KEARNEY — Wanda Lee Gangwish, 94, of Kearney, formerly of Shelton, died Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, at Brookdale Kearney Northridge.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Kearney with the Rev. Sean Dougherty officiating. Burial will be at Riverside Cemetery in Gibbon.

Visitation will be 5-7 p.m. Thursday at O’Brien Straatmann Redinger Funeral and Cremation Services in Kearney.


Wanda was born on Dec. 20, 1924, in Augusta, Kan., to Leo and Zerelda (Pryor) Dysart. She grew up as an only child to working parents in community of family and friends.

She was active in school and church activities. Learning to play the piano at a young age started her love of music, which she shared and played at church.

She graduated from Augusta High School and continued her education at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan., graduating with a major in English and biology. Wanda especially enjoyed her college days, making many dear friendships that lasted a lifetime.

She became recognized for her wonderful letter-writing skills. Her roommate became her sister-in-law as a result of introducing Wanda to her brother, Leland.

Wanda was united in marriage to Leland C. Gangwish on June 4, 1946, at the First Baptist Church of Augusta. She never dreamed she would marry a farmer; however, it brought her great joy to live a rural life, and they were blessed to have celebrated 70 years of marriage.

She always said the farm was a great place to raise children. They invited everyone to share their life and work there. Many cousins and young people remember summer jobs working for Leland and Wanda. She enjoyed Leland’s large family, becoming the keeper of its history with many pictures and documenting stories.

Wanda had a generous spirit and a loving heart. When she got married, Leland’s mom helped her learn to cook. She developed great skill and was known for collecting cookbooks and saving recipes with daily experimenting on her family. She was always glad to see you and she welcomed everyone to her table with a smile. All were equal and each was special.

Wanda was interested in people whether asking about their life, friends and extended family. She wanted to hear about you. Her wisdom and gentle words of counsel made you feel encouraged. She was a caregiver.

Wanda loved the Lord. Her strong faith helped guide her own life, marriage and the raising of children, making daily prayer and devotions a part of family life. She was an active member of the Gibbon Baptist Church and served gladly in numerous roles of the church, especially enjoying the women’s fellowship.

Education was very important to Wanda. She encouraged each of her children from a very young age with learning, positive affirmations and open to possibilities about their future but firm that they were going to college.

In later years she was always ready to pack her suitcase and travel to see family or friends, and did have the opportunity to visit many countries in the world.

Wanda’s absolute joy was her seven children, 20 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren. She meticulously kept track of all their names, birthdays and school activities, making each one feel loved.

She lived each of her 94 years well. She was feisty and fun. She was steady and strong. She was compassionate and kind. She pushed us. She encouraged us. She prayed for us. She teased us. She fed us. And, oh, how she loved us so well.

We rejoice she is no longer struggling, but can’t help but feel a big hole in our hearts. She wasn’t just any mother and grandmother, she was one of our dearest friends. We are forever grateful for the gift of being her children and grandchildren.

Left to cherish her memory are her children and their spouses, Cheryl (Larry) Glazier of Grand Island, Janet (Greg) Burger of Luverne, Minn., Randy (Sherry) Gangwish of Shelton, Gene (Carol) Gangwish of Harrisburg, Pa., Greg (Carol) Gangwish of Kearney, Duane (Tricia) Gangwish of Wayne and Paul (Deb) Gangwish of Shelton; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Loree Elliot of Kearney, Treva Gangwish of Wood River and Christine Underwood Barr of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and brother-in-law, Carl (Louise) Gangwish of Kearney.

She was preceded in death by her husband.

Memorials are suggested to the family for future designation.

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