Nov. 4, 1932 — July 6, 2013
Wilma, daughter of Irene and Clarence Dearixon and oldest of 10 children, was born in Centertown, Mo., on Nov. 4, 1932. The family moved to Hood River, Ore., in 1937 and finally settled in Corbett, Ore., in 1940. Wilma graduated as valedictorian from Columbian High School, Corbett, in 1950. She married David Cheney, Jan. 28, 1951.
Wilma and David had seven children (Daniel Roy-1952, David Mark-1953, Douglas Alex-1957, Dennis Timothy-1958, twins Carol Irene and Christine Leora-adopted 1963, Cathy Maribel-adopted 1969); 11 grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. The adoption of her daughters led to Wilma’s long relationship with Holt International Children’s Services, Eugene, where she served on the board from 1968 until her death.
Wilma and David lived all over the U.S. but most recently owned a ranch north of Ione, Ore., from 1973 to 1994 and have lived in College Place from 1995 to present. Wilma and David purchased Martin Field Airport in 1998 starting a multi-year rehabilitation of the airport. Wilma hosted the weekday airport coffee hour, which still continues.
Wilma was a self-taught pianist and blessed with a beautiful, clear soprano voice. She was often a featured soloist in church and shared her love of music throughout the community. She died July 6, 2013, at home surrounded by her family. We honor her as a wife, mother, grandparent, colleague and friend.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, at 11 a.m. at College Place Presbyterian Church, 325 N.E. Damson St., College Place. Remembrances in lieu of flowers can be made at www.HoltInternational.org/wilmacheney or sent to Holt International Children Services; PO Box 2880; Eugene, OR 97402.