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We celebrate with honor the life of a righteous lady who loved the Lord and her family with all of her heart. A celebration of life memorial service will be at Westside Baptist Church of Natchitoches, 6834 Hwy 1 Bypass, Saturday, March 25 at 3 p.m. for family and friends. Born in Erie, Tenn., to Wit and Grace Bidwell, Wilma spent her days on this earth in service to so many: her Lord, her family, her church and her friends. Wilma was blessed to have six biological brothers: RB, Joe, Don, Roy, Billy and Conley. At the age of 13, Wilma went to live with her Aunt and Uncle Reba and Lloyd Johnson in Kingston, Tenn. These loving relatives took her in to be their own, and with them she gained two sisters, Linda and Rhonda, and one brother, Danny. It was living with this fine adopted Christian family that Wilma blossomed into the Godly woman we all love. This family’s love for her and the Lord influenced her life greatly and she loved them all with all her heart. Wilma married the love of her life, Russell Dean Alexander Sr., in 1958. Many of us have heard them both tell stories of how they fell in love at first sight at a local basketball game. The love Wilma and Russell shared flourished quickly and they were blessed with three children, Vanessa Joyce, Veniessa Dean and Russell Dean Jr. Stairstep born children, these three kept Wilma hopping! She made being a homemaker look easy. She cooked, sewed, car pooled, taught Sunday School, served as PTA President, sang in the choir and chaired many committees at church and the children’s schools. She loved to be involved especially when it involved “eating.” All the while, she took extraordinary care of Russell, who worked shift work at the paper mill most of his career. Always the last to bed and the first to rise Wilma juggled many hats but always included time in the morning for her Bible study and prayer time. After the children grew up and married and had their own children, Russell retired and they began a new chapter in their lives. They gave more of their time and were more active in church activities. They dearly loved their church family at Westside Baptist in Natchitoches. Wilma had a beautiful singing voice and began using her talent for the Lord in her teens. She and some close friends and family members sang in churches and area “singings” in the Tennessee area around Knoxville and she told many stories to all of us about the joy of sharing the gospel through song and how she enjoyed “shouting” of the Lord’s goodness with such gospel greats as The Righteous Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys and other well-known quartets. Wilma continued her life of service to the Lord singing with the Joyful Sound senior adult group at local nursing homes, special senior events and volunteered at the Natchitoches Parish Hospital as a pink lady serving coffee and God’s love to patients in the hospital and long term care facilities. She and Russell worked out three or four times per week and they blessed many lives with the “joy of Lord” wherever they went. Wilma and Russell have six grandchildren, Bethany, Dan, Alicia, Kristen, Brittany and Colten as well as 13 great grandchildren, Elliott, Evelyn, Everett, Lyla, Heidi, Olivia, Dean, Bayla, Hayven, Ryan, AJ, Ma’Leah plus one expected to arrive in October. Nothing could make Wilma smile like a visit or photo of these beautiful blessings. These grandchildren spent lots of time with their MeMe over the years and many of them, as well as her daughters, attribute her for planting the seeds of faith as why they have chosen to live for the Lord today. In December 2015, Russell went to be with the Lord and his passing seemed to break Wilma’s heart. Many have said she just couldn’t stand to live without her true love. We celebrate a life well spent and though we had to say goodbye too soon we know that the gates of heaven opened wide for this godly woman to join her husband, son, family members and friends in Glory.

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