Wilma E. Sechrist, 106, of Nappanee, Ind., died at 1:36 a.m., Monday, April 8, 2013, at Elkhart General Hospital. She had been in ill health for two weeks.
She was born March 12, 1907, to Noah and Anna (Heckaman) Rhinehart in Kosciusko County, Ind. Since age 10, she lived her entire life in the same house, except for the last 5 months and 5 days, which she spent at LuAnn Nursing Home in Nappanee. At the age of 10, she and her family moved from Kosciusko County into Nappanee on a buck board wagon, at a time when there was much celebration in the city. What Wilma thought to be celebrating for her arrival, turned out to be Armistice Day celebration – the end of WW I at 11 a.m.
Wilma attended Nappanee schools. From 1929 to 1936, she was a telephone operator for Nappanee Telephone Company. She also worked at Vitreous Steel company, the Nappanee Sauerkraut Factory, and in her father’s grocery store.
On April 27, 1929, she married Harold F. Sechrist, in Nappanee. They had 50 wonderful years together, he preceded in death May 16, 1979. Harold and Wilma were very active in Nappanee. For many years, they were active in pony racing at Phoenix Downs in Nappanee and across the state.
Wilma was a long time member of the Nappanee United Methodist Church. She enjoyed sewing, quilting, cooking and working in her yard. She always knew what the weather and temperature was going to be the next day. After her 100th birthday celebration by family and friends, she enjoyed reading the cards and letters that followed, giving her great joy.
Mrs. Sechrist is survived by her daughter: Lois Johnson, West Terre Haute, Ind.; grandchildren: Kris Johnson (Ross) Molho, Oak Park, Ill.; Karl Johnson, Ocean Side, Calif.; Katie (Berin) Kinsman, Kurt (Laura) Johnson, both of Albuquerque, N.M.; great-grandchildren: Taylor Kirk, Boulder, Colo.; Jacob Molho and Rachel Molho, both of Oak Park, Ill.; and a special caring friend: Jan Tobias.
She was preceded in death by her son-in-law: Nils Johnson; and sisters: Iola Middaugh, Ruth Rhinehart and Gladys Hepler.
Family and friends may call from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 11, at Thompson-Lengacher & Yoder Funeral Home, Nappanee, and for 1 hour prior to the funeral service, which will be at 1 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Nappanee United Methodist Church. Revs. Jim Davidson and Janet McFall-Brown will officiate. Burial will be in Union Center Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be given to the Nappanee United Methodist Church