designed and built their home in Mount Ayr. Grandma Wanda enjoyed living a block from school where first her granddaughters and then her great-granddaughters could walk after school. After moving to Mount Ayr, Bob and Wanda joined the First Christian Church. Wanda continued her service there as a Sunday school teacher and as an elder.
Wanda passed away at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines on November 12, 2010 with her daughters and sons-in-law at her side.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob, on August 9, 2005; her son Chuck; her father; her parents-in-law; her brother, Wesley Jr., and a sister, Naomi, in infancy.
Survivors include her daughters, Cyndi (Steve) Sobotka and Rhonda (Ron) Brand, all of Mount Ayr, Iowa; grandchildren, Mike (Dee) Sobotka of Tingley, Iowa, Bob (Jacque) Sobotka of Mount Ayr, Iowa, Melissa Sobotka of Missouri and Ashlee (Jeff) Lomax of Bethany, Missouri; Cyndi Brand, Neesie Brand and Cassie Brand, all of Mount Ayr, Iowa; 10 great-grandchildren; her mother, Pearl Jones; sister, Norma Lee Jones; sisters-in-law, Oleta Jones and Marian Jennings, all of Mount Ayr, Iowa; several nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.
A memorial fund has been established to Blessman Ministries. Arrangements were by Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr.
Services were conducted at the First Christian Church in Mount Ayr on Tuesday, November 16, 2010, with Rev. Chris Conklin and Rev. Eydie Stephens officiating. Musicians were Ginny Eighmy, Mary Davenport and Margaret Bickers.
Casket bearers included Mike Sobotka, Bob Sobotka, Vic Lilienthal, Rob Haley, Landon White and Bob Shafer.
Honorary pallbearers were members of the Progressive Couples Sunday School Class.
Wanda was laid at rest in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Mount Ayr.