Wilma Louise Smith ‘Mayes’ Eason Ledford, 94, went to her heavenly home January 20, 2019, while at UTSW Clements Hospital Dallas, Texas. She had lived in Bogata most of her life, when her health began to decline, she was blessed to be able to move in with her daughter, “Susi” Pauletta and son-in-law Terry Young in Sunnyvale, TX. She was a member of First Baptist Church in Whitharral, Texas, and later transferred her membership to The Church of Christ in Bogata.
Her funeral service will be Saturday, January 26, 2019 at Wood Funeral Home Chapel, 414 North Main, Bogata, TX at 2:00 PM, the family will begin receiving friends at 1:00PM before the service. Burial will follow at the Smith cemetery in Rosalie just a short distance from the funeral home. The family will host a time of fellowship following the service at, The Mustard Seed Café, 380 Mount Vernon Road, Bogata, Texas.
Wilma was born September 14, 1924 in Mauldin Red River County Texas to Lee Allison Smith and Maudie Northcutt Smith. Wilma was married three times. Married Paul William Mayes May 9, 1939 and they had four children. Paul died in June 1983. Her second marriage was to J. T. Eason, August 16, 1987. After J.T.’s death in 2002, she met “Al” Albert Gene Ledford in 2003, they were married October 9, 2004. She loved each husband and made a wonderful home that incorporated all the extended family and children into her life.
Wilma was a great cook, homemaker, and host. If you dropped in to visit you were always offered food and drink. She loved with all her heart. Family gatherings were always filled with fun, relaxation and food including lots of pies, cakes and cobblers.
During the early years she moved to West Texas and California with Paul to find work. She picked cotton in West Texas and took in ironing. Paul worked as Janitor at schools there and she worked right along with him helping clean the schools also working at the school lunchroom. They moved from West Texas, Whitharral, to Dennison, Ft. Worth then Irving. While in Irving, her children married and moved out. Soon they moved back to Bogata.
In the mid 70’s she decided to go back to school to become a nurse. She was so proud of that accomplishment. She decided to go to work at the nursing home as she loved children and the elderly. She didn’t think she could stand to see a child fatally ill but could make the last years better for the elderly. She was a nurse at Deport Nursing home first then went to work at Red River Haven in Bogata. She never hesitated to meet her patient’s needs. Wilma developed enduring relationships with her co-workers. She retired at 78 after 32 years to spend more time with her new husband, Al. She said she loved every day she worked. Quite often she worked double shifts and still maintained her home and other responsibilities.
Wilma and J.T. bought their home on 271 and enjoyed living in the country. They always had a garden and hosted many family events and holidays. They were very active in the Church of Christ and had Bible Studies in their home. They maintained the church, assisted with the food pantry and kept records for the Church. They loved their church family.
After retirement she and Al traveled some to visit relatives. They went fishing, bought a pontoon boat and a little lake cabin at Lake Cypress. Wilma decorated that little cabin and made it a home away from home. They spent many weekends there enjoying fellowship with grandchildren and friends, who marveled at her energy and enjoyment of the simplest things.
As her health and Al’s declined in 2015 and 2016 they moved in with her daughter and son-in-law in Sunnyvale, TX. Al died August 13, 2018. Even though her health declined she retained a sharp mind, quick sense of humor and always had a beautiful smile.
Wilma is survived by her daughter “Susi” Pauletta Young (Terry) Sunnyvale, TX; Stepdaughters Cheryl Eason Peeler (Bryan) Bonham, TX; Karen K. Sheppard (Harold) Clarksville, TX.; Stepdaughter Lisa Ledford Merka (Tony) Mustang, OK.; Daughter-in-law, Sandy (Mayes) Tiffee ,Whitewright, TX; her many grandchildren, Mike Mayes, Keller TX; Shere Avrett (Tim) Whitewright, TX; Johnny Smith (Janet) Mesquite, TX; Shelia Mayes Phillips (David), Highland Village, TX; Billy Mayes (Michelle) Haslet, TX; Brian “B.J.” Mayes (Mickie), Highland Village, TX; Jennifer Ledford (Andrew) Rockport, TX; Justin Ledford, Rockport, TX. ; Matt Sheppard Plano, TX; Becky Sheppard Plano ,TX; Ben Sheppard (Liz) Plano, TX; Seventeen Great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, friends, in Bogata, East Texas, Sulphur Springs, New Boston and Sunnyvale. She will also be missed by her loving caregivers, Maria Garcia and Frances Alvarez and friends who also helped with her care, Jo Bex and Gabi Hennesey.
Wilma is preceded in death by, her parents Maudie and Allison Smith; her husbands, Paul Mayes, J.T. Eason, Al Ledford; Her sons Roy Mayes, Julius “Doug” Mayes and Ralph Mayes; her sisters; Doris Athalene Herman, Bonita Kennedy Rother, Mary “Kathy” Stafford; and grandsons Craig Mayes and Preston Berryhill.
Wilma lived a life with the belief that you “make the most of every day. Be thankful for what we have. Always treat others as you would want to be treated. Let the people you love know you love them and live a Christian life.” No one could have done it better.
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