Wanda J. Monsees, 55, completed her life peacefully while in the company of friends and family at her home in Sedalia on September 18, 2014. She was born in Sedalia to Clarence and LaVerne (Kroenke) Monsees.
Wanda graduated from Smith-Cotton High School in 1977, served four years as a Signal Corps Specialist in the U.S. Army, and in 1989 graduated with honors from State Fair Community College with an Associate Degree in Business.
Whether she was having a good day or bad day, there was usually a sunny smile beaming down from Wanda’s six-foot-tall frame, because the feelings of other people were of primary importance to her. She considered every human being as members of her family.
For several years she worked as a server at Lee’s Chinese Restaurant and later at Patricia’s Mexican Restaurant in Sedalia. Her congenial nature endeared her to the families she served there. Hoping to see their favorite waitress, children on their way to dining at Lee’s were known to say, “I hope we get the tall lady!” For seventeen years, she also owned and operated Walnut Mountain Vending, LLC, stocking fresh treats in snack machines throughout the region. She delighted in being widely known as “the Chinese Waitress Lady” or the “Candy Lady.”
Elected in 2009 to represent Second Ward on Sedalia’s City Council, Wanda was so devoted to serving her constituents that she ran unopposed in every subsequent election for that office, until cancer forced her to resign in May, 2014. Her fellow City Council members chose to present Wanda with an outstanding service award for her dedication to promoting fairness in government. Her personal motto was, “Never stop insisting on a better world.”
From 2009 through 2012, Wanda volunteered as Vice Chair of the Democratic Committee for the 4th Congressional District of Missouri, and from 2007 through 2012, she served as Vice Chair of the Pettis County Democratic Committee. For several years during that period, she took the lead in organizing the Missouri State Fair Democrat Tent. Since 2012, she has been an active member of the criminal justice task force of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW).
Her volunteer activities at the local level included being a member of the Board of Directors for Pettis County Historical Society since 1985, and serving on the Board of Directors for the Rose M. Nolen Black History Library since 2011. Until her illness, Wanda served on the Board of Directors for the Pettis County Restorative Justice Program, and was also a member of Diversified Community Outreach, as well as being a monthly volunteer at Sedalia’s Community Café.
She is survived by her son, Jared Monsees of Sedalia; her mother, LaVerne Monsees of Sedalia; two sisters, Lois Curling (Samuel F. Curling, Jr.) of Richmond, Virginia, and Mona McCormack (Charles McCormack) of Sedalia; one brother, Eric Monsees of Sedalia; three nieces, Amanda Brown of Sedalia, Abby Monsees of Sedalia, Makayla Monsees of Tipton, Missouri; two nephews, Aaron Brown of Sedalia, and Samuel Curling III, Richmond of Virginia; two great-nieces, Ella and Brianah Brown both of Sedalia; several aunts, uncles, cousins, and many friends.
She was preceded in death by her father, Clarence H. Monsees of Sedalia; paternal grandparents Martin and Agnes Monsees of Cole Camp; maternal grandparents Walter and Ella Kroenke of Sedalia.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at Rea Funeral Chapel, 1001 S. Limit, Sedalia, with Dan Page officiating.
Family will receive friends beginning one hour prior to service.
Afterward, the community is also invited to a “Celebration of Life” beginning 5:00 p.m. at Fox Event Center, 104 E. 5th Street. During her last months, Wanda found pleasure in making arrangements for this reception. She hoped that her many friends, family, and acquaintances would attend, remember her life, and enjoy the music and refreshments provided.
Wanda loved to walk and bike along the Katy Trail. Plans are underway to place a memorial bench along the trail in her honor, between 14th Street and 16th Street, in Sedalia. She also loved listening to the chickens while sitting in the garden of the Rose M. Nolen Black History Library at 109 Lima Alley. A new section of garden is being planted in her memory. Visitors should look for the willow tree and bench near the chicken house.
The family would like to express appreciation to Wanda’s many friends and to Bothwell Hospice Care, for the kind support shown to Wanda during her illness.
Memorial contributions are suggested to one of the following charities, in care of the funeral chapel:
Pettis County Historical Society, Pettis County Community Partnership Re-Entry Fund, or
Rose M. Nolen Black History Library
Interment of her ashes will take place at a future date not yet determined.