On January 25, 2020 after a life well lived, Wilma (Pollett) Self age 95, of Junction City, Kansas stepped through Heaven’s Gates into the waiting arms of her Lord and Savior.
Wilma began life’s journey in Lincoln, Nebraska on July 5, 1924. As the only child of William Pollett and Nellie (Duncan) Pollett she spent the majority of her childhood and early adolescence in the company of her many uncles, aunts and cousins in Hiawatha, Kansas.
Wilma graduated from Falls City High School (Falls City, Nebraska) with honors. Her lifelong passions were music and poetry. She excelled as a concert level pianist during her high school days, was a pianist for the Bethel AME Church in Barstow, CA and she continued to play at every opportunity until as she would often say “the hands no longer moved” Her poetry was thought to be masterful, she composed three separate books of poems that are still enjoyed by many.
Shortly after graduation at a dance held in Topeka, Kansas featuring the great Count Basie Band and hosted by boxing champ Joe Louis for the soldiers of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry “The Buffalo Soldiers” she met her future husband, Nolan Self. Nolan and Wilma were married on October 21, 1942 and were blessed to welcome and raise eight boys into their union. She was a devoted wife for seventy four years of marriage.
During her time as a soldier’s wife she and the family lived in many different duty stations including installations in Louisiana, Colorado, Kansas, California and the country of Panama. Upon her husband’s retirement the family returned to Junction City, Kansas. Shortly thereafter, she launched a new career path and joined the US Government as a civil service employee. While working as a civil service employee, Wilma held various positions that ultimately led to the opportunity to move to Barstow, California and assist in the activation of The National Training Center at Fort Irvin, California. It was there that she became engaged in numerous agency projects over the next twenty plus years. Upon retirement from the government she joined the staff of the local hospice organization in Barstow and continued her passion for giving and helping others. Wilma’s accomplishments both professional and personal were substantial, significant and included service on the Junction City School Board; winner of Mrs. Senior Black California pageant and author of the poem “ The Rock Pile” on location at the entrance to The National Training Center in Fort Irvin.
As a lifelong member of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Wilma’s devotion to her faith was always evident to all who knew her. She was fondly known for her wisdom and wise counsel which was always shared freely.
Wilma was a wonderful wise woman who touched many lives and all who knew her were blessed. Quite frankly she was a “Rockstar” one who will be terribly missed.
Services to celebrate and honor the life of Wilma will be held at 11:00 am on Friday, January 31, 2020 at the JC Church of the Nazarene in Junction City, Kansas, with Pastor Viola Jones officiating. Visitation will be Thursday, January 30, 2020, 6:00 pm to 8 pm at Johnson Funeral Home. Interment will take place at Kansas Veterans' Cemetery on Monday, February 3, 2020 at 1pm.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to the staff and nurses of the Manhattan, Kansas Hospice Service for the compassionate and profession care given to Wilma during her final journey. Memorial Contributions may be given to the Good Shepherd Hospice, 3801 Vanesta Drive, Manhattan, KS 66503.
Wilma is survived by sons Larry Self of Martinsburg, West Virginia; Bill (Judy) Self, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Frank (Shirley) Self of Waxhaw, North Carolina; Steve (Jane) Self of Rancho Cucamonga, California; daughter- in- law Barbara Self of Manhattan, Kansas; sons Ronnie (Rachelle) Self of Vallejo, California; and Jon Curtis Self and his wife Charlotte of Manhattan, Kansas and 20 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and 7 great-great grandchildren.
Wilma is preceded in death by her husband Nolan; her daughter- in- law, Dianne Self of Martinsburg, West Virginia; and sons Jay Self of San Francisco California and Mark Self of Junction City, Kansas.
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