Knowing Wilma Starkey

Monday, February 18, 2019

As her neighbor and friend for more than 50 years, we, too felt the pain in the recent passing of beloved Cherokee “community nurse” Wilma Starkey at age 87.

Through the years when summoned, Wilma would stop what she was doing and respond to apply her considerable nursing and medical skills to any and all in need, from a neighbor boy’s skinned knee, to changing a squeamish adult’s post-surgery bandages, to a concerned parent with a sick child.

Wilma worked as a registered nurse when moving to Cherokee in 1958. She worked at the Sioux Valley Memorial Hospital and the Cherokee Clinic before becoming the Cherokee school nurse, retiring in 1993 after 30 years of service, but continuing to serve the community on her own dime when called.

After retiring, she continued to help with the Early Childhood Learning Center and as the parish nurse for Trinity Lutheran Church in Cherokee. Wilma also taught at the Cherokee Mental Health and served as nurse for the NWIA YES Center.

She was a past president of the Iowa School Nurse Organization, named honorary referee for the Tomahawk Relays and was Cherokee Citizen of the year in 2001. She also served as a board member of the Cherokee County Work Activity Center, Cherokee County Fund Drive, and the Associated Charities.

Giving while serving was her credo even after she mourned the loss of husband Walt in 1981 in a tragic auto accident that also seriously injured her. She was devoted and steadfast as a mom, raising son Walt and daughter Karen while working full time and then some.

And then some…

That describes Wilma Starkey’s humanity and commitment to the community she loved and never left after moving here 60 years ago. Do the job, make a difference, limit the suffering, make things better. A true Guardian Angel at our beck and call.

And then some.