Wilma Jene Elder

Wilma Jene Elder (nee Jamison), age 91 of Lawrence, Kansas and Newton, Kansas passed away peacefully on November 24, 2020. Wilma was born July 19, 1929 to Leon “Farmer” and Mattie Jamison in Lansing, Kansas. The family moved to Linwood, Kansas in 1932 where Wilma grew up and graduated from Linwood High School. Wilma was married to Robert L. Elder, also of Linwood, Kansas, for 67 years before his passing in 2017. Once Wilma’s six children were grown she began a fitness career, teaching aerobics and strength training classes at Brandon Woods, her church and ultimately, Lawrence Parks and Recreation. She specialized in teaching older adults, helping seniors stay active. She retired from teaching at age 80 after a twenty-nine-year fitness career. She very much enjoyed helping keep seniors healthy, no matter their age. One of Wilma’s favorite sayings was “You don’t stop exercising because you get old. You get old because you stop exercising.”

Wilma was a life-long member of First United Methodist Church, Lawrence. She was involved in numerous clubs and activities including PEO Chapter FZ, Douglas County EHU and bridge club.

Wilma loved her family, her siblings and her many nieces and nephews. She is survived by her six children, Greg Elder (Sue) of Newton, KS, Terry Elder (Annette) of McPherson, KS, Mona Polom (Dennis) of Phoenix, AZ, Jeff Elder (Joan) of Lawrence, KS, Brad Elder (Melanie) of Quinter, KS and Randy Elder (Patricia) of Phoenix, AZ. She has seven grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, one sister, and two brothers.

A visitation will be held from 2 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 29, 2020 at Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. Private family graveside services will be held on Monday, November 30, 2020 at Mt Sidney Cemetery in Linwood, KS.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Wilma’s name to Barrow Neurological Foundation at www.supportbarrow.org or First United Methodist Church endowment fund at https://www.fumclawrence.org/giving/endowment-fund and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

6 Condolences

  1. Melinda Hammond on November 26, 2020 at 7:26 am

    Wilma was my fitness instructor for many years at Lawrence Parks and Recreation. She inspired me to show up 3 times a week for class in all kinds of Kansas weather 🙂
    I will always be grateful for her.

  2. Stephanie Sandino on November 26, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Wilma and I were roomies at my first Aerobics Conference in the late 80’s . She was so incredibly spunky and athletic, I loved her kind , gentle way she had when teaching her students ! She was truly someone I looked up to and wanted to emulate. I’m praying she’s having a lot of fun dancing in heaven !

  3. Peggy White on November 27, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Wilma was the first one who ever really interested me in exercise! She was such a motivator and encourager with her quiet, sweet spirit! I was amazed at her agility and ability to remember all the exercises so well! We enjoyed some times of conversation about the Lord Jesus that meant a lot! She was a dear, dear lady in every sense of the word. She is truly free now from her illness and at home with the Lord!

  4. Nancy J. Smith on November 30, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Mona, may God comfort you in the loss of your mother. I have often wondered what happened to you. Nancy

  5. Tyson T. Travis, LtCol, USAF (Ret) on December 1, 2020 at 11:10 am

    I am sorry to hear of Wilma’s passing. She was a real friend and supporter of my late mother, Margaret C. (Trudy) Travis in her capacity as a senior aerobics instructor for the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department until my mother’s passing in 2011. Her program gave my Mom something to look forward to each week, and I’m sure the exercise and human contact greatly increased her quality of life in her later years. Wilma would frequently stop and pick up my Mom on her way to class if her transportation broke down or I was not in Lawrence visiting to give her a ride. Thanks again to Wilma for her many contributions to the lives of her friends and students, I’m certain she made a positive difference and will be greatly missed.

    Tyson T. Travis, LtCol, USAF (Ret)
    Pine Bluff, AR
    Lawrence resident, 1946-1969

  6. Vicki Lysen on December 2, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    My heartfelt condolences to all of the Elder family. This most lovely woman changed my life – again and again – over many, many years! Wilma was the most genuine, kindest person I have ever known. Her heart was huge! Wilma always gave so much of herself – and she certainly did to me. She had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives. I took my first fitness class from Wilma in 1984. We quickly became friends. She encouraged me to also become a certified fitness instructor. She was the best mentor. Fitness education became my career until I retired last year. I am privileged and blessed to have known her. Thank you, Wilma, for everything, from the bottom of my heart. I love you. Vicki
    Vicki Lysen

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