Wilma Adell Otto was born in Ionia, Iowa on June 21, 1930 to Fred and Nora Otto. The youngest of three children, her siblings often told stories of how she talked them into doing her farm chores while she played and made them laugh. She had a natural gift of bringing joy and laughter to each day.
Upon graduation from high school, Wilma attended Wartburg College where she received her teaching certificate. She taught in one-room schoolhouses in Iowa, grades one through eight. The rural communities embraced her as a favorite teacher and many of her students have kept in touch with her through the decades.
Charles Pennington stole Wilma’s heart on a blind date and they were married in 1949. They would both say that was the best decision they ever made. They were blessed with 68 years of marriage before Chuck passed away.
Wilma’s teaching jobs helped Chuck complete college and receive his Air Force commission. Chuck’s Air Force career moved the family to 10 states, England and Taiwan. Four children were born to keep their adventure even more exciting! With each move, Wilma made every house a home and always became very active in the community. Her roles included Outreach Tutor, Girl Scout Leader, Sunday School Teacher, Youth Group Sponsor, Meals on Wheels Volunteer, President of the Lutheran Women’s Association, and President of the Officer’s Wives Club.
Although Wilma was involved in many roles, she always said her favorite role was being a wife and mother. She was an exceptional homemaker. Her many talents included sewing her family’s clothes, cooking homemade meals, reupholstering furniture, making stained glass designs, and winning at favorite card games.
After Chuck retired, Wilma and Chuck travelled in their R.V. to 49 states. Additionally, they visited all seven continents. Traveling became second nature to them although they never forgot their Iowa roots, visiting the “home farm” and their relatives every year.
Wilma’s address book is evidence of the loyal friend and letter writer she has always been. Anyone who knows her has received a card, letter or note. Her vivacious personality attracted people across the globe. She loved staying in touch with her friends and family.
Wilma died on March 21, 2022 in Niceville, Florida surrounded by the love of family and friends. She is survived by four children and spouses, three grandsons, a granddaughter-in-law, three great grandchildren, a brother-in-law, and a sister-in-law.
A visitation will be held at Hauser Funeral Home on June 20tfrom 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A graveside service will follow at Riverside Cemetery. Wilma will rest in peace next to her beloved husband Chuck where their love story began 74 years ago.