Wilma Phelps

Jan. 24, 1925 – March 3, 2021


Wilma Phelps, 96, died peacefully at her long-time home of Schowalter Villa in Hesston, Kansas, on March 3, 2021.

Wilma was born Jan. 24, 1925, in Beaver Crossing, to Elbert and Clara (Burkey) Hostetler. She was the oldest of six children, Eldon Hostetler (Eileen), Edith Reed (Robin), Margie Swartzendruber (Wayne), Leila DeVoe (Paul) and Vada Clemens (Gene).

Wilma felt fortunate to attend Hesston College and graduated with an Academic Diploma in 1945. Her first main job was as a secretary with the Mennonite Central Committee in Akron, Pennsylvania. After a year and a half with them, she signed up with MCC for supporting the refugee efforts from World War II. She spent the following three years in Canada, Naples, Italy, and Gronau, Germany. Upon return, she worked for Hesston College for two years before moving to Colorado.

While in Colorado, she met her husband, Robert “Bob” Phelps and they married on Sept. 28, 1963. They had two children, James and Beth. Sadly, Bob died in a car accident on Sept. 11, 1973.

Wilma leaves to cherish her memory her children and grandchildren – James and Amy and their boys Ryder and Hawke (Colorado) and Beth and Matt and their children, Emma and Noah (New Zealand), along with her youngest sister, Vada, and her husband, Gene, (Pennsylvania) and many devoted nieces and nephews.


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