Wanda Jean Findley (née Kissinger), 90, died Monday, February 5, 2018, at the home of a family member in Monroe, LA.
Mrs. Findley was born in Armona, CA on June 13, 1927, to Austin Theodore Kissinger and Pearl Mae Kissinger (née Rowland).
She was pre-deceased (August 11, 2007) by her husband of 58 years, Willis Winn Findley II.
At her birth, Wanda’s family was in California searching for work. They shortly returned to Little Rock, where her father worked as a barber, and her mother as a telephone operator for the Missouri-Pacific Railroad. At the urging of an extended family member, Pearl MacDonald, Wanda was baptized Catholic and given a Catholic education, first at St. Andrew’s Cathedral School and later at Mount St. Mary Academy. She graduated from The Mount in 1945, where she had participated in Sodality and been a member of the Rockets cheering squad.
Wanda was accepted into the Army Air Corps as a prospective nursing student while still in high school, and although World War II was over by the time she was ready to enter nurses’ training in September 1945, the Army honored its commitment and sent her to Hôtel-Dieu in New Orleans. (Hôtel-Dieu was much later renamed “University Hospital” and has now been closed.) She received her “cap” (diploma R.N.) in early 1948, after completing the accelerated two and one-half year program.
Wanda returned to Little Rock in 1948, where she became the private nurse of Dr. Carl Rosenbaum, Sr., who specialized in surgical oncology. In 1949, Willis Findley – who had spent the preceding four years in the Navy and who was the brother of Wanda’s best friend in high school, Patricia Findley – met Wanda again, and they became engaged. They were married on June 20, 1949. Wanda continued to work for Dr. Rosenbaum until the birth of her first child in 1950. She thereafter retired from nursing, although she kept up to date on her license for the next twenty years.
Wanda then began the adventure of nursing a husband, three sons, dogs, racoons, deer, a javalina, and many, many horses (including one raised in the house). She may be remembered in the lore of some as the woman who stopped on the side of Highway 79, between Rison and Fordyce, opened the back door of her car and had an adult doe calmly climb in! She may also be remembered as the friendly voice at Anthony-Kervin Lumber Co. in Rison, where she assisted her husband in all of the office work attendant upon running two sawmills and a planar mill. Her family variously lived in Mansfield, LA, Little Rock, Fordyce and Rison, with Rison being her longest and final residence. Following the death of her husband, she also lived with Larry and Anita Findley and their family in Vinton, LA, and finally with Gary and Ann Findley in Monroe, LA.
Wanda lived a “small” life, as understood by her devotion to St. Thérèse of Lisieux (“La Petite Fleur”). Quite naturally and unselfconsciously she lived a complete Catholic life that focused on others. Her small life thereby grew large in compassion, as can be attested to by everyone who knew her. Her life provides an exemplar: “God grant that I hear, rather than that I be heard.”
Wanda Findley is survived by three sons, Willis Winn Findley III, Dr. Larry L. Findley (husband of Ms. Anita M. Findley) and Dr. Gary L. Findley (husband of Dr. Ann M. Findley), eight grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren, three great-great-grandchildren, and a host of nieces and nephews. (Within Wanda’s cohort of Findleys, she is survived only by her friend and sister-in-law Mrs. Betty Findley, widow of Barry Findley.)
There will be a Rosary and visitation on Sunday, February 11, from 7 – 9 p.m. at Buie Funeral Home.
Interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Rison on Monday, February 12, at 10 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Wanda’s name to Mount St. Mary Academy in Little Rock.
Funeral arrangements are by Buie Funeral Home of Rison. Online guest register at www.buiefuneralhome.com