Wynona J. Hamilton, 88, of Choctaw Beach, passed away January 28, 2021, of natural causes. She was born to the late William DeWitt and Ruth Weaver Jennings on January 27, 1933, in Niceville, Florida. Wynona is survived by her husband of 70 years, Ottis Q. "O.Q." Hamilton; her daughters, Vivian (Dan Frerich) Hamilton, Anise (Edd) Wight, and Teresa (Harvey) Johnson; her siblings Thomas Jennings and Chris Whitby; and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Wynona graduated from Niceville High School in 1950, where she was a cheerleader, known for her pretty legs. She later attended nursing school in Orlando, Florida, and served as a licensed practical nurse and phlebotomist at the Central Florida Blood Bank for nearly 20 years. Wynona drove the Blood Bank's 40-foot-long bloodmobile bus to support blood drives at sites throughout the central Florida area, including the Kennedy Space Center. A sample of Wynona's blood traveled into space on the Space Shuttle Columbia, on January 12, 1986, as part of the Initial Blood Storage Experiment, a scientific study aimed at developing better ways to store blood.
Wynona had many hobbies. She loved the outdoors and was often seen working in her flower garden. She was an avid hunter, taking a whitetail deer with her compound bow and a mule deer with her .243-caliber rifle. She also loved to travel, visiting Alaska in 1984, England and Wales in 1995, the Red Earth Pow Wow and Grand Canyon in 1999, and South Africa in 2004. Wynona was active in her community as a member of the Niceville Church of Christ and the Bay Belles chapter of the Red Hat Society. She also served as a Red Cross and hospice volunteer.
Wynona's true passion was genealogy. She interrogated everyone she met about their family name and history in the hope of meeting yet another cousin. She spent countless hours studying genealogical records in musty old libraries, church cemeteries, and internet sites. Her research filled many binders, and several of the articles she wrote about her family history were published. Her passion motivated her to organize many family reunions. She was proud to have been inducted into the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 2013 after her family research uncovered several relatives were early American patriots.
Wynona and O.Q. were married on July 2, 1950. They renewed their wedding vows in a virtual ceremony shared with family and friends on their 70th anniversary in 2020. True to form, she wore a red hat for the ceremony and carried a bouquet of yellow and white roses tied with a purple ribbon.
Those who knew and loved Wynona will remember her boisterous laugh and delicious potato salad and how she always wore one of her many pretty hats. We know she is happy to be in heaven now, so she can finally sort out those missing relations.
A private graveside service for Wynona will be held Tuesday, February 2, 2021, at Heritage Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery in Niceville, Florida.
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