Elwanda Bemrick, 100, of Dumas, TX died Saturday, May 21, 2022.
Services will be at Noon, Thursday, May 26, 2022, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Dumas, TX with Rev. Troy D. Scroggins officiating. Burial will be in Northlawn Memorial Gardens. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 500 N Maddox Ave.
Elwanda Bemrick was born December 15, 1921 in Frisco, Texas to Lydia Weems Stringer and George Washington Stringer. Later Elwanda moved with her parents and brother to the Texas Panhandle. Elwanda graduated from Dumas high school in 1940. After graduation from high school, she attended S.M.U. in Abilene.
During that time, the cowboys would come into town and take girls for horseback rides. This is how Elwanda met J.T. “Speck” Blackwell. They were married in 1940 shortly after the start of WWII. To this union two children were born, Joyce Blackwell Perky and Jay Blackwell.
Elwanda belonged to a tough generation that survived the depression and WWII. She worked at the Carbon Black Plant in Moore County Texas. When her husband was drafted into service, she followed him from camp to camp as long as he was in the states. When he shipped overseas, Elwanda was expecting their second child, so she and Joyce moved in with her parents who were living in California. During this time, Elwanda was baptized. While “Speck” was serving his country, Elwanda worked in the grape vineyards. The family all supported the war effort by rationing sugar, tires, and various other things. Evenings were spent listening to the news on the radio. It was always a special treat when packages arrived from the soldiers who sent sticks of gum.
After World War II she and her husband and children returned to Moore County, Texas. The young family lived on a ranch near Sunray that didn’t have any electricity or running water in the house. Elwanda acquired a treadle sewing machine. She made pretty clothes for her children out of feed and flour sacks while helping her husband farm, ranch, and raise their children. She was an excellent mother who taught Joyce and Jay many valuable life lessons. She taught her children to care for animals, make the best out of hard times by being resourceful and making do with whatever she had available. Both children fondly recall when she would haul them and their horses to rodeos while “Speck” was busy working.
Later she and “Speck” bought a trucking business and warehouse for drilling supplies. Elwanda worked as a secretary for this business. She also cooked meals for the employees, some of whom were extended family members.
When “Speck” and Elwanda were able to purchase some land east of Dumas, it became the first home of their own. Elwanda began to make it hers. She enjoyed interior decorating and design and did much of the painting and sewing herself. While the Blackwell family lived east of Dumas, Elwanda raised chickens, sold the eggs, sold Home Interior products, and sold cosmetics from her home.
Elwanda worked with her husband on the land and was an excellent mother. She was active in the Palo Duro Home Demonstration Club.
In the early 1960’s “Speck” and Elwanda sold their land in Moore County and moved to Missouri for three years where they ranched and raised cattle.
When they returned to Moore County in 1968, Elwanda purchased a business in Dumas. She began operating a ladies dress shop, The Boutique. She expanded by opening another “Boutique” in Borger. After a period of time, Elwanda sold the Borger Boutique and opened the Amarillo Boutique which she operated for ten years in the same location. In 1992, she celebrated 25 years of operating “The Boutique” business in Dumas.
After 35 years of marriage “Speck” passed away in 1975. Several years after his death, Elwanda met and married H.J. “Jake” Bemrick who after retirement assisted Elwanda in the Boutique business.
Elwanda and Jake joined the Lutheran Church in Dumas about 1996-97. Together they enjoyed traveling to his Air Force Reunions, attending family reunions, and tending to their garden and flowers.
After Elwanda retired, she and Jake moved to a retirement community in Amarillo.
Later, in order to spend time with Jake’s family, they moved to a retirement community near Arlington, Texas.
In 2014 Elwanda and Jake moved to The Legacy in Dalhart, TX. Later when Elwanda needed more care, her and Jake moved to Coon Memorial Nursing home.
After 34 years of marriage, Elwanda lost Jake in 2017. Her remaining years were spent in Dalhart at Coon Memorial where she celebrated her 100th birthday on December 15, 2021. Elwanda went home on May 21, 2022.
Survivors include her children: Joyce Perky Boise City, Ok, Jay Blackwell & wife Cindye of Clayton, NM. Grandchildren: Arlene Ellis & husband Rodney of Dalhart, TX. Chesna Smith & husband Joel of Capulin, NM. Mitch Blackwell and wife Kimberly of Springtown, TX. Tamsen Sanchez and husband Rey of Rio Rancho, NM. 5 Great grandchildren and 4 Great-great grandchildren. Stepchildren: Carol & Mark Cameron of Arlington, TX. Linda Clayton of Hurst, TX. Billy Guy and Laurie Bemrick, Hurst, TX.
Elwanda was preceded in death by her parents, her brother, her first husband, three infant grandchildren, her son-in-law, and her second husband.
Family visitation will be from 11:00 a.m.-Noon, Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the church, prior to the funeral service.
The family suggests memorials to Northlawn Memorial Gardens, PO Box 781, Dumas, TX 79029; or to Coon Memorial Nursing Home, 210 E Texas Blvd., Dalhart, TX 79022,
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