Jessie Margretta Wiley Ullom, of Winter Haven, Fla., passed away Jan. 1, 2013, due to complications from cancer.
Gretta was born in Parkersburg, W.Va., on Dec. 4, 1941, and grew up in Belpre, Ohio. She was the daughter of the late Ralph Wiley and the late Genevieve Michelle Stealey.
She, and her husband, Gary, moved to Florida in 1963, and has been a resident of Winter Haven since 1966. Gretta worked for Sears Roebuck and Co. in the bookkeeping department until she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. She attended Polk Community College Nursing program and graduated, with honors, in 1977. Her nursing career began in a medical/surgical unit of Winter Haven Hospital, where she was employed as a staff RN. She worked as a home health nurse for Visiting Nurses Assoc. before returning to the hospital as the Head Nurse of a medical/surgical unit. Gretta later became a House Supervisor, and spent the last 20 years of her career as a Clinical Information Specialist in the Information Technology Department.
In this position, she used her nursing knowledge to build and maintain Winter Haven Hospital's clinical computer system. She retired in 2007, but continued working for WHH as a consultant until April of 2012. She touched many lives throughout her nursing career with her caring spirit and quiet, unassuming brilliance. As a younger woman, she enjoyed camping and hiking, and was a Girl Scout leader for both her daughters' troops. "Miss Gretta" became a role model to friends and family alike. Gretta loved to travel, and she and Gary had many wonderful trips, but were especially fond of going to Vegas and Biloxi where they enjoyed gambling. Bingo was her weekend sport. She loved vacationing at the beach and was an avid reader.
She was preceded in death by her parents and husband.
Gretta is survived by her daughter, Jana (Wayne) Giddings; son, Michael (Laurie) Ullom; daughter, Kara Ullom; grandchildren, Rachael Ford, Hannah Giddings, Matthew Giddings and Lindsay Giddings; brother, Rick Stealey; and nephew, Paul (Dawn) Ullom and their children, Alex and Ashley.
A memorial service will be 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kersey Funeral Home in Auburndale. Interment will be held at a later date at the Florida National Cemetery.
St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and the Humane Society were Mom's favorite charities, and for those who so choose, a memorial may be made in her name at stjude.org or humanesociety.org