Wanda Lee Ponder Wehner, 83, passed away unexpectedly on March 1, 2013, at Allen Memorial Hospital in Waterloo. A visitation will be held between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday, March 4, 2013, at Richardson Funeral Home in Cedar Falls. A celebration of Wanda's life will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at First United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls. A luncheon will be served at the church after the service. Interment will be private.
Wanda was born on October 25, 1929, in Jasper County, Iowa, the third child of William Joseph Ponder and Bernice Ponder (nee Meredith). She obtained a B. A. degree at Iowa State Teachers College in 1952. While there, she met her future husband, Carl O. Wehner. They married on June 16, 1952. Wanda taught high school science at Mediapolis before returning to Cedar Falls to earn her master's degree in chemistry from Iowa State Teachers College in 1966. In 1968, Wanda began teaching in the Chemistry Department at the State College of Iowa. During her twenty-four year tenure at State College of Iowa (later to become UNI), Wanda was recognized by her colleagues and students as an outstanding and much admired teacher of chemistry and physical science, and later applied organic chemistry and biochemistry. In addition to her work in the classroom, Wanda was a member of the Iowa section of the American Chemical Society and involved in the Iowa Academy of Science, for many years one of very few women in that organization. Wanda retired from the University of Northern Iowa in 1992. After retirement, she was active in the UNI Emeritus Association. She was a lifetime member of the UNI Alumni Association and belonged to the Friends of the UNI Museum.
Wanda was active in many Cedar Valley organizations, volunteering at the UNI Museum, at the Little Red School House, for Meals on Wheels, and for the CROP Walk. Wanda was a member of First United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls for over fifty years. She was very active with United Methodist Women and involved with many mission projects, including preparing health, layette, and school kits. She was one of the statewide leaders for the Thanksgiving In-Gathering (the major mission project of the United Methodist Church) and was especially involved in quilting for the quilt auction. Wanda found fellowship at the Cedar Falls Mennonite Church along with her husband Carl. She also worked with children there on quilting projects for the Iowa Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale.
Wands was a passionate and award winning quilter. She began a Tuesday quilting group, First Quilters, at the First United Methodist church. The members of that group looked to her as "the leader of their sisterhood".
Wanda was preceded in death by her husband, Carl, who died on February 19, 2013; her parents; and her oldest sister, Lois Lisk. She is survived by her brothers: Glen (Marian) Ponder, William (Barbara) Ponder, and Leo (Terri) Ponder; her sisters: Ruth (John) Schuck and Bonnie Ellis; daughters: Sherilyn (Thomas) Dekarske, Susan Wehner (Guenter Munderloh), and Linda (John) Van Vlack of Rapid City, South Dakota; grandchildren: Joshua (Emma) VanVlack, Lillian (Tyler) Bruckner, Moritz Munderloh, and Eleanor Munderloh; great-grandchildren: Riley, Ethan, and Haleigh Bruckner; and many nieces and nephews. Wanda is further survived by numerous friends and colleagues.
In lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to the First United Methodist Church Hunger Fund, the Mennonite Relief Fund, or the Carl and Wanda Wehner Scholarship Endowment at the UNI Foundation.
Copyright Waterloo Courier on-line edition; downloaded March 4, 2013.