Bliss, Iris Wanda
Bliss, Iris Wanda
March 7, 1930 — August 8, 2020
With great sadness, the family of Wanda Bliss announces her passing in Olathe, Kansas on August 8, 2020 at 90 years of age. Wanda was born March 7, 1930 to Eddie and N.S. Iddings, the youngest of four children born on her parents’ farm in Pattonsburg, Missouri. She is survived by four of her five children and respective spouses: Rhonda Bliss, Christine Bliss, Ryan Bliss and wife Elaine Blatt, and Craig Bliss and wife Valerie Moore Bliss; four grandchildren and respective spouses: Adrian Bliss-Pohs and wife Kristi, Diana Bliss, Nathaniel Bliss and wife Mechelle, and Gabriel Bliss; five great-grandchildren: Kaylee, Natalie, and Finnegan Bliss, and Abbie and Sydney Garrett; sister-in-law Wanda Iddings, and many more extended family members and friends. Wanda was preceded in death by her husband Robert “Bob” Bliss; daughter Catherine “Cathy” Bliss; her parents; brothers: Garrell and George “Bud” Iddings; and sister Billie Amar.
Wanda was very loved and will be terribly missed by so many. How do you sum up 90 years of such an impactful life?
Wanda grew up during The Great Depression, and life on the farm was difficult, but she was tough, especially with two “ornery” older brothers. She played volleyball with her sister on the high school team, winning the Daviess County, Missouri, championship two years in a row. She graduated from Coffey High School, and soon after became a teacher in a one room school house, then a couple of years later, took a job with TWA in Kansas City, Missouri. At a church gathering in 1952, she met Robert “Bob” Earl Bliss, who was a Staff Sgt in the US Air Force. Bob was deployed to Newfoundland, so they married on November 24, 1952 and Wanda went with him, where they lived until July 1954, returning to Independence, Missouri just before the birth of their first child.
Wanda’s brothers played high school basketball, so she became an avid fan, later following college basketball. As a child, she grew up listening to the Cardinals baseball games on the radio with her family, then later, became a fan of the Kansas City As and the Royals, rarely missing a game on TV or at the stadium. Wanda was a “character” and when the Royals won the 7th game against the Cardinals in the hard fought 1985 World Series, she attended the celebratory parade dressed as “the fat lady singing,” which got some laughs from the Royal’s players as they went by and the surrounding crowd. It was difficult to get Wanda to sit down long enough to watch anything on TV … except sports. She also enjoyed ice skating events, and tickets to local exhibitions were favorite gifts she received.
Wanda was very busy, to say the least, with all five of her children born within six years, but with her love of sports, she made time to get outside and play Wiffle Ball and softball with them and their friends, who also called her “Mom.” She was the “fun” Mom. She rarely missed her children’s, grandchildren’s, or great-grandchildren’s school and sporting events. When her oldest grandchild started playing soccer, almost the entire family also started playing, including Wanda, who played on a co-ed team from the time she was 54 until she was 60!
Wanda also loved animals. She always claimed the white kittens born on the farm when she was a child. Her cat “Little One” who is still living in her home now is also white. Although busy enough with her family, she opened her home and heart to a variety of pets, including dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, fish, salamanders, a parakeet, turtles, toads, and even wild baby birds that had fallen from nests. She taught her children how to roll canned dog food into little worms to feed them. For years, she and her daughters also helped support a Sheltie rescue group.
When some good swing music came on the radio or TV, Wanda’s feet started moving and she would grab one of her children, especially her oldest son, and break into dance and song. Her husband wasn’t much of a dancer, so for many years, she would go out dancing with one of her lady friends, as long as Wanda’s oldest daughter would chaperone! Wanda also followed contemporary artists over the years and was a huge fan of Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, and Clay Akins, among many others. She and her second oldest daughter were diehard fans of American Idol, watching it together every week, and attending several concerts in the KC area. Wanda’s youngest daughter owned a travel agency and they traveled to some Springsteen concerts, once in Amsterdam!
Prankster Wanda would often hide behind the front door when her children and friends were coming in, then jump out and “snort” at them, always causing a heart-stopping response! She hid in the back seat of her oldest daughter’s car, with a paper bag over her head, then jumped up after her daughter had gotten in the car late one evening after work, to teach her a lesson about locking her car and checking the back seat before getting in. Helping the same daughter move into an apartment, Wanda had a load in her little pickup truck, which included some large trash bags of blankets and pillows, etc. on top. She threw a blanket over everything and tied it down. Viewing it from the side, it looked like a body under the blanket. She couldn’t let the opportunity pass and attached some old shoes on the end, so they were sticking out from under the blanket, and she drove across town that way, relishing the stares!
Wanda and her youngest son played pranks on each other for years using a large “walking” doll that had belonged to her second oldest daughter as a child. Her son thought the doll was creepy, which Wanda thought was funny, so they would leave the doll in strange places, doing weird things, so the other would find it! Every week for nearly forty years, Wanda baked sourdough bread, which everyone in the family loved. When her oldest grandson was grown, she would call him and her youngest son to let them know when she had a fresh batch done, instigating a race to her house to battle for a loaf to take home. Wanda’s notorious antics could fill a book!
Wanda had stayed at home caring for her family until her oldest child was eleven years old, then she worked in retail for over 20 years, and held an office position in a community club house for a few years, which she left in 1990 to care for her husband when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After his passing in 1992, she returned to work as a bus aide for special needs children, finally retiring at the age of 82.
Wanda never stopped working, though, constantly on the go caring for her house and yard, mowing her lawn, and gathering huge rocks from construction sites for her ongoing landscaping projects, as she always had. When Wanda was in her late 70s, her family had to hide her ladders to keep her out of the trees and off the roof. She once climbed her apple tree to prune it with her chain saw, and cut off some larger branches below her, so she couldn’t get down. She was rescued by her oldest grandson. Another time, she was on the roof cleaning the gutters and accidently knocked the ladder down. A neighbor heard her calling to him. Wanda’s favorite holiday was Halloween, and every year, she added to her collection of yard decorations. What her youngest son thought was a new witch decoration in a tree was actually 70-something Wanda in a long black coat, with her chain saw!
Although diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014, “GG”, as she came to be known after the birth of first great-grandchild, was always there for her family and never forgot any of them, and still danced with her oldest son as he held her up. She also never lost her beautiful smile. She passed peacefully in her home surrounded by family.
Wanda was cremated and her family will plan a memorial celebration of life at a later date, at which time she will be interred next to her husband, Bob, together with their daughter, Cathy’s cremated remains, at Park Lawn Cemetary in Kansas City, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the following charities in Wanda’s memory: Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer's Foundation of America, the ASPCA, and St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.
Wanda was cremated and her family will plan a memorial celebration of life at a later date, at which time she will be interred next to her husband, Bob, together with their daughter, Cathy’s cremated remains, at Park Lawn Cemetary in Kansas City, MO. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the following charities in Wanda’s memory: Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the ASPCA, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.