In Memory of

Wanda Mae Chinnery

August 7, 1937 - March 13, 2023


Wanda Chinnery, unanimously described by her family as “the best of everything a human can be” passed away on March 13th, 2023 in Lee’s Summit, Missouri at the age of 85. Wanda’s kind spirit, warm heart and amazing intellect drew people to her throughout her life.

With great grandparents as the first pioneers who crossed the Sioux River to settle in Dakota, it is not surprising that Wanda was a pioneer herself as a mathematician – extremely early in tech. She was a beautiful person inside and out, kind, an excellent cook and hostess, and the very best mother and grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. Wanda saw the best in everyone, and cheered others to their utmost potential.

Wanda attended Washington High School in Sioux Falls, SD, where she was elected “Sweetheart” in 1955. She graduated summa cum laude in 1958 from Augustana College with a major in mathematics and english, achieved in only 3 years while simultaneously working at the soda fountain in the local dime store. Wanda immediately moved to Kansas City, Missouri (where she knew no one) to work in the Mathematics Department for renowned mathematician Yudell Luke at Midwest Research Institute (now MRI Global). She focused on Bessel functions, confluent hypergeometric functions, analysis of the Missouri highway system and biological warfare detection devices.

In 1972 Hallmark Cards, Inc. hired Wanda as an analyst in the Data Processing Division. She held many positions at Hallmark including Systems Development Manager, Manager of Data Processing Training, Manager of End User Technology and Director of Information Technology. She had the reputation for leading her group of nearly 300 by looking for the best each person had to offer and then inspiring them to be the best they could be together. Their teamwork was unsurpassed and the group became a family. Wanda reminisced about being one of the few early women in senior management at the company. She loved her years at Hallmark.

In the 1980’s Wanda was sought by the Reagan Administration for a key White House position in technology, but she withdrew at the last minute due to illness.

In 1999 Wanda moved to John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit, Missouri.  She was an active member of the community volunteering in the Computer Center and as a member of the John Knox Village Board, the PremierLife Board, and the John Knox Village Foundation. She repeated many of those positions multiple times and thought highly of “The Village.”

Wanda’s brilliant mind was only one aspect of this amazing woman. Wanda married William Thomas Chinnery, and their daughter Christy, born in 1963, was the joy of their lives. Wanda loved making the entire family as well as Christy’s friends feel loved and welcome at home and at “the lake.” She always cooked the best food for family gatherings, and Christy’s friends recall delicious breakfasts after sleep-overs. Wanda would often say, “I love those girls.” When she became a grandmother, she adored every minute she spent with Sommer. Wanda was known to be a frequent texter and Instagram “liker.” This included not only posts of her own friends and family, but also the posts of her grand-daughter’s closest friends. Tech loving Grammy didn’t miss a beat with the 20-somethings. She always knew what was going on in their lives and cheered them on for every success and life experience.  (The girls are laughing.)

Wanda battled an autoimmune disease (GPA) valiantly for 43 years after being given 6 months to live in 1980. She is thought to be the person who has lived the longest with GPA. Wanda credits her wonderful doctors at both Mayo Clinic and in Kansas City (many of whom became close friends over the decades) for their brilliant strategies and for working together to enable her to live a full life “to see her wonderful grand-daughter graduate from college and move to New York City.” Wanda’s family and friends marvel at the constant grace and determination she modeled daily. One nephew asked how she did it. She shared that on her worst days, she did something kind for someone else. We all know she actually did that every day of her life, and that became her superpower.

Wanda is survived by her daughter and “partner in survival” Christy Howard, Christy’s husband Joe, her beloved granddaughter Sommer and Wanda’s sisters Linda Rae (Shelp) Zirelli and husband Lou, Sandra Kay (Shelp) Tsiang and husband Hwai-Kee and Juanita Faye (Shelp) Dalton and husband Barry, as well as the much-loved Chinnery family and nieces and nephews from both sides of the family. Wanda was preceded in death by her daughter, Constance Renee Chinnery and her mother and father, Elsie and Ivan.

Thanks for taking the time to read about the woman so many of us admire for being ahead of her time, strong and always kind. As an act of remembrance, consider doing something kind today.

Services at Langsford Funeral Home, Saturday, April 8th at 9:30 a.m. with a visitation beginning at 9:00 a.m. Family is encouraging that colorful attire be worn by all guests.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mayo Clinic in Wanda’s name.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wanda was a Wonder Womyn and brought two more Wonder Womyn to life in Christy and Sommer. She was a cheerleader for so many in life. Her kindness was definitely her Super power! She was an inspiration to so many. Holding all of you in Love and Heart! You know you, Christy, and Sommer were her greatest joy!

It was an honor and a privilege to have known Wanda, aka Grammy. Grammy had a heart as big as Dallas and she never knew a stranger. She never complained about her situation. She chose instead to radiate light, goodness, and joy. She cared deeply for those her around her and you always knew that she loved you. Rest peacefully Grammy. 😇💖🌟

The world just lost a treasure. I worked for Wanda for a few years at Hallmark and saw firsthand what an amazing woman she was. She always had my six whenever senior management attempted to make changes. She was a fine lady. Rest in peace, Wanda.

What a beautiful tribute to Wanda, a brilliant, kind and brave soul. She always exemplified caring enough to give her very best. It was a privilege to have been hired by her and to have the opportunity to work for her.

A wonderful person who was fun to work with. My prayers are with her family. She will be missed.

Oh Christy💔
I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved mama.
Such a beautiful tribute for a beautiful, talented, intelligent woman. You were her rock. You gave her so much love and the very best care. How proud she is of you!
Know I am thinking of you and your family at this sad time.

Wanda radiates kindness. She didn’t do anything special but I knew even as a teenager Wanda was someone who made me feel accepted and I could sense her interest and enthusiasm in all of our activities. Her smile and touch had a way of making your day better. We are all so blessed to get to experience authentic joy and love. I am Sad for Wanda.I will miss he dearrkmyuu

Such a love— without demand, without expectation, without pretense. The sound of your sweet giggle shall never leave my mind. I love you so Wanda Mae. You’re as close to perfection as the Lord has made

I will miss her deeply and I’m very sorry for your, and our, loss.

She was one of the great women in my life. Even though I was only with her in person for a relatively short time.

Wanda was one of the kindest women I’ve ever known. Upbeat and inspirational throughout everything.

Just an amazing woman. With an amazing family. She loved her family deeply, and lived life to its best.

I had to do some research to try to understand some of the mathematical problems she was worked on solving. And I say try to understand… because I still don’t. Wow. Thanks for sharing those details.

It’s been a pleasure taking care Wanda on her very last breath and witnessed how she was loved so dearly by her daughter Christy.

Dear Christy and family ~ I’m heartbroken to hear about Wanda’s passing ~ She was a true super woman who’s kindness and generosity was endless. She never missed an opportunity to encourage and support her friends, all of whom she treated like family. Whenever I came to the lake, she’d invite Uncle Don and I over for dinner and intellectual conversation. How I’ll miss her loving Facebook comments (she never missed one) ~ Now that she’s joined the Angels, we are all called upon to follow her lead by supporting each other in this life we share together ~ will be looking for butterflies and know it’s her! As I light a memorial candle, May she rest in peace ~ so blessed to have known and loved Wanda ~

Love and prayers to Christy, Sommer, Joe and family! You were so blessed to have such a wonderful lady in your life! Rest in peace Wanda!

Wanda was a wonderful lady and she made so many friends at Hallmark. I think she was loved and respected by everyone she knew.

A wonderful tribute to a wonderful lady. It has been an honor, having her here with a chance to have hands on in her care. She will always be the beautiful lady I meet years ago. May she rest in peace.

One of the very best people I knew at Hallmark. She could inspire a person when they questioned if something was possible to achieve. When she told me we shared the same birthday I felt quite honored.

What a beautiful tribute that captures the essence of everything I knew Wanda to be. Wanda played a key role in both my personal growth and professional development while at Hallmark. She maintained a connection despite the fact that I left Hallmark almost 30 years ago. Such a beautiful person that always cared more about others than herself. The world is a little dimmer without Wanda sharing her kindness on a daily basis. So sorry for your loss. She will definitely be missed.

She was an amazing woman,not only very smart but so kind and compassionate to all she met..she was one of the first people I met when I started at Hallmark..a lovely soul that will be missed.

Lots of wonderful memories with Aunt Wanda. May you and the rest of family up in heaven have a glorious time. Love to you and miss you

She was a lovely lady. Gave me my first interview in I/T. With deepest sympathy to the family.

Christy ad family,
We were so very sorry to hear of Wanda’s passing.. She was such a kind and giving person, and I have such good memories of being with her on several ocassions. She was so helpful when we were all bitten by poison ivy on that crazy hike (coyotes, hors, poison ivy LOL). She laughed with us that day! She was such a girls’s girl, and I know how much she adored ALL of you.

We are sending so much love your direction.

Saraah, Artie, Lindy and Worth Blackman

I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. She was always so kind to me as it seems she was to everyone. I’m so very glad you two had such a strong bond.
With love and sympathy,

Love you Wanda, Christy, Joe, Sommer!!!
Wanda was an inspiration to all of us and beloved by parents as well!!
It was an honor to be part of her care team.
Our hearts go out to you!
Stay in touch

Dearest Christy!
I have so many wonderful memories of your mom–her thoughtfulness, patience, understanding, creativity, love of family, seeing the good in others, kindness, brilliance, ready laugh, the teacher in her, always knowing what anyone might enjoy or appreciate, and loving dedication to you, Sommer, and your dad. While I can only guess how much you will miss having her in your life, my confidence rests in the belief that she will never be out of your life. God’s blessings surround and uphold you always, Susan

We will be making a donation to Mayo Clinic in her name.

Nita. We are so sorry for your loss. What a great woman she was. Please know you and your family are in our thought and prayers.
Love and hugs. Sue and Dave.

Wanda was a wonderful soul and I was lucky enough to meeting her and spend unforgettable memories. She would genuinely deliver a caring conversation and she would create magic with her cooking. I will always remember with love the birthday lunch and Wanda’s cake for Colby’s 30th birthday. Wanda will remain in our hearts forever. My love for you Christy, Sommer and all the family. From Jenny and Reuben in Australia 💗


Saturday, April 8, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063


Saturday, April 8, 2023
9:30 a.m.
Langsford Funeral Home
115 SW 3rd St
Lee’s Summit, MO 64063