Wilma Ruth Volpe

Wilma Ruth Volpe, 87, died Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, at the By Grace House in Lawrence, Kansas.

Wilma was born January 10, 1925, in Alamota, Kansas, the daughter of William Andrew and Rua Houghton Thomas. She graduated from Dighton (Kan.) High School in 1943, attended Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia (1943-46), and graduated from Montclair (New Jersey) Teacher’s College in 1948 with a B.A. in English. Wilma spent her entire career as a teacher, first as a 4th grade teacher at St. Theresa’s RC School in Paterson, N.J.; then, as a 7th & 8th grade Language Arts teacher for 21 years at Chapel Hill School in Lincoln Park, N.J. In 1980 she retired to Cape Coral, Fla., and later to The Villages, Fla., before returning to Kansas in 2011.

Wilma loved to knit and crochet sweaters and afghans for members of her family. A lifelong learner, she was an avid reader, researched family history, and enjoyed working on New York Times crossword puzzles. In her youth she sang at her church and played piano throughout her life.

Wilma married Louis Vincent Volpe on June 22, 1947, in Paterson, N.J. He survives of the home. Other survivors include a daughter, Denise LaRosh and husband Kyle, Tonganoxie, Kansas; two sons, Vincent, St. Louis, Missouri, and Louis and wife Jennifer, New Market, Maryland; a sister, Arlene Smith, Inver Grove Heights, Minn.; a sister-in-law, Betsy Thomas, Overland Park, Kansas; seven grandchildren, Michelle Roe and husband Brad, Andrew Volpe and wife Phoebe, Kara Volpe, Shane Howard, Teresa Volpe, Rebekah Volpe, and Sophia Volpe; four great grandchildren, Henry Roe, Augustus Roe, Ulysses Roe, and Andrew ‘Winnie’ Volpe; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Leonard Thomas and Don Thomas, and a sister, Neoma Winter.

A Memorial Mass for Wilma Ruth Volpe will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Lawrence, Kansas, with Fr. John Schmeidler officiating. Private family inurnment will be at a later date in Leavenworth National Cemetery.
The family suggests memorial contributions to RS/Christian Relief Services, St. Joseph’s Indian School of Chamberlain, S.D., or St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home & Crematory, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044.

Messages & Condolences

From John and Vera Evangelista...


Our deepest condolences are with you and your family. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

From Nancy Ballard...

Dear Lou,
Wilma was so special and I know you will miss her sweet, kind and loving ways. We who met her were all touched by her.
Our sincerest regrets and sympathy go out to you and your family.
Jim & Nancy Ballard

From Louis V. Volpe...

Tommy Dearest,
Let me be, as usual, the 1st to wish you a HAPPY 88th BIRTHDAY. This morning at 10 AM there will be a memorial mass at St. John the Evangelist today for you, and the this afternoon there will be a ‘celebration of life’ in your memory & honor at Drury Place.
A truly joyous day !!

Love, Lou

From Louis V. Volpe...

Tommy, it is now January 10th…your 88th birthday, I want to be the 1st to say, “Happy Birthday,” and also that your memorial mass will take place today with so many relatives and friends attending. Then this afternoon our friends here at Drury Place will have a ‘celebration of life’ in your honor and memory.
It truly is “your day.”

From Louis V. Volpe...

Dearest Tommy,
No need to tell you how much you will be missed, for we spoke about the ‘inevitable’ many times during the 65 & 1/2 years of our wonderful marriage. I shall spend the few years I have left just dreaming about the many memorable times we enjoyed. My den is my ‘comfort zone’ for I am surrounded by your pictures and the various souvenirs of our trips we took. I thank you for all the many nice things you did for me and also for teaching me how to be a better person. I’m very fortunate to have met you the way we did (on that Santa Fe train on Nov. 25, 1945). That train ride is not over for us, so stay on the train for I am in the next coach and will be in yours soon… so save me a seat. In the meantime I have my arsenal of memories.
That gift from Rita really says it all, “Once in a while right in the middle of an ordinary life….love comes along and brings you a fairy tale.” Goodnight my Kansas Sunflower and enjoy God’s blessed rewards.
My love to you, always,
Your Lou

From Arlene and Mary Ellen...

Sitting here with Mom, Arlene, and just read Cindy’s message, brought back memories of our childhood at Grandma Rua’s home. Boy, do we have memories of when the Volpe’s visited Dighton. I remember Aunt Wilma walking through Grandma’s home with some type of yarn in her hands and singing at the top of her lungs. She was always such a contagiously happy person. We loved her so much.

Love to all the family,

Mary Ellen

From Cindy Wells...

Lou and Family,

I was grateful that Mary Ellen contacted me about Wilma’s passing. My thoughts go out to each of you during this time of loss, remembrance and celebration. While I have not seen Wilma for a number of years, the picture of her so much captures the smile and joy I remember seeing on her face. I shared with mom about Wilma’s passing and she wants you all to know that you are in her thoughts. Mr and Mrs Thomas were our surrogate grandparents and I must have been in about third or fourth grade before I realized that they weren’t my “blood relatives.” When they had company we always felt like we were having company! I well remember when the Volpe family would come from NJ! I remember Wilma as a kind, sweet and delightful lady. Sending warm thoughts and love to the Volpe Famiy during this time.

Cindy Wells
Denver (formerly of Dighton)

From Lila...

Uncle Lou, you and the rest of your family are in our thoughts and prayers. As I have mentioned to you before, you marriage, love and dedication to one another is an inspiration for everyone. Aunt Tommy is with my Papa now smiling down on us.

Liela #1, Lila #2, Lila #3, Maria and Angela

From Cecelia Ventrice & Family...

To the entire Family of Wilma Volpe
Even tho I never met either Lou or Wilma. They both played such a great part in helping me with the Volpe Family reunion, that I have grown to care for them both. I am so sorry for your loss and I pray you find peace in your love, family, memories and knowledge that we all will be reuninted one day. My deepest sympathy to you all and Lou, your love for Wilma showed through all your actions and the love you both shared is so wonderful and something that many never even get the chance to know. My very deepest sympathy to you.

Cecelia & family xo

From Ruthann and Patrick Martin...

Our deepest sympathies go out to Lou and the whole Volpe Family. It has been a privilege to have known Wilma and Lou.
Love, Ruthann and Patrick

From Ysonde Gonzales...

My thoughts prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the Volope family. As one of Wilma’s caregivers I was lucky enough to get to know her. She was an extraordinary lady, and will be greatly missed.

From Vincent A. Cocilovo...

I have been blessed to have been a friend of Wilma and Lou since 1982, when I met them with my now-wife, Judi Barbarito Cocilovo. Although, unfortunately, we only saw Lou and Wilma infrequently throughout the years since then, every time I was with them,I always received nothing but generous hospitality and loving kindness.I always felt so welcome. What a treat it was to relax and play Skip-O with them, and join in their sing-alongs with “Tommy” at the keyboard, and then to see the pride and love in their eyes when they brought out their photo albums and shared their family memories of their adored children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But especially, I could see, even that first visit with them, what a special marriage they had. What a blessed man you are, Lou, to have been the one Wilma chose to go through life with. Her goodness, thoughtfulness, good humor,and optimism, truly revealed God to anyone with the eyes to see. It’s kind of appropriate, then, that she went home to God on the feast of the Epiphany, which means, basically, a revelation of God. May she rest in peace.

From Gary and Lisa Howard...

Dear Volpe Family,

Our best wishes to you during this time of rememberance. Ms. Wilma was such a grand lady and raised such great kids, what a legacy!

Love, Gary, Lisa, Curtis, and Ali Howard

Messages are closed.