On January 29, 1930, the world was made a better place by the birth of a tiny, three- pound baby girl to the proud parents, Virgil and Ada Ethel Rose Schutt. They named their baby Wanda Leona. She was welcomed into this world by her big brother, Wayne, and her big sister, Alma. Wanda was so small that they had to carry her on a pillow. Wanda was raised on the family farm in Hickstown, Illinois. She attended school at Richland. Her favorite teacher was Alberta Joiner. She remembered Alberta giving her a ride to school in her pickup truck so that she didn’t have the long walk from her home to the schoolhouse.
On December 28, 1936, tragedy came to the Schutt home due to Wanda’s mother, Ethel, suddenly passing away. Wanda’s childhood at age six soon changed forever. She had to take on many of the household chores that her mother had previously done. She remembered standing on a crate to cook and wash dishes. From this time forward she devoted her life to making a home for her family.
A few years later she moved to Golconda to live with her sister, Alma Williams Elliston. Alma had three children, Barbara, Herschel (Buddy), and Brenda, that Wanda became a second mother to. Wanda attended Golconda Grade School until she graduated from the eighth grade.
She moved back to Hickstown after she graduated. Her father, Virgil, had since married Lillian Ozment. A few years later while attending a church social, Wanda “caught the eye” of someone she had known all of her life. This young man had been overseas fighting during World War II in Europe. Edward Warren Robinson had returned home and found the love of his life. On October 30, 1946, they were married at Morganfield, Kentucky. They made their home in Hickstown where Ed worked in lumber and farming and Wanda kept their home.
The following year their only child, Ronald Wayne, was born. Ronnie was always his mom’s pride and joy! He remembers his mom making sure his clothes were pressed and his shoes polished each day for school. Ronnie was raised as an only child but had many cousins to play with in the Hickstown area. His Grandpa Robinson’s farm was a fun place for them all to gather.
Wanda took her job as homemaker seriously. She was an excellent cook and kept an immaculate home. Each summer her nephew and nieces, Barbara, Buddy, and Brenda, would come to stay with their Aunt Wanda and Uncle Ed. The three of them looked forward to their time with their Aunt Wanda each summer.
Wanda made the most important decision of her life by accepting Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and following Him in believer’s baptism in the 1950s. She was baptized in Big Creek and joined the church at Richland. After she was baptized she came up from the water with a shout of praise to her new found Lord and Savior. She attended Sunday School and church at Richland for many years. In later years she enjoyed attending the First Baptist Church of Cave In Rock with Ronnie and Kathy.
After Ronnie graduated from Cave In Rock High School in 1964, he joined the United States Air Force. Two years later he married Kathy Zinn on September 10, 1966. Wanda welcomed Kathy into their family and treated her as a daughter. On October 23, 1967, Wanda’s life again was changed forever with the birth of her first grandson, Paul Edward. She became known from this time on as Mam-ma Wanda. She was one proud grandmother! She welcomed three more grandsons Jeffrey Scott on May 26, 1970; Robert Wayne on April 25, 1977; and Christopher Mark on May 18, 1980. She made sure that she had the boys birthdays, Easters, and Christmases taken care of with gifts, cards, and food. Many weekends she and Pap-pa Ed would welcome their grandsons to stay overnight at their home. Each Sunday she cooked a large dinner for her family to enjoy.
In 1972, Ed bought the Elizabethtown Service Station, and they moved from their home in Hickstown to Elizabethtown. Wanda and Ed also enjoyed being outside together and working in their large garden they planted each summer. Ronnie and his family were always invited to help shell horticulture beans to put in the freezer. Many bowls of fresh vegetables were enjoyed on Sundays because of their hard work in their garden.
When Ronnie left home, she like many other mothers, suffered from an “empty nest.” She decided to take her first job outside of the home. She chose a profession that she excelled at ñ cleaning homes. She took care of several homes in the county. She even branched out and cleaned two homes in Harrisburg with her long time friend and niece Gertie Quertermous.
Another change came in 1984, when she welcomed the first of her nine great grandchildren. They were Bart, Lacey, Peyton, Kathleen, Ava, Reed, Max, Rustin, and Leo. She was never happier than when her boys would come to see her and bring their babies with them. Her refrigerator always had fresh bologna and her cookie jar always had Oreos.
On June 17, 1999, Wanda lost her husband of over 52 years. Ed was her soul mate, and when he died part of Wanda died, too. Her family tried to help her fill the void that was left, but she was never quite the same. In February 2006, she suffered a stroke that left her partially paralyzed. This took away the thing that Wanda had prided herself most – keeping her home. Ronnie and Kathy welcomed her into their home where she stayed until 2011. Ronnie retired during this time so that he could be there for her if she needed him. During that period of time she had small strokes that debilitated her more and more.
In 2011, she moved to the Rosiclare Rehabilitation Center where the nurses affectionately called her Mam-ma. Wanda resided here until she was admitted into the hospital on December 28, 2016. She was ready to go “Home” as she told us so many times. We knew she meant her Heavenly Home. Her health slowly declined, and on January 29, 2016 (her 86th birthday), she took her Savior’s hand and was led into Heaven to meet those waiting for her there. Those of us left behind would love to see her face as she meets her mother once again that she has not seen since she was six years old, her husband, Ed, and her other relatives that she missed so much. What a happy reunion! We may weep and bend low under our sorrow, but God will someday wipe all tears from our eyes and unite us all together again.
“Let not your heart be troubled:ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s House are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Card of Thanks
The family of Wanda Robinson would like to thank each person that showed our family compassion and support during the illness and passing of our loved one. The Rosiclare Rehabilitation Center gave Mam-ma love and care while she stayed with them. She loved you all. When she was transferred to the Rosiclare Hospital, the doctors and nurses continued giving her the best comfort and care. The kindness, compassion, and wisdom that you all showed her during her final days could not be found elsewhere. Thank you to Rose-Gilbert Funeral Home staff and Brother Arthur Austin, Jr. for taking care of the funeral service. To the First Baptist Church, First Christian Church, Cave In Rock Masonic Lodge, and anyone who helped at the incredible dinner our heartfelt gratitude goes out to each of you. Finally, thank you to all of our friends and family who made this time easier by saying prayers; sending cards, flowers, gifts, or food; or attending her memorial service with us.
Ronnie & Kathy Robinson and family