Wanda Joan Kennedy

Wanda Joan Kennedy, 98, of Clear Lake, passed away peacefully on the morning of June 18, 2024.

Visitation will take place from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, June 30 at the Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 310 1st Ave N, Clear Lake; visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church Monday.

The funeral service will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, July 1, at Zion Lutheran Church, with Rev. Derek Crawford officiating. A luncheon will take place at the church following the burial. For those who wish to honor Wanda’s memory, donations may be made to the Clear Lake Arts Center (ClearLakeArtsCenter.org), an organization close to her heart.

Wanda was born on March 26, 1926, in Minot, N.D., to Irving “Speed” Wallace and Hinda Johnson Wallace. She graduated from Mason City High School before attending Stephens College and earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She went on to work as a journalist at the Globe Gazette in Mason City before meeting the love of her life, Jack Kennedy. Wanda and Jack married in 1949 and shared 72 years of marriage until his passing in 2022. Together, they farmed vegetables for over 50 years, built the Fort Custer Maze, and constructed the Guardian Angel Roadside Chapel on the east side of Clear Lake, visited by over 3,000 travelers per year. Wanda and Jack thoroughly enjoyed playing bridge with family and friends.

Wanda was a devoted mother to Sam Kennedy (Denise), Sally Roper (Albert), Scott Kennedy, Sue Bristol (Rich), adopted son Gedo Chang (Doris) and a cherished grandmother to Colton Kennedy (Courtney), Hunter Kennedy, Virginia Roper Conforti (Greg), Danielle Roper (Othmane), AJ Roper (Kristen), Charles Roper (Ronda), Zachary Roper (Anja), Samantha Bristol Ripley (Tyler), Jackson Bristol (Dani), and her 14 great-grandchildren.

Wanda’s life was filled with love, laughter and generosity. She was passionate about her patriotism and dedicated many years to volunteering with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), the Daughters of the American Colonists (DAC), the Children of the American Revolution (CAR), and the VFW Post 4868 Auxiliary. She was actively involved with many civic and charitable organizations, including PEO Chapter LE, 21st Century Club, Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, Women’s Club, and was a strong supporter of the Clear Lake Arts Center and Clear Lake’s annual Art in the Park event. Her legacy is one of kindness, strength and unwavering support for her community, family, and friends.

Wanda loved to read and share her knowledge. She had a unique ability to talk to anyone, believing that everyone had a story to tell, and she had a remarkable way of getting them to share it. She had a gift for turning strangers into friends and was always eager to meet new people. She loved to entertain and was selfless in every way, always ensuring others were comfortable and looked after. Her adventurous spirit led her to travel extensively, exploring destinations around the world, including France, Monaco, Germany, Norway, Iceland, China, Cuba, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Canada, Mexico, Korea, Hong Kong, South America, Alaska, Hawaii and yearly trips to The Bahamas.

Wanda was a dedicated member of Zion Lutheran Church, participating in the Church Circle and leading the Sunday School program.

Wanda will be deeply missed by all who knew her. Her loving spirit and warm smile will forever remain in our hearts.

Ward Van Slyke is in charge of arrangements.


Clear Lake Mirror Reporter

12 N. 4th St.
Clear Lake, IA 50428
Telephone: +1 (641) 357-2131

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