Wanda Ilene (Johnson) Van Riper passed away peacefully on December 5, 2016, in Middleton, Idaho, at the Cottage Care Center. She was born in Ronan, Montana, on January 24, 1930, the fifth daughter of Harry and Viola May Johnson.
Her family moved to Parkdale, Oregon, when Wanda was about 5 years old, where she was a cheerleader and 1948 graduate of Parkdale High School. There she met Wayne Lloyd Van Riper through her friend Louella Van Riper (Wayne’s sister) and they eventually married on August 29, 1948. Wayne bought a pear and apple orchard two miles north of town in 1947 where they lived, worked and raised their family for 30 years. Besides being a star homemaker and mother, Wanda worked as a seasonal fruit packer for Duckwall-Pooley Fruit and Stadelman Fruit packing houses.
In 1978, they sold the orchard and moved to Hermiston, Oregon, to help their son in the building business. Wanda opened up a daycare out of their home, worked as a teacher’s assistant at Bethel Baptist Day Care, and was a dealer for White’s Metal Detectors for over 20 years.
Beloved by her family and the many children whose lives she touched, she will be remembered as a wonderful baker, seamstress, gardener, flower arranger, mother, Grammie, great-grandma, and devoted caregiver to both people and cats. Many were the times she burned the midnight oil laboring over special sewing projects for her granddaughters! She was the “Homemaker of the Year” of Umatilla County in 1983 and 1985 and “Baker of the Year” in 1983.
In recent years her health declined and Wayne and Wanda moved to McCall, Idaho, where she was placed into a care center.
She is survived by her husband, Wayne Van Riper; daughter Teresa Rae Lash (David); son Kevin Wayne Van Riper (Melissa); five granddaughters: Jennifer Lash, Karmen (Daniel) Pyron, Kristen (Andrew) Sayers, Korynne (Jorge) Felui and Kaylee Jo (Mitchell) Robinson; eight great-grandchildren; and her younger sister Gloria Melcher.
Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. on December 10, 2016, through the Heikkila Funeral Chapel, 155 S. Samson Trail, McCall, ID 83638. (208) 634-2220.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to a local no-kill animal shelter.