Our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, sister and aunt passed away Thursday, May 5th, 2022, at the age of 94, in Austin, TX.
Verna Juanice Womack, (aka Juanice) was born in Boyd, TX May 28th, 1927, to Thomas Bryan Ward and Alta Mae Ward. She was the oldest of two daughters. Juanice grew up in Boyd, graduating from Boyd High School in 1941, being voted “Prettiest Girl” in her high school’s Who’s Who and Favorites. After WWII ended, she married James P. Womack on February 11, 1946. He graduated from Boyd High School in 1941 as Class President and although they knew each other, they had never dated before his return from the war. Since James was still in the Air Force and stationed at Carswell, they left Boyd and moved to Fort Worth. This was just the beginning of a lifetime of moves that mom always handled like a true military wife, with smoothness and no complaints. Although my father had entered the Air Force on July 10th 1942 as a buck private, in 1948 he applied for a commission in a program that granted reserve commissions and became a Master Sgt 1, with a reserve rank of 2nd Lt. Then, in the fall of 1948, he applied to a program for a full commissioned officer and was selected as an Intelligence Officer and they were off to Tucson, Arizona. Further moves came to El Paso, Roswell, Omaha, Alaska (an overseas post a that time), San Antonio and Midwest City, OK
In 1963 he retired from the Air Force rather than accept another overseas post, since my sister would be starting college soon and they didn’t want to be so far from her. They moved back to Fort Worth where he worked mainly for General Dynamics until he decided somewhere around 1975-1976 to enter the Civil Service and they were off again; this time to Washington, D.C. where he worked first for the Dept. of Defense and then the Dept. of the Navy for a number of years, eventually transferring to Wichita Falls to get closer to home to help their aging parents. After he retired from the Civil Service, they moved back to Fort Worth and finally to Decatur, where they lived until the passing of all their parents. Then it was back to Fort Worth for a couple of years and then finally to Austin in 2004 until their deaths. They enjoyed most of the places they lived and had great memories, but Texas was always home.
They had two daughters, Sheila Ann, born in 1947, and Deborah Kay, born in 1951. Mother was a full-time homemaker all her life. She always laughed about the fact that the only job she ever had was taking tickets at the movie theater in Boyd before she married Daddy. She joked that Daddy did come to the movies an awful lot after he got back from the war! They were married just three months after dating. Although she never worked a regular “job”, she worked many “jobs” for us. She was involved in the PTAs in our schools, even serving as PTA President in our elementary school; she served as Brownie leader, then Girl Scout Leader for my sister and Brownie Leader for me. (I think by the time I was ready for Girl Scouts we were both over it as I had already accompanied them on all my sister’s meetings, camping, etc.) For my father, she was active in the Officer’s Wives Club wherever they were stationed. While living in Decatur, she was involved in the Methodist Women’s Club at Decatur United Methodist Church, even serving as President at one point.
We could never have had a better mother. Throughout all those moves she managed to make it fun and exciting. She was always my best friend. She was everything from our cheering squad, protector, fixer of all hurts both physical and emotional, and a role model for motherhood. I grew up wanting to be exactly like my mother. When my sister’s surgery for a “cyst” turned out to be Stage 4 Ovarian cancer, Mother, my father and I were all devastated when the doctor came out of surgery and told us, but my mother was the one who managed to pull up the strength to tell her, as soothingly and encouragingly as possible, while my father and I just stood there afraid to speak for fear of breaking down in front of her. During Sheila’s chemotherapy, they made the trip from Fort Worth to Houston each treatment and nursed her through the next week’s after effects. They did anything they could to help her through these devastating times. One thing they did was eat nothing that would have strong food smells during that time which made Sheila sick; for the most part, they ate sandwiches and fruit only. Sheila did get to remission for almost two years but, sadly, the cancer returned, and she passed away November 28, 1990, one month before her 42nd birthday.
Mother is predeceased by her mother and father, Alta and Bryan Ward; her husband, James P. Womack; daughter, Dr. Sheila Ann Womack; brother-in-law, Rev. Dr. David Schoch; brother-in-law., Rev. Harvey Flowers; brother-in-law, Fred Womack; sister-in-law, Sue Smith; brother-in-law, Herbert Smith; and niece, Leslie Kay Smith.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. Dudley and Deborah Hodgkins; grandson and wife, James and Marissa Hodgkins and their daughters, Claire and Emma; her sister, Evelyn Audene Schoch, nephew and his wife, Steve and Bekki Schoch; nephew and his wife Jim and Marlene Smith; as well as several great nieces and nephews.
She is also survived by Dudley’s Austin family who accepted Mother and Daddy as part of their family from the moment they moved to Austin in 2004, calling them Grandmommy and Granddaddy (which they loved). Amy and Jeff Sasser and daughters, Katherine and Hally; Tracy and John Mol and son, Foster; Dr. Mary Kay and Pete Becher and their sons, Ryan and Ian.
We will be forever grateful to Silverado Memory Care where Daddy lived for two years until his death in 2019 and Mother resided most of the last 5 years. Prayers were answered when I found Michelle Neumann and Silverado in 2017. By that time, there Alzheimer’s/dementia was getting worse, and I could no longer care for Mother and Daddy by myself. They both needed more and Silverado provided that in spades. In my opinion, the care and love given by all the staff, regardless of position, is more than I could ever have hoped for. They were both content there and I loved to see how my mother’s face lit up with a huge smile whenever any of them stopped by. I will miss seeing her Silverado “family”. Thanks to all of you at Silverado Barton Creek!
Visitation will be at Cook-Walden/Forest Oaks Funeral Home, 6300 W. William Cannon Dr., Austin, Friday, May 13th from 10:00 – 11:00am. Funeral Service will be at 11:00. Please see their website www.cookwaldenforestoaks.com for details.
Graveside will be at Boyd Cemetery in Boyd, Texas, in care of Hawkins Funeral Home Decatur. Date and time to follow.
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