Wilma Charlene Harris Hempel passed away at her home in Niotaze, Kansas surrounded by her family on Thursday, August 15, 2019. Cremation has taken place under the direction of Potts Chapel. A celebration of Wilma’s life will be held at Cross Point Baptist Church in Caney, Kansas on Sunday, September 1st at 2:00 PM with inurnment following at 4:30 PM at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery.
Wilma Charlene Harris Hempel was born on December 23, 1930 on the family farm in Caney, Kansas to Charles (Shorty) and Etta (Steeby) Harris. She was the 11th of 13 children. She attended Caney schools then went onto earn her accounting degree and certification in floral design. She married Fredrick Jess Hempel, December 25, 1948 in Coffeyville, Kansas. They made their home on a farm outside Tyro for 34 years, working hard each day, tending to their milk cows and stock cattle to ensure they made their farm one of the best in Montgomery County. She took a job with the U.S. Postal Service and became the first female letter carrier in the four-state region. She worked at the Caney Post Office until 1973 when she transferred to Claremore, OK. She retired after 20 years to rural Vinita, OK. It was there that she lost her husband of 38 years. She then worked part time as the accountant and mechanic for Vinita Break and Wheel for 2 years. Wilma was very active in the communities, she worked at Meals on Wheels, the Home Extension Club, she served on the Community Action Board, she was a member of the VFW, DAV, the Christian Motorcycle Club and was a proud donor to the American Red Cross. Wilma generously donated over 4 gallons. When Wilma returned to the Caney area in 1998, she settled in Niotaze, Kansas with her youngest son. Wilma was an active member in Trinity Lutheran Church, and Cross Point Baptist Church in Caney and the Church of God in Oklahoma. Wilma will be remembered as a loving mother, and grandmother who was proud of all her children and loved them unconditionally.
She is preceded in death by her husband, parents, seven brothers, three sisters, two grandsons, one son in-law, and her adopted son.
Wilma’s memory will carry on with her, sons, Herman Hempel, Carl Hempel and Jess Hempel, daughters, LaDonna Hempel, Etta Jones, and Elouise Burns, adopted children, John Sumpter, Caldee Parmain, and Joe Lech, sister, Patricia Smith, brother, John Sherman Harris and numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews. To leave the family a special message of condolence, please visit www.pottsfuneralhome.com.