Wanda Louise ( Hughes ) Williford
May 4, 1935 – April 17, 2023
Wanda L. Williford, age 87, passed away on Monday, April 17, 2023, after a battle with dementia and other health conditions. She was born Wanda Louise Hughes in North Bend, Oregon, on May 4, 1935, daughter of Eugene T. Hughes and Florence M. Lambert. Wanda graduated from North Bend High School, class of 1953, and attended business school in Oakland, California. She met her husband, John Williford, in 1955 at the North Bend Air Force Station ( Oregon ), and they were married at her mother’s home in December 1955. Soon after their marriage, John was transferred to California, and for the remainder of John’s time in the U.S. Air Force Wanda followed and supported him as they lived at many, mostly small, Air Force radar sites throughout the U.S., including two years in Colorado Springs and four years in the Philippines. During their travels, Wanda worked various jobs, eventually beginning a career in banking in Slidell, Louisiana. After moving to Bethel, Alaska, in 1985, Wanda began working for Alaska USA Credit Union, where she was bank manager.
Upon John’s second retirement in 1994, he and Wanda returned to Oregon. They bought a small Victorian house built in 1908 in North Bend, which they renovated and made their forever home, a home that Wanda loved and was immensely proud of. In 1995, Wanda founded Native American Technology Corporation ( NATECH ), a small business dedicated to finding highly qualified employees to staff government contracts. Today, NATECH is a thriving small business with contracts with Northop Grumman, LEIDOS, CSSI, and the Smithsonian, to name a few. Wanda was proud of NATECH’s success, especially when it was awarded the Portland District Small Family-Owned Business of the Year in 2019 and the Pacific Northwest Region Small Business Subcontractor of the Year in 2022. With Wanda’s passing, the company will continue the strong foundation she and John built, with their family at the helm.
Wanda was also very proud of her Coos Indian heritage. She was an Elder of the Confederate Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians ( CTCLUSI ). She was descended from Caroline Evans, who received an allotment from the federal government for land that is now part of Shore Acres State Park. In April 1998, Wanda was elected to the CTCLUSI Tribal Council. She was the first woman elected as Tribal Council Chairperson for the tribe, a position she held from January 2000 until she left Tribal Council in February 2001. Under her leadership, tribal housing was built, administration and health care facilities were established, culturally important Tribal land was re-acquired from the Federal government, and she helped launch the Tribe’s first casino. She was also a strong proponent for the education of our Tribal youth, and she contributed money for scholarships for Tribal members to attend college.
Wanda is survived by three daughters and their husbands; Vicki and Kerwin Faciane of North Bend, OR, Wendy and Bob Garcia of Westlake, OR, and Jacquie and Larry Armstrong of Yuma, AZ; four grandchildren, Cori Kelly of Aldie, VA, Ashley Faciane of San Diego, CA, Amanda Craig of Bend, OR and John Faciane of San Francisco, CA; and one great-granddaughter, Samantha Kelly, of Aldie, VA.
Wanda was preceded in death by her husband of 65 years, John W. Williford; and her parents, Eugene and Florence Hughes.
Following her cremation, her ashes will be placed beside John at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Coos Bay. A memorial service is planned tentatively for June 11, 2023 at the CTCLUSI Tribal Hall in Coos Bay. Details to follow. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to any of the following: Confederate Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians Education Scholarship Fund, 1245 Fulton Avenue, Coos Bay, OR 97420.
Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com. Arrangements are under the care of North Bend Chapel, 541-756-0440.
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