Willie (“Wilma”) Treadway, 99, peacefully passed from this life to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Tuesday morning, December 23, 2008, at Prospect Park Living Center in Estes Park, Colorado (her home for the past eight years), with her devoted daughter, Mary, at her bedside.
A celebration of her life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 17, 2009, at Ridgeway Funeral Home in Paris, Tennessee, with her nephew, Reverend Melvyn Doughty, officiating. Entombment will be in Rose Lawn Mausoleum in Paris Tennessee. Following the service, the family and friends will gather at the home of her niece for dinner, providing an opportunity for sharing precious memories.
She was born Willie Vashti Doughty on April 13, 1909, in Paris, Tennessee, the fifth of seven children, to Robert Benjamin and Sallie (Ballard) Doughty. Her parents were hard-working farmers and devout Christians, instilling a strong work ethic and faith in God in all of their children. Willie’s early years were difficult, growing up in very humble circumstances. Her father passed away when she was only nine years old, leaving her Mother with seven children to raise and work the farm. As a result, her education ended with the eighth grade.
She moved to Michigan in the 1930s and was introduced to her future husband, Horace Treadway, by her brother, Bob, who worked with Horace. Not long after their meeting, Willie and Horace Treadway were married on December 31, 1938. There were three daughters from this union, Laura, Mary and Sally. She and Horace were amicably divorced in September of 1963, after 25 years of marriage. (It was while working at her first job in Michigan as a “salad girl” at the Hotel Olds in Lansing, that her co-workers decided to call her “Wilma,” a name she was known by from that time forward.)
She was a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend. She was a wonderful southern cook (we’ll never forget her rhubarb cobbler and mouth-watering home-made biscuits). She was an excellent seamstress and made everything from pajamas to snowsuits, often designing her own patterns.
Her love and gift for music gave her joy, especially playing hymns on the piano (by “ear”) and singing. She also played the guitar and harmonica. She never had music lessons and could not read music, but made sure that her three daughters were provided that opportunity.
Her faith in God was strong and she was always very active in Baptist churches over the years. She made sure that her daughters attended Sunday school, church and Bible School and were firmly grounded in the Christian faith. Her Bible was her constant “companion” and source of strength. She read it faithfully until her eyesight was limited by macular degeneration, however, she frequently quoted much of the scripture that she had memorized. An extraordinarily strong prayer warrior, she lived her faith and was a wonderful role model. We admired how she always met life’s challenges with a positive attitude, strength and resolve — never complaining, regardless of the difficulty or circumstance.
She was preceded in death by her parents; two brothers, Robert and Samuel Doughty; three sisters, Mattie Hunt Hayes, Rachel Davis and Joanna Highfill; two half-brothers, Benny and Ralph Doughty; her former husband, Horace Treadway; and a grandson, Michael Jay Williams.
She is survived by her sister, Mildred Jones and her husband, Joe, of Paris, Tennessee; three daughters, Laura Treadway of Detroit, Michigan, Mary Lane and her husband, Jon, of Raymond, Colorado, and Sally Zytkowski of Livonia, Michigan; three grandchildren, Solon “Jeff” Lane, Jonny Lane and Nancy Williams; five great-grandchildren, Jacob Williams, Samantha Lane, Jackson Lane, Riley Lane and Madison (“Madi”) Lane; nieces, Willie B. Clary, Lucinda Dotson, Norene Surratt, Robbie McGinty, Betty Jean Manning, Dorothy Melton and Barbara Jo Davis; and nephews Robert Highfill and Melvyn Doughty.
From her family, “We will miss her greatly and affectionately remember her-how much she loved us-always and unconditionally; her keen sense of humor (which she never lost even though advanced dementia robbed her of her of most of her memory in later years) and how she made us laugh; how strong she was in so many ways; how good-hearted and generous she was to her family and friends-always willing to help out those in need. We will remember her incredible work ethic, how much she sacrificed and worked tirelessly to supplement the family income and care for her family-always doing so with a willing and cheerful heart. She worked for many years as a nursing assistant in a hospital and nursing home, and continued as a devoted and loving caregiver in private homes even after she ‘retired.’”
To honor her wishes, in lieu of flowers, friends and family may make a memorial contribution in her name (“Wilma Treadway“) to the Estes Park Medical Center Foundation, P.O. Box 3650, Estes Park, CO 80517. The contributions will be designated for use by Prospect Park Living Center, which was her “home” for the past eight years.