She was born April 9, 1922, in Parsons to Harry G. and Velma A. (Parsons) O’Connor.
She was a 1939 graduate of Parsons High School and earned an associate degree from Parsons Junior College in 1941.
Wilda was employed by S.H. Kress Co., Rust Hardware and the city of Parsons Water Department. While working at the city, she met Manuel Junior Bayless. They were married Nov. 8, 1946. She later worked for Southwestern Bell as an operator while her husband served his country in Korea in 1951.
After the kids were grown, she returned to work as the PBX switchboard operator for the Katy Railroad until the depot was demolished in 1972. In January 1973, she went to work at Broderick Manufacturing Co. as the telephone receptionist until the company closed in 1991.
She was a lifetime member of First Christian Church and the Ladies VFW Auxiliary. She enjoyed quilting with the ladies on Wednesday mornings at the church, but always laughed about talking more than quilting.
Survivors include three daughters, Maribeth Long and Marsha Bayless, both of Parsons, and Patty Bayless of Miami, Okla.; a son, Brad Bayless of Parsons; two grandsons, Ryan Long and his wife, Kristin, of Kansas City and Alex Bayless of Parsons; a granddaughter, Jamie Bayless of Parsons; a great-grandson, Damon Long of Kansas City; a sister, Louise Volmer of St. Paul; a sister-in-law, Mayellen Bayless of Parsons; nephews, Merle Modesitt and his wife, Annie, of Thayer, Phil Modesitt and his wife, Donna, and Phil Volmer and his wife, Nancy, all of Louisiana, Tom Bayless and his wife, Debbie, of Parsons, Gary Bayless of Wichita and Steve Volmer and his wife, Penny, of Shawnee; nieces, Katherine Stitt and her husband, Stan, of Thayer, Cheryl Wallace of Parsons, Jane Arnold and her husband, Larry, of Topeka and Peg O’Connor of Denver; and numerous great-nieces and nephews, great-great-nieces and nephews, great-great-great-nieces and nephews, cousins, friends and many new friends she made while living at Woodridge Estates in Parsons.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Junior, on July 17, 2011; and her daughter-in-law, Robin Bayless, on Feb. 16, 2011.
After cremation, the graveside service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Dennis. The family will meet with friends from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Parsons Senior Center to reminisce and celebrate her life.
Memorials are suggested to First Christian Church of Parsons; the Ladies Auxiliary, Brown-Bishop Post No. 704, Veterans of Foreign Wars; or the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in honor of her daughter-in-law, Robin. They may be left at or mailed to Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home, P.O. Box 374, Parsons, 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.