Wilma Jean (Fielding) Cates, age 96, of Joplin, Mo., passed away at 8:25 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, 2017, at Freeman Hospital in Joplin.
Wilma was born September 2, 1920, in Joplin to Charles D. Fielding and Irma (Sweeton) Fielding, and was a lifetime resident. Growing up in East Town, she told many stories about playing in Cox's pasture and Landreth Park. Her father worked for Kansas City Southern and often took her to the old Union Depot. She was a graduate of Joplin High School and Joplin Business College.
On December 15, 1941, she married William B. Cates in Joplin.
In the early 1950's, Wilma began her career in the administrative medical field at St. John's Hospital. After leaving St. John's, she worked for many Joplin doctors, and was proud of being a Certified Medical Secretary. She retired in 1987 from the office of Drs. Corcoran, Moore, and Stinnett.
She was a member of the Jasper County Medical Secretaries Association. Wilma was a member of the VFW Woman's Auxiliary, and held offices of Chaplain and Treasurer. She was awarded a Lifetime Membership in the VFW for her service through the Auxiliary. Wilma was a Past President of the Military Order of the Cooties. She was a past member of the Christian Missionary Alliance Church. During her career and life, she made many friends and all would agree she was quite a special woman. She loved music, dancing, reading, politics, current events, and going to Grand Lake Casino.
Wilma was preceded in death by her husband, William B. Cates; a son, Stephen R. Cates; and two brothers, Charles L. Fielding and George Fielding.
Survivors include a daughter, Georgine Smith and husband, Dan, of Joplin; four grandchildren, R.J. McBride and wife, Whitney, of Auburn, Ala., Sarah Pratt and husband, Jonathan, of Fayetteville, Ark., Bill McBride and wife, Stacey of Carrollton, Texas, and Charles Cates of Joplin; six great-grandchildren; Mollye and Evie McBride, Benjamin and Finnegan Pratt, and Ashley and Ella Cates. She will also be greatly missed by her longtime companion, Bill Taber.
Special thanks to Dr. Brandon Gibson, Dr. Michael Yuhas, Dr. David Baker, Dr. Christopher Black and staff and to special nurse, Brenda Eckenroth, and the great staff on the 6th floor at Freeman Hospital.
Wilma's wishes were to be cremated. A Memorial Visitation will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Mason-Woodard Mortuary with a private committal of ashes to be held at a later date.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Mason-Woodard Mortuary and
Crematory of Joplin.
Published on March 9, 2017