Wanda Abbott Passes Away at 78

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Wanda Abbott

Wanda Clarice Abbott passed away peacefully on Feb. 5, 2024 at the age of 78 while on hospice in her home in Irrigon surrounded by numerous loving family members.

She was born on Oct. 13, 1945 in Wendell, Idaho to Virgil Andrew Ball and Hannah Leola Morgan Ball. She was the third of eight children. The children’s names in order are Jr., Tammi (Arlene), Wanda, Marg, Dale, Gary, Kenny and Randy Ball.

During her childhood years, Wanda and her family moved around often due to her father’s jobs.

Wanda’s first marriage was to Ronald Ray Rytting on Feb. 14, 1962 in Jerome, Idaho. To this marriage were born four children, Patty, Ronda, Leola, and Danny Rytting. After 11 years of marriage, they divorced on Feb. 23, 1973. Later Wanda moved from Garden City, Idaho to the Seattle, Wash. area.

She met Pearl (Bob) Robert Morley in Seattle and began their relationship. Wanda and Bob were blessed with three children, Robert (Topper), Steve and Theresa Morley. Bob contributed eight children from previous marriages. Bob and Wanda moved to Hermiston for Wanda to live closer to her sister Marg and family. After many years together they decided to separate.

Her second marriage was to Bennie Dee Abbott on May 24, 1981 in their back yard on Wagon Wheel Loop in Irrigon. Another blessing that happened at the wedding was a five-generations photo taken of Lillie Viola (Cook) Morgan, Hannah Leola (Morgan) Ball, Wanda Clarice (Ball) Abbott, Patrica Ann Rytting and her new addition, whom Patty named Kari Lynn Rytting. The event made it into the East Oregonian newspaper.

Bennie had eight children from a previous marriage, giving Wanda her bonus children Lonnie, Dennis, Tim, Kord, Maurice, Kathy, Corina, and Sara. With Wanda’s seven children, that brought 15 siblings together. Bennie was the love of her life. They remained married until Sept. 16, 1994 when he passed away.

Bennie and Wanda owned a business in Hermiston known as Wanda and Ben’s Upholstery and Vinyl Repair. The building still stands with their names on it.

Wanda worked in a few jobs in her life but the one she stayed at the longest was at Lamb Weston from 1990 to 2023, for a total of 33 years. Due to her failing health, she wasn’t able to return to work.

Besides raising her own children, Wanda took on the responsibility of raising her five great-grandchildren in her later years of life. This living arrangement caused Grandma Wanda and her great-grandchildren to develop a very close relationship. Her great-grandson Roberto (Jr.) Ayala describes her as “feisty and mean yet sweet and kind, she was the best of both.”

Wanda’s biggest attribute was the love she had for her family. She enjoyed spending time with all of them. She enjoyed going to family gatherings and would be requested to bring their favorite dishes of macaroni salad, pistachio salad or her German chocolate cake.

Wanda spent her vacations with her brothers, Gary and Kenny and her sister-in-law Michele, Gary’s wife. One of her favorites was the trip to Yellowstone. It was raining that day and we were traveling in an RV. She was sitting up in the front passenger seat when she first saw some wild buffalo. She got so terrified from watching them she attempted to jump out of her seat to escape from her viewing through the windshield. As the time went by we observed hundreds of them all over the fields. She relaxed and grew to realize the buffalo were just incredibly awesome! Wanda was very high spirited and ready for the next adventure when it came to her vacations.

Wanda enjoyed playing all kinds of games, going out dancing and bowling (in her younger years) and looked forward to playing mini golf, even though she usually came in last. In her earlier years she enjoyed sewing.

Wanda was well known and loved by everyone in every place she resided. Her homes were always filled with friends and family. Errands around the towns took longer because people stopped her to have a conversation. She was known for being an easy-going person with a simple life.

She is survived by her children, Patty, Ronda, Leola (Dan), Danny (Brandy), Robert, Steven, Theresa (Dave), Tim (Rita), Lonnie (Lisa), Kord, Kathy (Larry), Corina (Mark), Maurice (Tonya) and Sara (Trevor). She is also survived by many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her siblings.

Wanda was preceded in death by her father, mother, Ronnie, Bob, Bennie and brother Junior.

Her celebration of life will be held at the Irrigon Marina Park on April 27, 2024 at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to Vange John Memorial Hospice Education Fund in Hermiston.

Please share memories of Wanda with her family at burnsmortuaryhermiston.com.

Burns Mortuary of Hermiston is in care of arrangements.

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