December 26, 1926 – November 1, 2018
Winifred “Win” Wadzita of Phoenix, AZ, passed on to eternal life with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on November 1, 2018. She was 91 years of age.
Win was born in Dallas, Texas, the daughter of the late Charles and Winnie Lee Rankin. She was the third of four children. Her father was an insurance salesman and adjuster and they moved often. Win attended eleven public schools. Her father died when she was twelve. Two years later, Win's mother moved the family to the small town of Corsicana, Texas, where Win graduated from Corsicana High School. She then attended Texas State College for Women in Denton, Texas, working summers at Dr. Kelton' s medical practice in Corsicana. She transferred to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where she worked her way through college and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1951. She taught elementary school in Texas for several years and then was accepted for a one-year teaching position in a DoD Dependents School in Tokyo, Japan. Win met Captain Cyril “Cy” Wadzita, USMC, on a blind date for the Marine Corps Birthday. He proposed marriage on New Years' Eve, she accepted, and they married in her hometown the following summer after completing her overseas’ teaching contract. The newlyweds were then stationed in New Orleans, Louisiana where they had their first child, George. While Cy was attending training in El Paso, Texas enroute to their next duty station, Win gave birth to their second child, David, in Corsicana, where she was staying with family. Subsequent tours took them to 29 Palms, CA; Camp Pendleton, CA; Cherry Point, NC; and Quantico, VA. The family also lived in Corsicana for a year while Cy served an unaccompanied tour in Okinawa and Viet Nam. When Cy retired from active duty in 1968, he was offered a job and the family moved to Phoenix.
After her brief career as a teacher, Win became a full-time mother and homemaker. With her background in elementary education, she dedicated herself to raising their two young sons and maintaining a warm and happy home through the frequent military moves. After their sons reached school age, she began developing her life-long hobbies of gardening, floral arranging, and arts and crafts. Some of her artistic pursuits included oil painting, watercolors, furniture refinishing, sewing, needle point, decorative eggs, decoupage, doll houses, miniatures and interior decorating. She also enjoyed genealogical research, reading, and cataloging her growing variety of artwork and other creative projects. She meticulously filed family photos in albums, documenting family history through pictures and brief captions. Acquiring her childhood doll house from her sister, she restored it, documented its history, and won a miniature show ribbon for her diligent efforts. She became fascinated with miniatures, building, decorating, and electrifying several doll houses, and acquiring or building the furnishings. She meticulously researched and replicated Colonial Williamsburg Persian carpets, created single room shadow boxes and several historical period displays of the First Ladies of the Colonial and Federal eras. She designed, decorated, and furnished a miniature Southwest room, Japanese Tea House, her brother’s office, and other decorative displays representative of her travels. She also decorated well over 300 eggs as tiny dioramas with miniature figures or family photos as Easter and Christmas decorations and gifts. She preferred to create her arts and crafts by re-purposing common household objects, rather than from building kits. For example, a toothpaste cap became a tiny lampshade and a thread spool an end table in miniature. Her creative talents extended to the kitchen, where she lovingly prepared gourmet quality, economical and nourishing meals daily, including delectable desserts, and improved upon shared recipes through trial and error and experience. She adapted her mother's delicious honey wheat bread recipe to a bread machine process, experimenting to determine just the right proportions. In the mornings after her daily housework was done, she enjoyed quiet time working on crafts or reading Christian romance novels, and watching PBS shows, including “Antique Roadshow,” “This Old House,” “Check Please Arizona,” and “Downton Abbey.” She particularly enjoyed spending time with her five grandchildren. Win appreciated and remembered the kindnesses of her long-time friends and neighbors, too numerous to list here.
Win displayed a quiet faith, cheerful spirit, and strong will, through the challenges of aging. She pushed through every discouragement with positivity and prayer. She moved from the family’s tri-level home of 47 years to assisted living at Lifestream of Northeast Phoenix, at age 88. Win began to work on improving and beautifying her new home, decorating, getting to know the other residents and caregivers, speaking up at resident councils, holding movie nights, and sharing recipes. She continued to get out weekly for errands, shopping, and hair and nail appointments. She also made occasional phone calls and visits with longtime friends.
Win was predeceased by her parents, Charles and Winnie Lee Rankin; sister, Margaret; and brother, Charles; and her husband of over 60 years, Cyril Wadzita. She is survived by her sister, Julia Ann Wilcoxson, of Dalhart, Texas; her son, George Wadzita (Janeen) of Virginia Beach, VA and their family; her son, David Wadzita of Phoenix, AZ, and his family; including five grandchildren, Kerri (Daniel Clark), Brent (Amy), Timothy, Courtney, Taylor; three great-grandchildren, and numerous extended family members.
Win's family gratefully thank her health care professionals, the caregivers, staff, and fellow residents at Lifestream Senior Living of Northeast Phoenix, and the Hospice of the West team for their loving and caring support through the final days of her remarkable life. Private services to celebrate Win’s life will be held. Win’s cremains will be returned to Texas, the home of her youth and extended family. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (N.A.M.E.), P.O. Box 69, Carmel; IN 46082; First United Methodist Church, 320 N. 15th St., Corsicana, TX 75110; or St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance, 2831 N. 31st Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85009.