VAN BUREN -- Wilma Bedell Ball, daughter of Ura Vincent and Beulah (Short) Buffington, was born Jan. 5, 1917, in Great Falls, Mont., and departed this life March 2, 2012, in the Riverways Manor Nursing Home in Van Buren. She had attained the age of 95 years, 1 month and 28 days.
Wilma had resided in Van Buren since moving here from Poplar Bluff in 1999. She spent her childhood in the Big Barren Community south of Fremont where she finished high school at age 14 and went to Southwest Missouri State Teachers College for two years, receiving her teachers certificate and was teaching in a one-room school house at age 16. The Great Depression sent her to southwest Louisiana where she reared her four boys. While living in Eunice, La., she worked as secretary-manager of the Tri-Parish Fair and subsequently the Southwest Louisiana Fair Association and also ran an insurance agency. She returned to Carter County to care for her ailing father. She worked at Clarks Mountain Nursing Home in Piedmont, Missouri prior to serving as Administrator of the Riverways Manor Nursing Home for 25 years where she was often older than many of her patients. In April of last year she was honored in her hometown of Van Buren with an awards ceremony celebrating the fact that she was the oldest active nursing home administrator in the United States. She was a member of the United Methodist Church in Van Buren. Wilma loved working and took great pride in her work and family.
In 1957, she was united in marriage to J. Kelly Ball in Eunice, La. He preceded her in death on Jan. 6, 1995.
Survivors include: four sons, Allen Bedell and his wife, Lou, of Hot Springs, Ark., Don Bedell and wife, Pam, of Sikeston, Richard Bedell and Tom Bedell and wife, Della, all of Van Buren; 10 grandchildren, Donna Twyford, David Bedell, Brad Bedell, Bryan Bedell, Tracy Bedell, Wendy Kreps, Tiffany Bedell, Andrew Bedell, Matthew Bedell and Jeremy Bedell; numerous great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; two brothers, Lawrence Buffington of Camden, Ark. and Jimmy Buffington of Cabot, Ark.; one sister, Freda Wangelin of Poplar Bluff and many other relatives and friends who mourn her passing.
In addition to her parents she was also preceded in death by two brothers, Howard and Forrest Buffington; and one sister, Marie Starks.
Services were conducted at 10 a.m. today at the River Center in Van Buren with the Rev. Alica Fowler officiating. Music was provided by Dianne Gossett and Dwaine Marshall.
Burial followed in the Big Barren Cemetery.
Pallbearers were her grandsons, David, Brad, Bryan, Andrew, Matthew and Jeremy Bedell.
McSpadden Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.mcspaddenfh.com.
Memorial contributions may made to
Lending A Hand
P.O. Box 734
Van Buren, MO 63965
United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 1120
Van Buren, MO 63965