With a green thumb we all envied, Wanda Puckett's favorite place to be was her yard. We all enjoyed the fruits of her gardening talents: macadamias, tangerines and oranges, and the peace one felt just gazing out upon the lushness of her plants, trees and flowers. On April 20, 2013, Wanda moved on to the Lord's backyard and is now no doubt hard at work beside the other gardening angels in heaven.
Wanda was born to Claudia Duvall and Canby Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 18, 1925. Graduating valedictorian of Okolona High School, Wanda worked as a beautician for a year before the war effort claimed her and she moved to the factories to build war planes for Curtiss-Wright. After the war, she couldn't ignore her mother's pleas to "get an education" so she enrolled at UofL. It wasn't long before she caught the eye of classmate, Navy Apprentice Seaman Eugene Puckett, and school and studying just got in the way of an impassioned courtship.
Wanda and Gene had 65 years together, the first 27 of which were spent living as a Marine Corps family, traveling from duty station to duty station with their three children, Dale Puckett, Jan Beard and Lynne Fisher. It was Gene's and Wanda's first landing place that she fell in love with – San Diego – and she proclaimed that they would retire there someday. Indeed, this garden spot is exactly where they enjoyed their retirement decades together.
Over those decades, Wanda enjoyed most – even more than working in her yard – her grandchildren: Ben Hartmann, Jannah Pettibone, Tom Beard, Dale Beard, Janet Fisher and Ryan Fisher. She also had those brought to her family through marriage to love: Chris Fisher, Devin Pettibone, Shay Beard, Elyse Beard and Caitlin Hartmann. In recent years, Wanda's heart filled when visited by her great-grandchildren: Hunter Hartmann; Ryan, Callyanne, Hayden and Emmy Lynne Pettibone; Maddison and Elliana Beard; and Vivian Beard.
We will miss our wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was Gene's "catch of a lifetime", and he will hold her memories close to his heart forever. As a mother, she guided her children through the delights and tribulations of childhood, always there to listen, teach, feed and make a memory with. To her grandchildren, she was their "Mamo" and an ever-present part of their lives, pretty much doing for them what she had done for her own kids, but with an extra dose of spoiling thrown in.
Thank you, Lord, for giving Wanda to us for these 88 years, and we anxiously await the day we see her again when our own time comes to move on.
A service will be held to honor her life Thursday, April 25 at 12:00 p.m. at Greenwood Memorial Park.
Gone From My Sight
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says:
"There, she is gone!"
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!", "there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: "Here she comes!"
And that is dying.
Attributed to Henry Van Dyke