Wanda LaDean Chadwick, age 79, passed away Nov. 3 due to multiple health complications. She was born on May 1, 1942. in Lubbock, Texas, to Harold and Ruby Mae Radcliff. In early childhood, her family moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., and lived at the Dyke Ranch. From first to third grade, she went to school in a one-room schoolhouse on the ranch property. At age 11, her baby sister, Sharon, was born, and life on the ranch consisted of bailing hay, 4-H, getting in trouble at school and loving on farm animals with her tagalong sister. She continued primary school in Pagosa Springs and graduated high school with 29 classmates. She graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango with a degree in business education and soon after, met and married Dave Chadwick. First daughter Shana Lynn was born in 1966 in Durango, then the family relocated to Lakewood, Colo., shortly after. Shannon Dean was born in 1968 and Sharlene Kay born in 1970. The family loved living, working and recreating in the Rocky Mountains and spending holidays at Dyke.
Wanda taught business classes at Red Rocks Community College, held numerous secretarial jobs and shuttled her kids to all their extracurricular activities. She loved the outdoors and spent hours planting and nurturing her flowers. Her other passion was spending time with family and taking care of her grandkids. Her wild side consisted of racing Corvettes and attending car shows and rallies on the weekends with her husband.
She had many talents. She was a wonderful landscape painter, she decorated cakes, sewed, and loved arts and crafts. She never liked to cook, but loved to eat green chile and guacamole, always with a big glass of iced tea. Her recent cravings were Ding Dongs with a glass of milk. Being a night owl, Wanda loved to watch horror movies, but during the day she would switch between “The Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie,” until reality TV came along and “popped” into her life with Dr. Sandra Lee’s “Pimple Popper” show.
She is survived by her loving husband of 55 years, Dave Chadwick; two daughters: Shana Lee and Sharlene Fairbanks-Kyte (Gary); son Shannon Chadwick; three granddaughters: Aja Lee McKinney (Trey), Jade Lee, Megen Chadwick; one grandson; Cody Fairbanks; three nieces: Kristy Luzar Montgomery (Shilo), Tracy Luzar Glasgow (Brent) and Casey Luzar Terry (Ryan). Preceded in death are her beloved parents, Harold and Ruby Mae Radcliff, and sister Sharon Radcliff Luzar. She had a core of lifelong friends that she loved and spoke with until her final days. She was the ultimate family caretaker, incredibly loved and will be missed by all.
Two of Wanda’s favorite sayings:
• What happens at Grandma’s … stays at Grandma’s.
• Apology — Although you’ll find the house a mess, come in, sit down, converse. It doesn’t always look like this: Some days it’s even worse.
A chapel service will be held Monday, Nov. 15, at 10 a.m., at Hood Mortuary Chapel, 1261 E. 3rd Ave., Durango, followed by a short graveside service at 11:30 a.m. at Greenmount Cemetery, 900 Cemetery Road, Durango. There will be a celebration of life reception at noon at Hood Mortuary Chapel.