Wilma Irene Michael Runkle was born near Woodbine, Iowa, on August 24, 1915, to James and Ferriba (VanArsdol) Michael and peacefully passed away November 15, 2011, at NorthCare Hospice House, North Kansas City, Missouri. 

Wilma Irene Michael Runkle was born near Woodbine, Iowa, on August 24, 1915, to James and Ferriba (VanArsdol) Michael and peacefully passed away November 15, 2011, at NorthCare Hospice House, North Kansas City, Missouri.  

She was baptized into the RLDS faith (Community of Christ) as a teenager and remained actively involved her entire life. She held the priesthood office of Elder.  She was a member of The Groves Congregation and a resident of Rosewood at The Groves at the time of her death.

Wilma graduated from Woodbine High School, the first member of her family to do so.  She met her future husband Jerry at the Woodbine RLDS Reunion and they were married on August 19, 1938. They lived in Clarence and DeWitt, Iowa, before moving to Lamoni, Iowa, where they lived for 36 years while Jerry taught at Graceland College. When Jerry retired from Graceland in 1978, he and Wilma moved to Independence, Mo. Wilma loved people, never met a stranger, and made friends wherever she went. She especially enjoyed cooking, serving meals to groups from four to four hundred. She was well known for her rolls and gooseberry cobbler, which were always a hit at church dinners. Although primarily a homemaker, Wilma was also a country school teacher, a housekeeper, a waitress, a caterer, a bedding plant business owner, an Avon Representative, a salesperson at Adler’s clothing, and the first woman to serve on the Lamoni City Council. Wilma and Jerry enjoyed traveling together. They visited all 50 United States, all Provinces and Territories in Canada, and many foreign countries. She left Jerry at home when she fulfilled a life-long dream traveling to India with a Graceland Winter Term group.

Wilma was preceded in death by her parents; her husband of 68 years Jerry; two sisters; Marguerite Barnes and Lorraine Henderson, four brothers; John VanArsdol, Calvin, Glen, and Kenneth Michael.  

She leaves behind a loving family; son Jerry Michael Runkle and wife Candace, daughter Jane Kunz and husband Bruce, two grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, a sister-in-law, many nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

Memorial services will be 3:00 p.m., Saturday, December 3, 2011, in The Community Room at The Groves, 1515 W. White Oak, Independence, MO 64050. Visitation will follow the service. Cremation, with private inurnment in Magnolia Cemetery, Iowa.  

The family suggests contributions to the Children’s Peace Pavilion, 1001 W. Walnut, Independence, MO. 64050 or the Jerry C. Runkle Scholarship Fund, Graceland University Development Office, Lamoni, Iowa 50140.

Online condolences may be expressed at www.speakschapel.com.

Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel, 816-373-3600.