Cover photo for Wanda Joyce McCary's Obituary
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1932 Wanda 2024

Wanda Joyce McCary

March 15, 1932 — March 17, 2024


Wanda Joyce Dees . . . McCary . . .

How does one write an obituary for a mom who simply ran out of time? Wanda had an insatiable desire to read, learn and do, so much so, she simply ran out of time. She had four children, four husbands, and at one time, at least four thousand books – on about any subject: gardening, sewing, science, cooking, pottery, stained glass, archeology, architecture, historical fiction, carpentry, upholstery, animal husbandry, hang gliding . . . yes, hang gliding.

The last of her small family, this scarily talented woman was born on the Ides of March (March 15, 1932) and passed away on Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17, 2024). Modena Tolleson Dees and R B Dees had two children: Wanda was the older and Bobbie Joe Dees Mauch was the red-headed younger sister. When Wanda was a young girl, the small Dees family moved from Bivins in northeast Texas to Woodsboro, in southeast Texas. R B (that was his name, simply R B) had many interests and concurrent occupations. While working for an oil company, he studied plumbing and eventually opened a small plumbing business; and he flew for the Civil Air Patrol and was a volunteer fire fighter. Modena worked for the U.S. Postal Service becoming a familiar face in the daily lives of Woodsboro residents. Wanda graduated from Woodsboro High School (at age 16) and headed to Baylor University to study art, where she met, and to the dismay of her family, married Billy Mack Bridges, the love of her life. She and Bill had four children: Kathryn Nelson (Mrs. Ted Nelson), Melinda Lea Bridges, Rebecca Anne Rice, and a son who preceded her in death, Rhett Ewing Bridges. Grandchildren: Meredith Nelson Jackson, Lauren Margaret Nelson, and Natalie Briggs Keable (Mrs. Skye Keable). Great grandchildren: Brooks Nelson Hill and Emery Holmes Keable.

Wanda began her professional career as a substitute teacher and later worked in the title and oil and gas businesses. She retired from Mitchell Energy in The Woodlands, where she made many lifelong connections. The “go to” person for family, friends and peers, Wanda usually had solutions and loved helping solve dilemmas. Her love for gardening was evident in the lush landscaping surrounding her home; reviving heirlooms was a frequent effort involving furniture refinishing and/or upholstery, etc. And her talent for creating resulted in numerous prom dresses, intricately decorated birthday cakes, and elegant stained-glass pieces. She savored the challenge.

Wanda’s love of reading was paramount in her life and fueled many of her efforts. Some described her as the “most well-read” person they knew. As a knowledge-thirsty child, she began first grade at age five, and subsequently skipped fourth grade. Books were her escape and continued to be her entire life until a stroke in 2006 robbed her of not only half her vision, but also her ability to read. Undaunted, and determined, she continued to find joy in life. Wanda’s family worried about her vision limitations, and despite their protective efforts, Wanda continued to collect needles, scissors, and other craft tools for her creative endeavors.

Family and friends already miss Wanda’s “can do” attitude, love of life and willingness to share.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations made to the

Rockport Center for the Arts

204 S. Austin Street Rockport, Tx 78382 361.729.5519

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Wanda Joyce McCary, please visit our flower store.


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