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Wilma  Rae "Willie" Dzioba

Wilma Rae "Willie" Dzioba
  • September 19, 1936 - October 29, 2018
  • Athens, Michigan

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“As a college friend, I have known Willie since 1954. I remember she and Tom and the children stopping by our house in Littleton. They were on a...Read More ยป
1 of 2 | Posted by: Gail Mullin - Highlands Ranch, CO

“We had a lot in common, that I was unaware of. You will be missed! RIP❤ ”
2 of 2 | Posted by: Liz Dawson - Iron Mountain, MI


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Wilma Rae (Barber) Dzioba, age 82, formerly of Athens, went home to her loved ones on October 29, 2018, with her daughter at her side, at the Calhoun County Medical Care Facility. Wilma, known as "Willie" to her family and friends, was born in Battle Creek on September 19, 1936, to Franklin W. & Mildred P. (Bailey) Barber, the youngest of three daughters.

Willie graduated from Lakeview High School in 1954 and Kalamazoo College in 1958 ,with a major in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. She married Thomas John Dzioba on May 30, 1959, and had three children, Scott, Todd and Lori. Tom and Willie lived in Battle Creek before moving to Athens in 1976.

Willie was employed with Kroger Co. from 1950 to 1980 when Kroger became Hamdy Brothers. She stayed on with Hamdy until they closed in 1981. Willie lost her husband Tom of 23 years of a heart attack at home on April 22, 1982 with Todd and Lori still in high school. She then became a part-time rural carrier for the Battle Creek Post Office from June 1982 to September 1984. Both her father and late husband had been previous employees of the Battle Creek Post Office as well.

In July of 1983, Willie went to work for C & D Groceries, (this was owned by a previous Kroger co-worker) until 1986, when she made the changed to J. L. Hudson as a cosmetic sales person for a year before moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico in October 1987. While in New Mexico, she lived with her sister, Jean and brother-in-law, Dr. Bill J. Davis where she was a receptionist for Bill while there. Willie moved back to Athens after a year because she missed her kids and grandkids too much. In 1988, she went to work for Oak Hill Cemetery as Secretary/Treasurer until she retired in 2006 at the age of 70.

When Willie was younger, she was an active member of the First Baptist Church in Battle Creek, where she was a Sunday School Teacher. She was an active member in her community as well, serving as President of the Ladies Auxiliary Branch 252 B.C. Postal Employees, a den mother for Cub Scouts when the boys were younger and a volunteer for many years for the American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and Hospice. She was a supporter of the Humane Society for many years. Willie enjoyed playing the Organ, listening to Big Band music, and loved her dog and cats.

Willie was preceded in death by her parents, Franklin W. Barber & Mildred P. (Bailey) Barber; sisters, B. Jean (Barber) Davis & Mildred JoAnne (Barber) Stock; husband, Thomas J. Dzioba; sons, Thomas "Scott" & Todd M. Dzioba; grandsons, Kevin C. & Nicholas A. Dzioba; her in-laws, Peter J. & Ilabell F. (Asher) Dzioba; and a brother-in-law, Donald L. Dzioba. She is survived by her daughter, Lori (Greg) Wyman of Athens; grandchildren, Jessica (Spencer) Vahs of Union City, Jason R. Wyman of Athens; two great-grandkids; brothers-in-law, Dr. Bill J. Davis of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Peter "John" Dzioba of Battle Creek; sister-in-law, Ilabell "Chicky" (Dzioba) Decker of Oregon; and 16 nieces & nephews.

The family will receive friends 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Saturday, November 3rd at the North Athens Baptist Church, 2020 M. Drive South, Athens, MI 49011, where a memorial service to celebrate Willie's life will be held at 12:00 p.m. with Pastor Mark Behr, officiating, and a luncheon immediately following. Memorial contributions can be made in memory of Wilma to the Humane Society of South Central Michigan. Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek. Personal messages for the family may be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.