Wilma Ilene Newlin (Gibson)
January 1, 1927 to October 7, 2019
Wilma is survived by her husband, Jim Newlin; their two children, Marleen and Ron; six grandchildren, Joan, Amanda, Brandon, Kara, John and Jeff; nine great-grandchildren, Kayla, Trent, Josh, Emma, McKenzie, Jackson, Lily, Mia and Charlotte; and her nephew, Kurt Gibson and his wife Angie. Their daughter Marleen married John Czernik in 1973 and they live in Media, Pennsylvania. Their son Ron Newlin married Joan Weekes in 1983 and they currently reside in Gilbert, Arizona.
Wilma was born in Admire, Kansas on the first day of January, 1927. Wilma had one brother, Louis Neil Gibson, now deceased. Wilma’s maternal grandfather was a direct descendant of President James Buchanan.
Wilma attended country schools through the elementary grades and later high school. Wilma attended Kansas University and then Wichita University, when her father moved the family to Wichita so he could work at Boeing during World War II. She worked for Cessna and earned her private pilot’s license. She also worked for Traveler’s Insurance Agency in Wichita.
Jim attended Kansas State University for one year but was soon drafted into the Navy and he spent the next three years on ships serving in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. He was on the Destroyer, USS Maury DD401, during the battle of Linguayan Gulf. (During World War II, the Lingayen Gulf proved a strategically important theatre of war between American and Japanese Forces).
After his Navy life, Jim spent one year working in the oil fields and then went back to Kansas for a year. He got tired of being constantly broke and he took a job at Boeing as a tool engineer. While there he met Wilma at a party of a mutual friend and they soon began dating. They were married on June 24, 1951 at the First Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kansas. Jim continued taking engineering courses at night until he completed his education. Wilma was also employed at Boeing in the spares department.
Their first home was purchased in Wichita with the help of their parents, for a mere $9,500. It had two bedrooms and a full basement. This was their home until 1962 when Jim was transferred to the helicopter division in the Philadelphia area. They bought a house in Media, Pennsylvania, in the Riddlewood neighborhood, which was the original stable grounds of the famous Riddle horses, Man O’ War, Soldier Song and other prominent race horses. Wilma worked as an insurance underwriter for Walter Helms Agency in Media, PA. They were involved with a large group of Kansas transplants, and there they enjoyed weekly bridge games, cookouts and working in the community.
In 1972, Jim was offered a job as a tech rep in Italy to set up a Rotoblade manufacturing plant to build Chinook Helicopters. They sold their house in Pennsylvania and rented an apartment in Gallarate, Italy for three years. Their daughter was in her last year of nursing school in Philadelphia. Their son accompanied them to Italy where he graduated from high school in Milan, Italy. He then went on to the John Cabot International University in Rome for his first year of college.
They returned to the United States, back to Pennsylvania, where Wilma started back to work with Boeing and remained here until their retirement in 1985.
Wilma was an active member in Eastern Star and eventually became Worthy Matron of her Brandywine Chapter 536. Jim was the Worthy Patron for this Chapter. He was also a 32nd Mason and became a Shriner in Delaware. As a result of their involvement with the Shriners, they have many fond event and party memories. Wilma also enjoyed reading, needle point, and spending time with her family. She enjoyed being involved with her children’s activities as the den mother to Ron’s Cub Scout troop and the leader of Marleen’s Campfire girls.
Jim and Wilma retired to Bella Vista, Arkansas in 1985. In Bella Vista, they joined a group to start a Presbyterian church. A charter was granted to the Presbyterian Church and this has been their church home ever since! Jim and Wilma’s time in Bella Vista was filled with wonderful memories of great friends and good times.
Wilma and Jim traveled extensively in their motor home. Alaska and Nova Scotia were favorites – they loved fishing on the Kenai River in Alaska. One time fishing they caught two salmon in one hour – one weighing 48 lbs. and one 51 lbs. Wilma caught the prize salmon that trip! In addition to cruises, touring in their motor home, they loved traveling to Fiji, New Zealand and Australia.
One memorable experience was at a special birthday dinner for Wilma at the Monte Carlo Pizza Parlor where a bunch of young Australians sang in the New Year to her for her birthday! (January 1st) It was a great way to start a new year!
Sports and recreation have always been a big part of their lives -golf, fishing, hunting and all kinds of cards where an important part of their lives together. Bridge, canasta, euchre and especially hand and foot are family staples when getting together.
In 2012, due to health reasons, they moved to Concordia Retirement Home for Assisted Living and lived there until 2016. Wilma had more serious health concerns and they moved to Arizona where they had many good winter vacations in their RV and could be close to family.
They had an impressive 68 years of marriage filled with travel, service and family. Wilma will be greatly missed by all of her family and friends. Her infamous M&M cookies and grits breakfast casserole will live on for eternity. She had a life well lived!