EUREKA – Wilma E. Leatherman, 92, died peacefully at 11:49 p.m., Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 at Advocate Hospital in Eureka.
She was born May 25, 1927, in rural Lower Salem, Ohio, the daughter of Carl and Wilhelmina Hallett. She married Jack C. Leatherman on June 6, 1950. He died Dec. 15, 1993.
Survivors include three sons, Lyndell (Barbie) Leatherman, Kansas City, Mo., David (Trena) Leatherman, Rocky Face, Ga., and Phillip (Beth) Leatherman, Eureka; one daughter, Mary Beth Leatherman, Eureka; 12 grandchildren, Christina (Phil) Lasswell, Erin Leatherman, Michael Leatherman, Melissa (Brian) Hyma, Audrey (Will) Partin, Cynthia (Mike) Lapp, Kristin (Christopher) Gilmore, Bryce Leatherman, Rebekah Hollenberg, Elizabeth (Arminder) Deol, Stephen (Amy) Hollenberg and Deborah Hollenberg and 18 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, John Hallett and Jesse Hallett, and five sisters, Clarice Lee, Pauline Poole, Mary Buchanan, Juanita Davis, and Vera Shuman.
Wilma was the youngest of eight children. In 1950, she received a bachelor’s degree in English from God’s Bible School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she met her husband. During their 42 years of pastoral ministry, she served in a variety of roles from leading programs for children and youth, to using her expertise in administration and publications, to being an empathetic listener and counselor, to modeling the gift of hospitality in parsonage and church gatherings. The couple pastored six Nazarene churches in the states of Illinois, Kansas and Missouri before they retired in 1992. In 2015, when she retired as office administrator, Wilma was honored by her church with the Distinguished Service Award. Along the way, she played the piano or organ nearly every Sunday for 79 years, starting as the age of 13, as Wilma played the pump organ in her home church. Other musical activities included directing choirs, bell choirs and other ensembles, as well as providing accompaniment for chapel services at The Loft (formerly Maple Lawn) in Eureka for the last 25 years of her life until she became ill in May. Wilma was a member of the Eureka Grace Church of the Nazarene, Eureka, where she served most recently as organist and Sunday school secretary. She was loved and respected by all who knew her. The most important things in her life were her faith, family, and friends. Wilma will be greatly missed, although her family is that she is now free of pain and in a better place.
Services will be held today at 2 p.m. at the church with the Rev. Mike Stipp officiating. Visitation will take place this afternoon from 1 to 2 p.m. at the church. A reception will follow the service at the church. Argo-Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home, Eureka, is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the church.