March 18, 1928 - October 29, 2021
Wanda Lee (Smith) Martin released her grasp on life and slipped away peacefully into the arms of the angels at Sheridan Memorial Hospital on October 29, 2021 at the age of 93. She was born in Greenwood County, Kansas on March 18, 1928 to Lee F. Smith and Belva (Berry) Smith. She moved to Sheridan with her parents as a young girl where she grew up with her two sisters, Lois and Ginger (Lacek) all of whom preceded her in death. She graduated from SHS in 1947 and married her beloved Keith B. Martin of Sheridan whose persistent joking and teasing she generally accepted with grace and a feigned annoyance. Keith died in 1999 by which time they had been married for 50 years. Together, they raised three children: Carol Martin-Elkins, Christine (Martin) Cram (Terry) and Steven Martin (Julie). Wanda is survived by her children and 8 grandchildren (Jason Elkins, Justin Elkins, Shawn Martin, Tracie Cram, Stephanie (Martin) Schmalzried, Angela (Martin) Tew, John Martin and Lee Martin. She is also survived by 17 great grandchildren.
Wanda is described by family members as loving, warm, mellow, quirky, resilient, joyful, tender, creative, artistic, supportive, kind, and a lover of animals. She was a passionate and talented artist especially in ceramics, painting, woodworking, sewing, and needle work. Sharing her love of art with her family was one of her greatest joys. Her grandchildren especially remember and cherish the hours they spent with “Grandma Wanda” in her craft room, mostly painting ceramics. The homes of her loved ones are adorned with beautiful examples of her artistic and creative efforts. She was a skilled seamstress and spent many hours sewing for her loved ones. Wanda created many impeccably constructed fabric dolls. These unique and colorful dolls included a wonderful assortment of clowns, some of which were sold to support the Khalif Shrine where Keith served as a “clown”. She also made some unique clown costumes for Keith which he wore during rodeo parades.
Wanda was an avid, life-long animal lover especially when it came to dogs and birds. She donated to animal support groups for many years. She always had a dog to love and pamper the last being her beloved Megan. She also kept bird feeders outside her windows spending many hours watching and identifying her feathered visitors. At one point, Keith taught Wanda to shoot and took her deer hunting. It did not go well! They quietly sat waiting for a deer to walk by and when one did, Wanda jumped up and shouted, “Run, deer, run”! Needless to say, Wanda’s hunting days were short-lived!
Several of Wanda’s grand/great grandchildren remember her home as their favorite place to visit. This was mostly due to her loving and gentle interactions with them, the wonderful food and aromas of her excellent cooking that filled the house, and her enthusiastic encouragement and patience as they worked in her craft room.
A private celebration of life will be held next summer. Please send any donations to the Sheridan Dog and Cat Shelter of Sheridan at dogandcatshelter.org. Champion Funeral Home has been entrusted with local arrangements. Online condolences may be written at www.champiofh.com.