News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Wilma ‘Sam’ Manasse, September 17, 1924 — July 27, 2021

Wilma ‘Sam’ Manasse died peacefully at her home in Sisters, Tuesday, July 27, in the loving company of her sons.

Born in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, September 17, 1924, to Curtis O’Dell and Beulah Angeline (Riggs) Smith, Sam grew up on the family farm with her beloved sisters, Louetta Thurston, Leanna Holt, and the late Helen Burglund.

She recounted memories of her childhood with affection: playing music, eating biscuits and gravy, barefoot escapades through fields — acknowledging that while they didn’t have much by way of material wealth, they were content. Though her adventurous spirit would lead her farther afield, life on the farm graced her with an appreciation of nature, satisfaction in simplicity, and her Christian foundation.

She moved West with her first husband, the late Lee Clevenger, and together they raised four sons — Vernon, Paul, Mark, and Carl — in Fremont, California. Being mother to her sons was her proudest achievement and greatest joy.

In a later chapter of her life, she married Irving Manasse, and enjoyed fishing and hunting adventures with him around the world. They shared a happy home in Napa Valley until his death in 2004.

In 2010 Sam moved from Vacaville, California, to Sisters.

She loved life in Sisters. There was always a creative project in progress by her favorite chair – whether it be a quilt for one of her grandchildren, slippers for the newest great-grandbaby, or a hat to donate to a charitable organization. She found purpose and meaning in being of service to others, and especially loved volunteering with the Heartwarmers organization. She deeply cared and felt immense gratitude for her community of friends and neighbors.

Sam relished spending time with her sons and their families. A perfect afternoon consisted of a hotdog lunch with family on the banks of the Metolius River. She spent gatherings carefully planning and watching to make sure everyone was comfortable and well fed, giving generously — holding her space as matriarch with quiet dignity and strength.

From towheaded Missouri farm girl, to mother, to world traveler, to cherished community member, Sam lived as full and beautiful a life as anyone could ask for. She enjoyed a last meal of Mark’s biscuits and gravy and spent her last wakeful moments in warm conversation recalling good memories.

We will sorely miss you, Sam, though we are at peace knowing you are home with your family and God in heaven.


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