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Obituary- Wilma Bernice Messina

     Wilma Bernice Messina was born on November 21, 1927, to William and Emily Maude (Pearce) Deemer “south of Decatur City, IA on the Walter Osborn place”. Her birth certificate records her to be the ninth child born to the family, but twin brother, Wayne, placed the count to ten, on that day. Wilma was one of eleven children, four sisters and six brothers: Albert, Frank, Maude, Ralph, Helen, Harold, Irene, Lester, twins, Wilma and Wayne, and Rosalie. Growing up, the family lived in many places in Decatur County.
Wilma graduated from Grand River High School with her brother, Wayne, in May of 1946. One year later she moved to California. She worked as a waitress and a nursing assistant until she met and married Robert Eugene Rhode on June 10, 1950. After their marriage, she worked for the Franciscan Pottery Company where she painted the “apple” design.
     Wilma and Robert adopted sons, Steven Eugene (1960) and Michael Ray (1962), into their family, until Robert’s passing in 1966. Wilma raised the boys by herself until she married Joseph L. Messina on July 24, 1971. Steven and Michael lives were cut short by a dune buggy accident September 3, 1971.
Wilma and Joe made their home in southern California until retirement, when they moved to Magalia, CA. Joe preceded Wilma in death in 2001.
Wilma loved to quilt and do anything crafty. If you visited her home – you left with a quilt. She left a legacy of many quilted items with friends, nieces and nephews. Wilma was truly happy when she had something to do. She looked forward to the many activities available or a nice day to go outside and watch the traffic pass by.
     In the spring of 2017, niece, Judy Maurer of Springdale, AR, helped Wilma pack up her CA home and move first to Arkansas and then to southern Iowa, near family. Wilma chose to move to Maple Ridge Assisted Living in Mount Ayr. As her health declined, Wilma was cared for by the staff of Mount Ayr Health Care.
     Wilma was the last of the generation from William and Emily Deemer Family. She enjoyed attending family reunions until she missed last weekend, due to poor health. Her twin brother, Wayne, was the first of the siblings and in laws to pass and Wilma was the last.
     Wilma passed away peacefully on July 1, 2023, at Mount Ayr Health Care Center with family beside her.
     Wilma is survived by many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews and great/great nieces and nephews.
     The family would like to offer a special Thank You to the staff of Maple Ridge Assisted Living, Mount Ayr Health Care, Every Step Hospice and Special Reading Friend – Lorrie Haver.
     A memorial fund has been established for the activity fund at the Mount Ayr Health Care Center.
Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr were entrusted with her arrangements.
Services were held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 7, 2023, at the Barnum Community Center in Decatur City, IA.
Officiating was Pastor Bill Armstrong.
Music was “In The Garden” and “Amazing Grace”.
Burial was at the Decatur City Cemetery in Decatur City, IA.

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