Isabella Weslie (Wilder) Artman

Isabella Weslie (Wilder) Artman

March 23, 1925 – February 5, 2019

Isabella Weslie Artman died peacefully on February 5, 2019, at her home in the Lighthouse Care Community in Omaha. She was 93.  Isabella was born in Oakland, CA, on March 23, 1925, to Joel Osgood Wilder and Weslie (Wort) Wilder. When she was 3, Isabell moved, with her older sister Emma Jane and her mother, to Kearney, NE, to live in her maternal grandparents’ home (D and Emma Wort). She took piano and cello lessons, and particularly enjoyed dramatics, elocution and ballet. She felt Kearney was a great place to grow up.

Her future husband, John, moved to Kearney from Kansas when they were both in the 8th grade. They were in the same ballroom dancing class and found they had many similar interest, they became sweethearts early on and a lifelong love was born.

After graduation from Longfellow High School in 1942, Isabella decided to attend Mills College in Oakland, CA, where her mother and older sister had graduated. As teachers were in short supply, she chose to major in Elementary Education. Much correspondence and too few meetings helped Isabella and John decide to marry at the end of her junior year, after which Isabella would return to Mills to finish her senior year, while John started medical school in Kentucky, courtesy of the Navy. They were married at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kearney, NE on June 3, 1945. After graduating from Mills, she joined John in Kentucky for two years, during which she taught fifth grade students at a private country school. John’s medical internship took them to Independence, MO, where she taught a combined room of third and fourth graders. She was very proud of her teaching experiences. The next stop was Denver, where their first daughter was born. After a year in Denver, they moved to Hays, KS, where John joined a medical group. In 1951 a second daughter was born. With a 2-year-old and 4-year-old in tow, an 8 months pregnant Isabella took a plane and met John in Bremerton, WA. A third daughter was born right before John was sent to medical duty on the hospital ship Haven during the Korean War. Isabella took their three daughters to live in Kearney where she had the support of her mother, grandmother and mother-in-law. Once John returned, they drove back to Hays from Bremerton to continue raising their family. To their delight, a son was born in 1961.

Isabella greatly enjoyed her lifelong memberships in DAR and PEO and took an active role in these groups. She especially enjoyed researching her family’s history and genealogy. She belonged to bridge clubs, was a lector and active congregant at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Hays, enjoyed dance and supper clubs with John, and socializing with their many friends in Hays. After retirement, a vacation home in Colorado became a great source of fun with friends and family as well as many family vacations. Isabella loved to travel, as did John, and they saw a good part of the world via cruises with friends. She had many childhood friends she stayed in touch with through the years and enjoyed keeping up with Hays friends after her move to Omaha. Isabella bloomed where she was planted!

Isabella’s greatest treasure and her greatest source of pleasure was her family. She never tired of sharing the accomplishments of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Isabella was preceded in death by her husband John, and older sister Emma Jane.  She is survived by her children: Cyndi Hartman (Herb) of Omaha, Pam Artman of Kearney, Chris Lawrence (Patrick) of Colorado Springs, and John (Eleanor) of Seattle; grandchildren: April Clausen (Matt) of Omaha, Herb Hartman (Beth) of Sioux City, and Shane Hundley of Jacksonville, FL; great-grandchildren: Anna, Bennett, and Clara.

MEMORIAL SERVICE:  Wednesday, Feb 13th at 2pm at the Lakeside Lighthouse Chapel, 17600 in Omaha. Isabella will be entombed in the family mausoleum at Kearney Cemetery on Thursday, Feb. 14th at 2pm.  Memorials are suggested to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Kearney, NE.


  • Tara Conklin Posted February 9, 2019 12:51 pm

    Sending much love and condolences ……

  • Cynthia Barnes Posted February 9, 2019 10:25 pm

    Cyndi – I am so sorry to learn of your Mom’s passing. I know I should have been up to see her, but I just did not do that. I enjoyed her very much and was glad that we got to spend some time together with Omaha Chapter. Love to you and the rest of the family.

  • Linda Payton Posted February 10, 2019 11:18 am

    Prayin’ for her family.

  • Jeff Curtis Posted February 12, 2019 7:59 pm

    Cyndi, Pam, Chrissy, John, and family. Blessings and prayers and tears of joy for your mother’s life. I have many fond memories of you and your parents. I spent many sessions in your home on Lincoln Drive, trying to teach “Little John” to play piano on the baby grand. Rex spent many happy May weeks with “the boys” fishing on the Blue Bell. Rex and Marge both passed in 2012. Connie and I have always enjoyed your mom’s Christmas greetings, including the most recent. End of an era. I continue to practice Cardiology in Hays. No retirement in site. Much Love. Jeff

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