Cherry Blossoms

Wilma Francis (Woods) Lambert

July 31, 1936 ~ May 1, 2021 (age 84)


Wilma Francis (Woods) Lambert passed away in her home on Saturday, May 1, 2021, after a stroke (December 2018) and a battle with breast cancer. She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to Kermit Mason and Willie Kate Woods on July 31,1936.  She graduated from Central High School in 1955.  She was saved and baptized in North Hills Baptist Church. Mom loved the Lord and we know she is celebrating in heaven with those that have gone before her.   

Wilma "Nanny" Lambert worked at several jobs throughout her life: as a cashier, a surgical secretary, and a lab assistant. The job mom loved the most was cashier at Pilot Convenience Store #264 on Magnolia Avenue. Wilma loved people, she loved all of God's children. There, mom was able to touch people from all walks of life, including the addicts, prostitutes, homeless and helpless, the preachers and teachers, even politicians and local television celebrities. She would encourage them in love, with a prayer, a meal, some comforting assurance that 'this too shall pass' and sometimes even stern motherly advice. She described that job as her mission field and felt that store was where God put her, her purpose. She was blessed by her customers as well, bringing home gifts of home cooked meals and desserts, not to mention a dollar or two when a customer won on their lottery ticket-Mom always said, "the Lord will provide' and just when she needed gas or a pack of cigarettes, a generous customer would share their winnings!  She too was generous to a fault and would do without so her children and others could have what they needed. Nanny was a blessing to so many people.  She provided shelter to many too. We would never know who was sleeping on the couch this week at the house. Wilma always considered her family to be one of her greatest treasures and would proudly show photos and talk about them to anyone that would listen. We are proud and honored to call her our mother. Those beautiful attributes of kindness, generosity, and non-judgmental love were inherited by us and for that we are so thankful and blessed.  

Wilma is preceded in death by parents, Kermit and Willie Kate Woods; brother, William Charles Woods and sister, Martha Ann Woods. She is survived by life partner, Darrin "Chop" Sanders and her 7 children, daughter Pat Ellis, son William "Buddy" Burkhardt and Amy, daughter Cindy and Jim Lavin, daughter Sandra and Brett Restivo, daughter Connie and Frank Stair, daughter Dawn Massengill Blubaugh and Robert, and son Donald and Latrina Massengill. She is also survived by her siblings, Barbara Smelser, Rebecca Wolfenbarger, Kermit Woods Jr and Debra Moyers. She was blessed with 16 grandchildren, 21 great grandchildren, and 1 great great grandson, not to mention the innumerable "adopted" children and grandchildren Wilma raised.

Mom requested no service, "I don't want nobody crying over my dead body that didn't come to see me when I was alive."  We will have a family celebration of life, at a later date. In honor of Wilma's life of service, please make donations to the charity of your choice in her honor, lift a brother up, pay it forward to a stranger, give someone a meal, a hug, a smile, some encouraging words, pray for them and think of Nanny as you continue to spread sweet unconditional love.

Gentry Griffey Funeral Chapel is honored to serve the Lambert family and invites you to view and sign the online registry.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wilma, please visit our floral store.


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