Wilma M. Carter was born September 27, 1924 to Grover and Grace McGee in Gillette, Wyoming. She was the youngest of 7 children. She met the love of her life (Clarence Clifford Carter) and married in Hardin, MT at the age of 17. They had one daughter Bonnie Joanne Gladson soon after their marriage. Seven years after being blessed by their beautiful daughter Gary Lee Carter was born and she would say her family was complete as they had two perfect children.
Wilma challenged herself in many areas of entrepreneurship as she sold headstones, cleaned cabins, rented rooms and cared for rural high school students during the school year. Later she owned and ran a fabric store with their daughter. She was not involved in the day to day running of their ranch but was always making sure to have all the men fed heartily. She said she never went to bed until her husband of 48 years was home with her; as it was important to end that day and start a new day together. She always told her grandchildren that they never spoke a cross word with each other as there was no reason “we either had money or we didn’t so what was there to fight about”!
Wilma was a confident woman who spoke of challenging wrongs to make them right. She would be the first to set that high school student living with her down to visit if she thought they needed help, or standing up at the city council meeting speaking her piece and also testified at the capitol building on an oil and gas issue. She laughed saying “I just told it how it was with no B.S. no matter who I was dealing with. I figured they put their pants on just like we did”.
Wilma was very proud of having raised and influenced 19 high school students over several years. The families lived too far out and these kids would not have been able to attend school if it was not for the option of living with Clarence and Wilma. Wilma cooked three full meals a day and saw that their every need was met. As most of us know, high school age is hard for some and her boarders were no different. She was a mom to them just as if they were her own. The house was filled with love and they learned to get along with one kitchen table and one bathroom for all of them to share. Love abounded in the house and in Wilma’s heart for all kids that passed through her door. To this day there are boarders that would talk of those being the best years of their lives.
Wilma loved to play cards and she would be ready to “beat the socks off of you” anytime someone wanted to sit down at the table. She mostly played pitch, golf (card game), rummy and canasta. She had a passion for going to Vegas and later to Deadwood to gamble. She enjoyed playing keno and the poker machines. She and Clarence would take their motor home to Vegas and park at the Stardust Casino after retirement and spend several days just relaxing in the “motor home” enjoying each other's company. She always drove the motorhome as Clarence wanted to read the maps and topography and “just look around” according to her. They both loved to travel and in her younger years they always took one vacation a year, usually in the motorhome after they had bought it. Wilma claimed to have traveled to every state except the New England states, Alaska and Hawaii.
Wilma lost her husband to cancer in 1989 after caring for him in the home he built her so many years ago. She made it clear to her children and grandchildren that she expected to stay in that home until she left to meet Clarence up yonder. She was fortunate to have a family that worked to see that she was able to do that up until she had a stroke and needed to be hospitalized and passed away March 21, 2023 at the young age of 98.
Wilma is survived by her daughter Bonnie Gladson (Terry); son, Gary Carter (Patty); granddaughters, Janet Johnson (Colt); Jenna Castleberry (Cameron); grandsons, Troy Gladson (Mary Lou); Travis Gladson (Monica); Jeremy Carter (Delilah) along with 19 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.
Visitation for Wilma will be on Monday, March 27, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Walker Funeral Home. Funeral Service for Wilma will be at the Walker Funeral Home Tuesday, March 28 at 1:00p.m. followed by burial at Mt. Pisgah Cemetery. Family would be honored to have you join us for fellowship and refreshments at the community room there at the cemetery following burial. A memorial has been established to the Gillette FFA and can be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 W. Fifth St., Gillette WY 82716. Condolences may also be expressed at www.gillettememorialchapel.com