Obituary of Wanda Lea Gilfillan

March 2, 1921 – November 19, 2021

Wanda Lea Gilfillan, old
Wanda Lea Gilfillan, old

Wanda Lea (Womack) Gilfillan of Amelia Island, Florida passed away unexpectedly on November 19, 2021 at Baptist Medical Center Nassau in Fernandina Beach. She was born March 2, 1921 in Glenwood, Kentucky, daughter of Ward Dewey Womack and Vanna Marie (Shortridge) Womack. A graduate of Portsmouth, Ohio High School in the Class of 1939, she furthered her education at the University of Cincinnati Nursing School. It was there she met Lewis S. Gilfillan of Bar Harbor, Maine, who had received his DMD from Tufts University and was completing his residency as an oral surgeon. They were married on June 5, 1943.

Upon completion of his residency, the couple settled in Kirkwood, Connecticut while Dr. Gilfillan was associated with the Public Health Services. Eventually they moved to San Francisco where he was stationed with the Coast Guard during World War II, serving on board troop carriers in the Pacific as an oral surgeon. It was there their son, Bill was born. At the end of the war the family returned to Groton, Connecticut where he was honorably discharged. A daughter, Carol, was born in Bar Harbor, Maine, their temporary home while Dr. Gilfillan established his private practice on Water Street in the state capitol, Augusta.

Wanda enjoyed her married life in Augusta. Close friendships were formed with other young families in the neighborhood of Brooklawn Avenue. She was known for her culinary skills, her Southern hospitality, her ability to sew beautiful, stylish outfits and knit intricate patterns. When needed, she assisted Lewis at his practice. Reading books and playing cards were especially enjoyable leisure activities. She willingly volunteered at her children’s schools, served as a leader of the PTA, volunteered at the local library and the hospital. She looked forward to family skiing trips to Sugarloaf Mountain in the winter and played golf at the Augusta Country Club, at one time served as President of the WGA.

Wanda Lea Gilfillan, young
Wanda Lea Gilfillan, young

Children grown, a change of lifestyle for the couple took place in 1969 when they moved from the city to the country. The property chosen was located on the Pond Road in Sidney that consisted of a farmhouse with ell and attached barn, a separate barn, an old apple orchard, a small shed and acres of land on either side of the road including a dirt road leading to the shore of Messalonskee Lake. They sold some of their land across from the farmhouse to close friends, Jack and Priscilla Stitt, who built a home there. Working side by side, Lewis and Wanda maintained a large garden and added berry bushes and fruit trees. Activities included mowing the lawns, canning and freezing fruits and vegetables, swimming, boating, maintaining cross country ski trails, pressing apples for cider, cutting and stacking fire wood, selecting Christmas trees. Bill, Carol, their spouses and the grandchildren looked forward to visiting. Wonderful memories were made in Sidney.

After Lewis retired in his late 60s, he eventually became ill. Their son and his wife came more frequently and helped them with the move into town when the couple eventually purchased a condo in Augusta in the fall of 1996. They enjoyed traveling to far away locations with very good friends and settled into a relaxed lifestyle. With the help of family on weekends and attentive neighbors in the complex such as Dick and Pat Kimball, they managed quite well. Lewis passed away in September of 2007 and a year later Wanda chose to leave Maine winters behind her and move to Amelia Island, Florida to be near her daughter, Carol and her son-in-law, Joe.

Wanda enjoyed her new home, a villa apartment at Osprey Village. She “bloomed where she was planted” as the saying goes, appearing at early morning coffee, serving on the Osprey Resident Board, becoming involved in activities such as card games, craft activities, exercise classes, reading books on her Kindle, using her computer and cheering on her favorite sports teams shown on television.

Moving gave Wanda the opportunity to enjoy a close relationship with her daughter who was attentive to her mother’s needs. Wanda looked forward to Thursday night dinners at the home of Carol, Joe and his mother, Eleanore. A tradition was established for Saturday nights – Eleanore came to the Osprey dining room to eat with Wanda. Relaxing afterwards, they talked about their shared grandchildren and great grandchildren while they watched classic movies. Holiday visits from grandchildren Jennifer and Eric and their families were anticipated with great joy. Planning trips with Carol, Joe and Eleanore were exciting, but hurricane evacuations were not. Looking back over the years, Wanda most certainly would admit she had led a very fulfilled life.

Wanda was predeceased by her parents; her older sister, Eileen, who died as an infant; her husband, Lewis S. Gilfillan, DMD; her granddaughter, Kathleen Diane Connelly; her brother-in-law, Robert Gilfillan and his wife, Barbara.

She is survived by her son, William L. Gilfillan and his wife, Christine of Hampden, Maine; her daughter, Carol Anne Gilfillan, MD and her husband, Joseph E. Simon, MD of Amelia Island, Florida; her granddaughter Jennifer Simon and her husband, James Shilkett and their sons, Jonah, Charlie and Gil of Atlanta, Georgia; her grandson, Eric Simon and his wife, Christen and their daughter Miriam of Del Rey Oakes, California; three nieces, a nephew and their families of Mt. Desert Island, Maine.

Internment will occur in the Spring of 2022 at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Augusta, Maine where her husband is buried.

If desired, please donate to the charity of your choice in Wanda’s name in lieu of flowers.

Source, Florida Obituaries, 2010-2024.

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