Willie Mae NemecRogers, AR, 1932 - 2018 0comment
Willie Mae Nemec, 86, passed away May 16, 2018, at Jamestown Nursing and Rehab in Rogers. She was born on March 29, 1932, in Antioch, Ark., to Orville and Pauline (Pickard) Thompson.
Willie was raised on a farm and in nearby Beebe, Ark. She worked as a catering assistant, legal secretary, executive assistant, restaurant manager, rental property supervisor, postmistress, timeshare coordinator and the best Mom her children Denise "Nese," Jason (Brenda), and Micah (Melinda) could have ever hoped for. She was mostly a Presbyterian and lived most of her life in Arkansas including Newport, West Memphis, Hazen, Brinkley, Little Rock, Horseshoe Bend, Holiday island, Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, and Rogers, with a brief stay in Lubbock, Texas, where she and then-husband Joseph Charles Nemec Jr. (1927-1986) discovered they were expecting their first child. She made lifelong friends at every stop along the way while also keeping in touch with family near and far, and many of these received birthday cards from her each year.
A lifelong Democrat, she was active in local and state politics, as her several photos with Bill Clinton prove. She was the first woman elected justice of the peace in Izard County, and she was a member of state-level political conventions. She continued her involvement in politics in Carroll and Washington Counties. Her many other roles included being a certified EMT, funeral home monitor, church secretary and treasurer, CASA caseworker, and Eureka Springs Rotary Club officer, serving in almost all possible office and board positions during her years. Rotary named her a Paul Harris Fellow in 2005.
She spent most of her retired years doing volunteer work with food banks in Eureka Springs and Fayetteville, at the ICU desk in Washington Regional Medical Center, and with the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks where she organized bulk mailings and greeted visitors on Sunday mornings, receiving a 100 + volunteer hours award for her work in 2017. People knew if they wanted something done, they needed to go to Willie. No grass grew under her feet.
She was a plant lover, crossword puzzle worker, Scrabble player extraordinaire, prolific reader, and journalist who wrote news and feature pieces for several weekly newspapers, including the Horseshoe Progress and the Holiday Islander. Her Islander column Willie's World highlighted her humor and insights into human nature and chronicled her own and others exploits, including those of her children and grandchildren. She loved to cross-stitch, and won the "Best in Show" ribbon with one of her creations at the Washington County Fair.
Some would argue that Willie's charm, quick wit, logic, and ability to get things done contributed mightily to the early success of Dick and Bill Pratt's resort-retirement village Horseshoe Bend Estates in Izard County, which is where she began her long career in the tourism industry.
Willie's family sincerely thanks the kind, careful caregivers at Mt. Carmel Community assisted living and at Jamestown Nursing & Rehab, Rogers, Ark.
Willie was preceded in death by her parents and one sister, Margaret Phillips. She is survived by her three children; two brothers: Bob (Barbara) Thompson, Upland, Calif., and Hays (Julia) Thompson, Cabot; six grandchildren: Zane, Fayetteville; Cedar (Jared), Springdale; Katie (Michael), Minneapolis, Minn.; Scott (Liana) and Jenny (Jordan), Rogers; and Mahala, West Plains, Mo., one step-grandson James (Daisy), Honey Grove, Texas; and eleven great grandchildren: Linden, Rose, Sophia, Luna, Francis, Violet, Joy Mae, Lucian, Margot, Hudson, and Demitri, with two more on the way. Willie is also survived by many delightful friends and extended family.
Willie was cremated at her express wish. A memorial service is set for 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 25, at Nelson-Berna Funeral & Crematory, 4520 N. Crossover Road, Fayetteville, Ark., 72703.
To sign the online guest book visit www.nelsonberna.com.
Published May 20, 2018
OBITUARY SUBMITTED BY:
Nelson-Berna Funeral Home and Crematory
4520 North Crossover Road, P.O. Box 8982, Fayetteville, AR