Willa Mae (Richardson) Jones/Gifford

Keith & Keith Funeral Home

Willa Mae (Richardson) Jones/Gifford, 83, of Billings, MT formally of Grandview and Selah WA, passed away September 13, 2017, at Aspen Meadows, Billings, MT. She was born April 21, 1934 in Newark, AR, to Coy and Nellie (McCurley) Richardson, and grew up in the Calico Rock, AR area.

Living up to her nickname, “Gypsy Woman,” mom enjoyed travel throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. In doing so she would enjoy visiting many lifelong friends, especially the Billingsley family of Violet Hill, AR, any local casinos or participating in numerous organized dance events, as she very much enjoyed dancing and good music of many kinds.

For many years Willa enjoyed her membership in the Grandview VFW; where she enjoyed marching with the VFW Post 6929 Honor Guard and her opportunity to honor our fallen veterans. She also enjoyed her time being a Camp Fire Girl troop leader when daughters Debbie and Tammy were participating in the Wapato/Parker Heights troops during the mid-1960’s.

Her early years of employment found mom working in fruit ranches and hop fields in Central WA, however her most enjoyable occupations were her working with the children enrolled at Parker Heights and Parker Elementary Schools (Wapato, WA school district, 1965-1971). Doing so as a teachers aide and assistant secretary. Upon her moving to AR in 1971, and attending business school she worked as a secretary for the city of Melbourne, AR.

Mom raised her family while living in numerous Central WA, communities: Tieton, Yakima, Wapato, Selah, Grandview and the communities of Melbourne, and Mt. Home, AR. Her last place of residence being in Billings, MT. This moving in itself personified her true Gypsy spirit, not wanting to stay in one place too long.

She is survived by her son, Kenneth (Rosanna) Jones and daughter Tammy (Kevin) Swindler, and grandson Jeremy (Lisa) Jones. She is also survived by 7 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. Willa and her late husband Clarence Gifford raised Jeremy from infancy due to the passing of Jeremy’s mother, Debbie.

She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers James and Bill Richardson, as well as daughter Deborah (Debbie); grandson Lance, son in law Gene Kyzer, and husbands Gerald Jones and Clarence Gifford. Mom always loved her pet companions and is survived by her last dog, Suki.

Funeral services will be September 18th at 1:00 PM, at Keith and Keith Funeral Home, Yakima, WA, with graveside services following at the Terrace Heights Memorial Park.

Please share a memory of Willa at www.keithandkeith.com.

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