Waneta Wood had a positive outlook on life, was welcoming of others, happy and was a very hard worker. As her children grew up in Coesse, she had the house all the neighborhood children flocked too and had a home where her grandchildren and family enjoyed gathering at for Friday night meals.
With 10’s of thousands of people traveling the road and rail in America looking for work and twenty-five percent of the population on unemployment, 1933 was the worst year of the depression. The film King Kong premiered and Shirley Temple signed a contract with Fox at the age of 5. The World’s Fair opened in May in Chicago, in June, the first drive-in theater opened, the first “spotting” of the Loch Ness Monster was reported, and the popular board game Monopoly was invented. That same year Keith and Berniece (Wood) Leininger would welcome their fourth child, Waneta F. Leininger on August 21, 1933, into their hearts and home in rural west Allen County, Indiana.
Growing up on the farm, Waneta learned the value of work at a young age and preferred working outdoors rather than inside the home. As she became a teenager, Waneta would no longer be the youngest child. She attended school in Arcola and after moving into rural Whitley County in Union Township, she attended school in Coesse. Waneta was involved with the 4-H and graduated from Coesse High School.
On Oct. 25, 1952, Waneta married Max Dale Wood in Coesse, and with the two both being from Union Township, they knew it would be a great place to raise a family. A week after giving birth to their first child, Waneta applied for a job with Daniel Brothers Meat Packing for bookkeeping. With experience in resume, she went on to work for Town and Country before moving into a new industry.
For 56 years she was with Kelley Chevrolet, starting at Hefner Chevrolet and currently was a Controller with Midwest Auto Parts. For the past eight years, she also did bookkeeping for Indiana Material Processing.
After the death of her husband, Waneta would find joy again in her life when Don Merriman came into her life. For 30 years the two made many wonderful memories together and enjoyed going to car races, tractor pulls, camping and to auctions to bid on livestock for Kelley’s. To relax, Waneta enjoyed crocheting, quilting and embroidering. It was not uncommon to see her at a grandchild’s sporting game with needle and thread in hand or look over on car trips to see her embroidering. Waneta was always busy doing something.
Unfortunately for Waneta, she suffered a stroke and within two weeks would pass away with her loving family by her side at her home on Friday afternoon, Sept. 11, 2020, at the age of 87. Waneta is survived by her loving daughters, Patty Jackson, Penny (Tim) Arick and Belle (Bennie) Snyder; brother, Clyde (Marge) Leininger; seven grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and the extended family of Don Merriman. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Max Wood in 1987; longtime companion, Don Merriman in 2018; sisters, Helen Baxley and Maxine Voight; and brother, Jack Leininger.
A gathering of family and friends will be 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020, at DeMoney-Grimes Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. With the current Executive Order, face masks are required for attendance. Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. With limited seating, the funeral service may also be watched live on Facebook through DeMoney Grimes Live. Burial will take place at South Park (Annex) Cemetery where she will be laid to rest beside Max. Memorial donations may be given in memory to the Union Township Fire Department or the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Visit www.DeMoneyGrimes.com to send Waneta’s family online condolences or sign the online guest book.
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