Wilma Frances Smith Gerner, 89, passed away on Friday, January 3, 2020. She was born on August 30, 1930 in Shamrock, Texas, the fourth child born to Eva Waits Smith and Guy Smith.
Her entire life, Wilma was a hard worker. As a young girl, she worked tirelessly in the fields picking cotton. She prided herself with making biscuits and gravy for her uncles when they would visit. She graduated from Wilson High school. After graduation, she moved to Lubbock where she typed advertising for the Avalanche Journal. In 1953, she met the love of her life, Rufus Gerner, at a dance in Brownfield. Soon, thereafter, they married and moved into Mason Funeral Home, in Post, where she worked beside Rufus for many years. She was devoted to her husband and family and enjoyed nurturing others. Rufus had Wilma had two children, Fritz and Farla. While they worked, comforting families in the funeral home, they would leave the children in the attached apartment checking on them regularly. Fritz and Farla thought it was so clever that while their parents were working, they would sneak in their beloved collie, Skipper, but the DNA (dog hair) Skipper left behind always gave them away. At Mason’s Wilma would tuck Farla underneath the desk while she typed obituaries. It was in the funeral home chapel that Fritz learned to play the piano while his mother sat for hours listening to him practice. Rufus and Wilma loved to dance and spent countless hours listening to Western Swing music and attending dances with life-long friends, Jean and Robert Streit.
In 1966, they moved their family to Spur where Wilma worked as a florist at Dorothy’s Flowers and Sharp Flowers. She enjoyed helping at her children’s schools, serving as room mother, and planning parties. Every year the family took a vacation, touring many states within the US. Their nieces and grandsons would sometimes accompany them on vacation, making precious memories together. Wilma was known for always preparing fried chicken for the first-day-of travel-lunch picnic.
In 1973, they relocated to Tahoka, where once again, Wilma worked as a florist at The House of Flowers. At each town in which they lived, Wilma served God as a Sunday school teacher and communion steward. She loved the Lord with all of her heart. As a step-in faith Rufus and Wilma were charter and founding members of Faith Lutheran Church in Post, Texas.
Additionally, Wilma loved her two brothers, two sisters, brother in-laws, sister in-laws and many nieces and nephews, both in her family and in Rufus’s always laughing with them helping them whenever they needed it.
The years took a toll on Wilma and 5 years ago she and Rufus moved into the Slaton Care Center until Rufus’s death two years ago. Wilma was then relocated into the Whisperwood Nursing Home in Lubbock until her death.
She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Rufus in 2017; brothers, Harold and James; and sister, Ruby.
She is survived by her son, Fritz and wife Kleta of Lubbock; daughter Farla and husband Brent of Weatherford; two grandsons that she loved with her whole heart, Adam and wife Holly of Bulverde and Brady and wife Abby of Fair Oaks Ranch. She is also survived by 5 great-grandchildren, Tyler, Avery, Porter and Royce, baby Wells who will make his entrance in April; her sister, Delores and husband Bruce of Rockwell; and her beloved nieces and nephews.
Viewing will begin at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 8, 2020 at Combest Family Funeral Homes, Tahoka with the family receiving friends 6:00-7:30 p.m. Services are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Thursday, January 9, 2020 at the funeral home with interment to follow at Terrace Cemetery in Post. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to your favorite charity.