Wanda Van Meter

Dec. 15, 1929 - June 25, 2023

Leaf - Earth Leaf - Earth Leaf - Earth Leaf - Earth

After a long and blessed life here on Earth, our beloved "Oma" has ascended to the next one. Wanda Ruth Van Meter peacefully passed away on Sunday afternoon June 25th, 2023 at the age of 93. She departed at her residence on Bainbridge Island, WA overlooking the sparkling waters of the Puget Sound. Due to advancing age and the desire to be near family, Wanda relocated from Chico, California to Western Washington in 2021. Born in Harriman, Tennessee to Ervin and Annie May Jones, Wanda was the youngest of eight children. Her parents and seven siblings, Mable, Julia, Lida, Baxter, Hutsell, Oliver and Walter, as well as several nieces and nephews, predeceased her. In 1949, she married Robert Tanner and the couple subsequently moved from Tennessee to Ohio. Some time after the birth of their daughter Kathy, the couple parted ways, and Wanda and her little girl embarked on a journey to Chico, California to be closer to Wanda's brother, Walt Jones. Chico would become her permanent home for well over 50 years. In 1968, Wanda met Harvey Van Meter, they married and together they built a creekside home in Butte Creek Canyon. Since 1974, they enjoyed their canyon abode, and after Harvey's passing in 1988, Wanda continued to call it home. As the District Secretary for Children's Home Society of California for 35 years, Wanda was a dedicated and highly valued employee who enjoyed a well-deserved retirement in 1995. She relished her retirement years until 2018, when the devastating Camp Fire consumed her home and all of her belongings. She escaped the fire wearing her dark green "CHS" (Children's Home Society) sweat shirt that she was so fond of. The same home had previously been destroyed in 1986 by a flood from Butte Creek's rushing waters in a wet year. A failed condominium project abandoned a levee which was breached, contributing to the surge of flood waters. Her home was the first and worst hit when the powerful wall of water came. Her sofa was seen floating down the drive and Honey Run Road. After the levee broke, with already saturated ground from the February rains, the home was mostly a total loss. Her 97 year old mother was also living in the house at time of the flood. Wanda's mother was rescued with a rope pulley system out of several feet of swirling water inside the house by Harvey and two heroic young men in a small boat. While rebuilding, Harvey and Wanda lived in her brother's 5th Wheel camper for several months on the property. Wanda was a trouper, much like her own mother! Wanda was brave in the face of adversity, and she always tried to interject humor whenever possible. She smiled often and genuinely, and loved to laugh. She seemed to always try to make the best of the situation, no matter what. Wanda cherished her friends in Chico deeply, as well as her companionship with her bowling partners. She bowled on a league into her 80's. She also found thrill in riding in the custom sidecar of her husband's BMW motorcycle, and one trip to Colorado in particular was especially memorable. Music and dancing brought great joy to Wanda's life, and she always sought out fun-filled moments. She hosted many lively events for friends and family at her canyon home including Hawaiian Luau. She loved "Hawaiian Wedding Song." Similarly, whenever the timeless classic "The Tennessee Waltz" would play, know that Wanda couldn't resist singing along! She also loved the Blues and was a fan from early adulthood. She took pride in her homemade biscuits and gravy as well as chicken and dumplings, and her favorite pie was peach. Her collection of roosters and hens in her kitchen windowsill, all of which were lost in the fire, always gave her a big, wide grin. She is survived by her daughter, Kathy (Charlie) and grandchildren, Sara and Kevin. Wanda's nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews number well over one hundred; she held each and every one of them near and dear to her heart and took immense pride in their accomplishments. We will sorely miss our mother and grandmother. Her positive impact on our lives is simply immeasurable. Her boundless kindness, generosity, infectious laughter, and effervescent personality will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. Oma, may angels carry you ~


Leave the earth with beauty

Earth specializes in soil transformation, an environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Over a 45-day process, we gently transform a body into nutrient-rich soil. We then send this soil to our local conservation land where it’s used for restoration projects such as reforestation and nourishing challenged ecosystems.

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