Wilma Jones Reece passed away peacefully on May 17, 2021 at Sunnyside Manor, Wall Township, New Jersey, with her family by her side. She was age 84 when she went home to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Wilma is survived by her daughter, Deborah J. Jones (R. Jay Ritchie), stepsons Glenn Reece Jr., Gary (Sandra) Reece, and Mark (Susan) Reece; and two grandchildren, Emily Rampe, Sheryl Huskey, and great grandchildren, Sophie and Nicholas. Her sister, Shirley (Steve) Hart, and her brothers, David (Sissy) Jones, and Chris (Sharon) Jones.
She was preceded in death by her first husband, Roosevelt V. Jones, Jr. (R.V.) in 1964, and her second husband, Glenn C. Reece in 2012; her son Michael D. Jones and her brother, Kenneth R. Jones.
Wilma was born on July 22, 1936, in Knoxville, Tennessee to Mary Sue (Travis) Jones and Melvin B. Jones, and was the oldest of five children. Her mother was a seamstress at a custom clothing company, John H Daniels, and her father was a Display Carpenter for Sears, Roebuck and Company. He built their family home and barn on eleven acres and raised Hereford cattle, chickens and tended corn fields. Wilma graduated from Central High School, Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1954.
She worked as an Assistant Librarian at University of Tennessee Agricultural Library, and married her sweetheart, R.V. Jones on October 21, 1954, who was stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. After military duty, she and R.V. moved to Melbourne, Florida where they began their family with the addition of a daughter, Deborah and a son, Michael. R.V. worked for RCA as an electrical engineer at Cape Kennedy Space Center. He repaired television sets in his spare time, and Wilma was a homemaker.
She sewed custom clothing for the neighborhood and color-tinted black and white professional family portraits for her neighbors. She designed and sewed her children’s special occasion outfits and special outfits for her daughter’s Barbie and Troll dolls. Her creativity was boundless. She was an exceptional wife and mother, and cared deeply for her family and neighbors. She was the first to help anyone in need, and regularly brought meals to the home of sick neighbors. Wilma always ensured that every child who crossed her threshold was safe, healthy and happy. Many considered her their surrogate mother.
Ten years later, widowed at the young age of 28 with two young children, Wilma’s roles became both mother and father. She supported and encouraged their educational endeavors, sports activities and her son’s love of rockets, remote control planes and baseball. She went back to school and worked as a draftsman for an architect out of her garage. She was a strong woman, a fierce defender of her children and family.
In 1971, while working at Manivest Corporation in Indialantic, she met and married Glenn C. Reece, retired Air Force. She returned to school to study business, earning her Associate of Science degree in 1972. Through continuing education certifications at Bert Rodgers School of Real Estate in 1980, University of Central Florida in 1982, and Brevard Community College in 1987, she sought to hone and grow her skill sets. In 1983, Manivest Corporation was sold and the owner retired. She joined Herrera, Williams & Powell, Inc., Architects-Engineers-Surveyors-Planners in Melbourne as Office Manager, Bookkeeper and Secretary for the Principals of the firm. In 1995, the Principals retired and the firm was sold to an architect firm where Wilma continued to work as Office Manager, Accounting until 1999. She then joined All Florida Realty Services to oversee their property management and rehab of properties. She enjoyed meeting new clients and fulfilling their property requirements to their complete satisfaction. In 2001, she decided to break out on her own and formed Square One Realty, Inc. as Broker/Owner.
A farm girl at heart, she loved gardening and caring for her “furry children,” as she called her four horses and cats. She loved horseback riding with her family and was active with the “Trail Riders” of Melbourne, winning a Second Place ribbon at her first horse show. When her daughter and son-in-law picked up golf, she took pro golf lessons and bought her own set of clubs so that she could play with the family. Wilma loved all antiques and was always on the lookout for a piece of history that spoke to her, be it furniture, a painting or first edition books.
Her artistic interests included writing, drawing, painting, music and observing the world around her with her digital camera. In the early 2000’s she studied at Brevard Community College where she earned recognition and awards for her paintings, “The Red Amaryllis,” and “The Bride,” and a book making project, “From the Heart, The Mouth Speaks,” using handmade papers and elements from nature. All were reflections of her previous battles and survival of ovarian and breast cancer and heart surgery.
Wilma was also a gifted pianist, having played since the age of 7. She loved all forms of music from country, blue grass, to jazz and classical, and she filled her home with music. She was very active with her church, First Baptist Church of Melbourne, and played piano for church services.
She adored reading her Bible and studying the Gospels, and marveled at God’s handiwork throughout nature. She volunteered to teach Kindergarten Sunday school, which she loved immensely. She shared her creativity and imagination with youngsters eager to learn and to create. She would help to create puppets and puppet shows for the congregation, teaching the word of God.
Wilma was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend and artist. She was a joyous, generous woman, blessed with humility and compassion. She searched for the good in all people. Her joy for life and indomitable spirit kept her pushing through the challenges life presented her. Through her, we know what resilience and perseverance truly look like. There was no quit in Wilma.
She passionately loved the Lord, her blended family, and her friends. She will be deeply missed by all who were blessed to know her and love her.
Remember me when flowers bloom early in the spring.
Remember me on sunny days in the fun that summer brings.
Remember me in the fall as you walk through leaves of gold,
and remember me in the wintertime in the stories that are told.
But most of all remember each day right from the start,
I will be forever near you for I am within your heart.
Wilma will be laid to rest at Florida Memorial Gardens’ Veterans Garden of Honor, in Rockledge, Florida. The date of the memorial service is to be determined. The family invites you to leave a letter of condolence through the Tribute/Guestbook link above.
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