Wanda Kaythryn Esau, age 82, passed away on September 3, 2021 at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville Indiana. She was born at Christmastime in December of 1938 and what a gift Wanda was in our world. She was a child of Frank Davis Reynolds & Alice Marie (Gentry) Reynolds and grew up in a large family with her five brothers and sister. Wanda spent her childhood in Boonville, Indiana and enjoyed her life growing up on a farm. Her adventurous spirit beckoned her to California, so at age 20 or so, with her baby son Michael she moved to Los Angeles. It was there she met husband-to-be, Harry. They both worked in STATS Charbroiler restaurant in Beverly Hills, he as a cook and she as a waitress. She was a red-haired confident woman, blazing her trail, and boy she just bowled Harry over!
After a while the family of three moved to what was then a quiet and rural Thousand Oaks. They bought a house, and some years later welcomed their son Robby, his arrival being a very happy surprise. Wanda was bold and ambitious and pursued work in a male dominated profession. She became the first female meat cutter in Ventura County, California and she always loved to grill a good steak! She was very active in her union UFCW and always stood up for her beliefs.
She was a leader by nature and enjoyed being a cub scout den mother, she loved the times spent with her dear friend Fran, her son and his friends on their camping trips and activities.
Even though Wanda was a fiercely independent woman she had a softer side, she was sensitive, kind and giving and loved to take care of others. She was devoted to animals and loved her dogs, she loved our dogs, she loved ALL dogs!
Wanda was very giving of her time and resources; she shared her home with family members over the years and helped get them settled. She had a way of seeing what people needed and provided it in practical and meaningful ways.
Her strength and generosity were inspiring, and many happy years were spent in California.
In retirement she returned to her roots, Harry and Wanda bought a house in historic Newburgh Indiana. Granddaughter Rachel and baby Great Granddaughter Katie moved to their home and she mothered them both. She loved her girls and shared a birthday with Katie!
She took great delight in being part of the community in Newburgh and volunteered at the Welcome Wagon. She had a great sense of fun, making her crafts, decorating, gardening and cooking.
My happiest times with Wanda were cooking alongside her and getting platters of food ready for parties. On one visit to Indiana I must have gained 10 pounds in a week because the food she made tasted so good! On another trip we made baklava together and when she visited us in California she loved the chips and fresh salsa and abundant salads.
She perfected the “dump & stir” style of cooking, “ya just dump it all in the pan, stir it and you’re pretty much done”. She showed me how to make foil packet dinners on the BBQ calling them “hobo dinners,” she loved the fuss free cleanup.
Wanda was fun loving, she told me the ways she would turn chores into fun, like packing up all the bills and checkbook, going to a diner, enjoying biscuits and gravy and endless coffee while she got that chore completed.
We always loved to hear her voice messages, the way she talked, her high musical voice would say, “Hello, it’s your mother, I’m just giving you a buzz to see how you are...”
We all appreciated Wanda’s support and love and her big full giving heart.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Harry Esau Jr. and her siblings, Boyd, Donald, James, Joseph and Glenn Reynolds; and two sisters, Margaret (Reynolds) Gilaspy and Stephanie Ruth Reynolds.
She will be sorely missed and is survived by son, Michael Esau of Evansville, IN; son, Robert Esau and his wife, Miranda Esau of Thousand Oaks, CA; granddaughter, and husband Rachel Wells & James Wells of Boonville, IN; grandson, Shaun Esau of Evansville, IN; grandson Harry Esau and granddaughter Emily Esau of Thousand Oaks, CA; great granddaughter, & husband Katelyn Thomas and Nathan Thomas of Boonville, IN; great-grandchild, Zero of Colorado; and Wanda’s beloved dogs, Daisy Mae and Suzy Q. Over the years she overcame many health obstacles and defeated death several times with her determination and strength. She had a pacemaker defibrillator and was self-described as the “Bionic Woman”. All she wanted for her final years was to stay in her home with her pups and she got her wish living out her life in her little house in Boonville.
We can all take great comfort in knowing she will be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and reunited with her husband Harry, her parents, all of her siblings and her dear friends departed before her.
Rest in Peace Wonderful Warrior Wanda.
Visitation was held from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at Koehler Funeral Home in Boonville, Indiana.
A celebration of life will be held at 4 P.M. on Sunday at the funeral home.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to Arbor Day Foundation Friends unable to attend may send a condolence to the family at www.KoehlerFuneral