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Wilma Joyce Ploegsma passed away peacefully on October 2, 2023 in Enumclaw, Washington. She had just celebrated her 91st birthday.
Wilma was born in Booneville, Arkansas to James and Alma Jones on September 5, 1932. She graduated from Booneville High School in 1952. In order to pursue a career in nursing, Wilma moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas where she lived with her aunt and uncle. When she went to enroll in nurses training, the local St. Edwards Hospital was in serious need of radiology students. Wilma decided then to enroll in that program instead. Wilma became a Registered Radiology Technician, first working at St. Edwards and then a local clinic. She met and married her then-husband in 1959, moving with him to San Diego California and then Everett, Washington on Naval orders.
Wilma had three children, Garry, Suzette, and Caryl. The family moved many times throughout Washington and eventually British Columbia. Following a divorce in 1972, Wilma was left with the tall task of single-handedly supporting three children during a time when checks from women were denied if a man’s name did not appear as co-signer. She did so through hard work and sacrifice, working as an X-ray Technician on Whidbey Island, Marysville, Everett, and eventually Kent. Through it all she instilled in her children a sense of self-sufficiency and staunch work ethic.
When her daughter Suzette was married in 1988, Wilma moved into a mother-in-law house on her property in Enumclaw. It was there that she found her great joy and calling in life: as a dedicated and loving grandmother. She worked as an X-ray Technician until retirement, when her real work began. She delighted in taking her grandchildren to sports games, band concerts, and horse shows… even doctor and dentist appointments; anything to spend time around her grandchildren. That dedication and overwhelming love was expanded even further when her precious great-grandchildren entered the picture. Rather than take it easy in retirement, she begged to babysit nearly daily, and developed a deep bond with her great grandbabies.
Wilma is predeceased by her parents and siblings Wayne, Gerald, and Anne; her son, Garry Ploegsma; and her daughter, Suzette (Steve) Stewart. She is survived by her siblings Don, Jim, Herschel, and Wanda; youngest daughter, Caryl; her grandchildren Hillary (Mick) Dawn, Jillian (Garrett) Wilson, Wyley (Kylee) Stewart, Max Fair, and Conar Fair; and her beloved great-grandchildren, Evelyn and Oliver Dawn, Charlotte Wilson, and Dayton and Dryden Stewart; all of whom will deeply miss her.