Elizabeth Ellen Wiseman (Liz) Waldrop passed away peacefully on February 23, 2019, at the age of 92, after battling Alzheimer’s Disease the last few years of her life.
A celebration of her life and entry into Heaven will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, May 11, at Kernville Church at 46 Valley View Drive, Kernville, Calif., 93238.
Elizabeth was born on September 9, 1926, to Percival and Gertrude Wiseman in Kernville, Calif. Her father passed away when she was 2 years old, and her mother married August Otto (Gus) Suhre, who she cherished as her father for the rest of his life.
She is preceded in death by her fathers, Percival Wiseman and Gus Suhre; her mother, Gertrude Suhre; her former husband, Lee Waldrop; her grandmother, Charlotte Pettypool; her beloved sister, Phyllis Jane Sherlock (PJ); and many other family members.
She is survived by her three children – Jeffrey Waldrop, Kurtis Waldrop (Brenda), and Vicki Meadows (Robert); five grandchildren – Jeremy, Nicholas, Phillip, Sarah, and Jessica Waldrop; seven great grandchildren; niece Sarah Fowler (Dennis) and daughter Shannon Stearns and son Matthew Stearns, nephew Michael Sherlock (Rebecca) and son Christopher Sherlock (Stephany) and daughter Emily Smith (Chad); and special cousins Harriet Ford and Sandy Smith and other extended relatives. Lee’s wife, Joan Waldrop, also became a special friend to Liz over the years. She is also survived by her beloved beagle, Molly “By Golly,” who lives with Vicki and Robert.
Liz attended Kern County High School, now Bakersfield High School, taking the weekly shuttle bus with her sister PJ to and from Kernville and living in the dormitories. She went on to obtain her degree from UCLA and would forever root against archrival USC in any sport.
Gus was the first Postmaster in the town of Isabella, and he and Gertrude owned and operated a general store and small motel, Gert’s Auto Court. Liz and PJ worked there scooping ice cream, grinding meat, on occasion sneaking out back for a quick smoke when they thought their mom wasn’t looking.
Movie stars of the 1930s and 1940s would come into Gus’s General Store when filming in the area. Liz loved to tell the stories of Clark Gable buying a magazine and Gus not letting her ask for his autograph, and Gene Autry asking to use their phone to make a call and Gus not knowing who he was.
After they were married, Liz and Lee lived in various places for his assignments as an Air Force bomber pilot, including Oklahoma, where Jeff was born; Hawaii, where Kurt was born; and Ohio, where Vicki was born; as well as Stuttgart, Germany. Liz loved her time in Hawaii and the view of Diamond Head and the Pacific Ocean.
Liz worked at Wright Patterson AFB in Ohio in The Foreign Technology Division with a top-secret security clearance for many years, much of it during the Vietnam War. The family then transferred to Germany. Due to her work at FTD, she was restricted from traveling into what was then East Germany. While in Germany, Liz and Lee separated, and she and the three children relocated to the Lake Isabella area.
Liz worked for 35 years at Kern Valley Hospital as a phlebotomist and laboratory technician until she retired at 87 in 2014. She loved helping people, offering a smile and kind words to patients of all ages. She was forever grateful to Dr. James Anhalt for all his kindness, consideration, and mentoring at the hospital. Dr. Anhalt remained a good friend and continued to write and call her after they retired.
Liz loved her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and instilled her faith in her three children, making sure they went to church and Sunday school and reminding them, “This is the day the Lord has made, we should rejoice and be glad in it.” She was an active member of the Kernville First Baptist Church, where she “made a joyful noise” in the church choir and was active in many functions. “God loves you and I do, too” were her frequent parting words to friends. She shared her faith and cared deeply for others. “God is still in control” was her regular comment when watching the nightly news.
If you knew Liz, you knew that she could never be on time to anything, something she shared with her sister PJ. This habit created the longtime family reference to “running on Waldrop Time.”
Liz was a huge sports fan. She loved her Dallas Cowboys and once got the opportunity to go to their Oxnard training camp and meet the players. She loved watching NASCAR and her favorite driver Jeff Gordon, and she was thrilled to attend her only live race a few years ago in Fontana. She loved watching Professional Bull Riding on TV and went to a couple rodeos with Vicki.
A highlight of her life was the time she and PJ were Grand Marshalls of the Whiskey Flat Days Parade. She was in all her glory in her black cowboy hat and red cowboy boots. Gus and Gertrude had also been Grand Marshalls. She loved so much about the Kern River Valley, stayed active in the Historical Society and enjoyed sharing the history of the valley. She was proud that five generations of her family were born in the valley. She loved being part of the Golden Girls and going to lunches with her friends.
At her home, Liz loved to feed the wild birds every morning, but she didn’t care much for the ground squirrels. Her sharpshooting skills rivaled those of her mother Gertrude in picking off varmints who would bother her bird friends.
Liz remained fiercely independent her entire life and did not like the restrictions Alzheimer’s struck her with or the assistance she required. She maintained her sense of style to her last days, always sporting matching outfits and making sure she had her jewelry on.
Liz should be remembered for her independence, her love of God, family and friends, and her kindness and ability to share a laugh, lift your day, and keep you in prayer to her Lord.
Special thanks to the staffs of Hoffman Hospice, especially Jackie Fitzsimmons-Higdon, and The Gables, especially Esther and Connie. The family would also like to thank Dr. William Gilli, Dr. Richard Alexan, Dr. Victor Holmes, and Dr. Craig Jex for their loving care and treatment over many years.
Finally, Cousin Sandy Smith deserves a special blessing for all her help with the estate sale.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to the Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Kern County in memory of Elizabeth Waldrop, who now lives in Heaven.