On January 27, 1930, Gottfried and Martha Laubhan welcomed their fourth child, Wilma Ann, into the world. Wilma joined her big brother Wilbur and older sisters Naomi and Norma in a small rural home in Durham, Kansas.
Wilma attended Marion and Peabody public schools through age seventeen when she married Melvin Peters in Marion, Kansas in June 1947. A year later, Wilma and Melvin surprised their family with not just one little boy, but two when they brought home their twins Don and Ron. A third son, Larry, joined the family in 1951, and five years later, they added their little girl, Joyce. Wilma and Melvin made their lives through farming and raised countless heads of cattle, sheep, and pigs over the years. Wilma had a way with sick animals – often nursing young lambs, calves and pigs back to life during frigid Kansas winters. In 1970, Wilma and Melvin achieved their lifelong dream of building a home on their farm outside of Newton.
Wilma began working as a CNA in 1972, a few years later, at age 46, she went back to school to earn her GED. She went on to nursing school at McPherson School of Practical Nursing, where she became a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1978. Wilma often described this achievement as one of her most proud, but hardest moments, as while she was in her final classes, her mother passed away. Wilma was employed at Wheat State Manor and Bethel Deaconess Hospital before working at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita on the cancer unit for more than 10 years, retiring in 1998.
She may best be remembered by her grandchildren for her barn full of cats – all of whom would come running during the early evening chores, her banana malts, eating meals in her kitchen, helping her in the garden, teaching them how to play carroms, care for animals and assisting in naming the newborn animals. On Sundays she often put together a full meal for family and/or friends who happened to stay over the noon or dinner hours. She was known for her mashed potatoes and hamburger gravy, her ham loaf with spicy mustard, “the pink stuff,” and her angel food cake. Her dogs became even more important companions after Melvin passed away and her sweet Pepper stayed by her side until she was admitted to the hospital.
Wilma went to live with her heavenly father on Thursday, October 21, 2021. She was preceded in death by her parents, Gottfried and Martha Laubhan, siblings Wilbur Laubhan, Norma Winter, and Naomi Haas, husband Melvin Peters, son Larry Peters, and grandson Dustin Demo. She is survived by sons Don (Freddie) Peters, Newton, KS and Ron (Faye) Peters, Latham, KS, daughter Joyce (Dan) Demo, El Dorado, KS, 10 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
Visitation for Wilma is Sunday, October 24, 2021, between 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and the service is on Monday, October 25, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. both at Petersen Funeral Home in Newton, KS. The Burial at Walton Cemetery, Walton, KS will follow the service. Memorials in her name can be sent to Caring Hands Humane Society, 1400 SE 3rd, Newton, KS.