Esteemed Arizona music author WANDA WEST PALMER (86) passed away sweetly October 31, 2016, at her home near Christopher Creek, Arizona, to join heavenly hosts who bless God’s children on earth.
In a forest meadow, when Wanda was nearly six-years old, she sang, danced, and prayed joyfully to her Heavenly Father. She sang of birds, flowers, and God’s love divine. She trusted God could see her, and felt surrounded in his loving arms. The power and sweetness of this oft repeated event inspired Wanda to love and serve God in thanksgiving and song.
Highlights follow of Wanda’s family, heritage, legacy, and funeral services.
FAMILY. Family is Wanda’s great love. She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Melvin Palmer, and seven of her eight children Dennis (Christi), Larkin (Susan), Rick (Elane), Kevin (Vickie), Lynette Cole (Mike), Brenda Hon (Scott), and Darin (Brenda). As an honored matriarch, Wanda is also blessed with 39 grandchildren, 85 great-grandchildren, and more on the way.
Wanda was preceded in death by her parents, siblings, and youngest daughter LaDawn Wright (Kevin).
HERITAGE. Wanda was born in Lakeside, Arizona, on January 22, 1930, to Karl B. and Irma Hansen West. She is the sixth of seven children. She grew up in the Lakeside area until her family moved to the deserts of Mesa, Arizona, in 1941. In 1949, she married her high school sweetheart, Melvin. Together, they raised their family in Mesa. Wanda and her husband also dearly love the people of Christopher Creek and Star Valley, Arizona, which are near their mountain home.
LEGACY. Wanda loved to serve her Heavenly Father, and did so through untiring community and church service. For 72 years she served in many capacities that often overlapped.
Wanda is valiant in her testimony of Jesus Christ as a virtuous woman, angelic person, loving mother, abiding companion, devoted steward, persistent musician, and uplifting friend.
An important part of Wanda’s life and service is her music. To express “thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (Isaiah 51:3, 11),” she was blessed to compose over 240 pieces of music. One of her songs, “Oh, That I Were an Angel," has been sung around the world in many different languages.
A pinnacle collection of her music, including “Mary’s Lullaby," is used by the annual Easter Pageant on the garden grounds of the Mesa Arizona Temple every two weeks before Easter. Audiences that have exceeded 100,000 enjoy the Easter Pageant enlivened by original music Wanda was requested and inspired to write (See Isaiah 42:10,12). With 72 years of continuous service that began at age 15, Wanda is the longest, contributing member of the Mesa Easter Pageant, and its predecessor Easter Sunrise Service.
By those who know Wanda well, her life is recognized as a crescendo of faith, service, initiative, inspiration, endurance, enthusiasm, love, resilience, happiness, and “music…music…music!”
SERVICES. Funeral services will be held Saturday, November 19, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the Mesa Arizona Central Stake Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 925 N. Harris Dr., Mesa, AZ 85203. Visitation will be at the same location the night before from 6:00–8:00 p.m., and again on Saturday from 9:30–10:40 a.m.
Funeral arrangements will be under the direction of Bunker’s Family Funerals, 480-626-6363. Interment will be at the Mesa City Cemetery. Wanda’s family expresses sincere thanks to the hundreds of friends and loved ones who supported her and them the last few months in thought, prayer, service, and love. Special thanks to Compassus Hospice of Payson Arizona. Donations are suggested to Christopher Creek Branch, World Humanitarian Fund, 85 N. Emmetts Way, Payson AZ 85541.
See more on Wanda at www.EasterPageant.org,
WWPmusic.com, and www.wandawestpalmer.org.
EPITAPH. In the triumphant climax of the Easter Pageant finale, you can hear the heart and soul of Wanda proclaim, "I Know He Lives!"