Wilma Mae (Wright) Flink was born August 22, 1916, in Des Moines, IA. She died December 2, 2019, at Twilight Acres in Wall Lake, IA, where she was the oldest resident. Cause of death was heart failure.
Wilma was always a trailblazer. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines in three and a half years and found work with an insurance company. Due to the Great Depression, her parents couldn’t afford to send both her and her older sister, Maxine, to college at the same time. So Wilma worked for a year and a half before entering Drake University in Des Moines.
At a time when many women didn’t have the opportunity to attend college, she graduated with a four-year degree in education. Her first job was in Lake View, IA, teaching kindergarten and girls’ physical education classes. It was there that she met Harlan Flink. After a six-year courtship, the two married on September 9, 1945, when Harlan returned from World War II.
As a sign of how different the times were in the late 1940’s, Wilma was asked to take a leave of absence from teaching when it was learned that she was pregnant. She put her teaching career on hold in 1947 to stay home with her children, John and Marilyn. She returned to the classroom in 1960, teaching until she retired in 1979.
Wilma witnessed more than a century of change. When she was born women didn’t have the right to vote, nor were computers and the internet a fixture of our lives. She lived through World War I, World War II, the Great Depression and the many changes that have occurred since then.
She is survived by her son, John Flink (Julie Petersen) of Washington, D.C., and daughter, Marilyn (Brent) Hylton of Scottsdale, AZ; her sister, Phyllis (Chuck) Benner of Lancaster, CA; two grandchildren, Chris (Andrea) Hylton and Joshua (Adrienne) Hylton; two great-grandchildren, Koston and Tenley Hylton; and numerous family and friends. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harlan; her parents, C. Ward and Bernice Wright; her sister, Maxine; and two nephews.
Wilma will long be remembered as a wife, mother, teacher, and pillar of the Lake View community and Wheatland Presbyterian Church near Breda, where she served as the first woman elected an Elder. Her passion for education left a powerful legacy among the hundreds of her former students who remembered her long after she retired.