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In Memory

Wanda L. Mayberry

January 18, 2013

Wanda L. Mayberry passed away in her sleep Tuesday, Dec. 18, in her Fort Collins home. She was 78.

Wanda MayberryBorn Feb. 5, 1934, on a farm near Brighton, Colo., Wanda was the third child of Frances V., and Homer Mayberry. She spent all of her early years in the Brighton school system. From a young age, Wanda was interested in medicine and longed to have a positive impact on others.

In 1956, Wanda earned a bachelor's degree from Colorado A & M College (later renamed Colorado State University) in occupational therapy and was especially skilled at using crafts as therapeutic media. In 1961, she received her first master's degree in occupational therapy from the University of Southern California. In the 1980s, she received a second master's degree and doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Denver.

In 1957, Wanda's first professional job was in New Jersey at the Matheny School (now Matheny Medical and Educational Center) for children with cerebral palsy and other developmental challenges. After graduate school, she returned to the Matheny School as coordinator of therapeutic services. In 1966, she joined the Peace Corps as an occupational therapist and worked with the group that formed the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement. She spent two years establishing occupational therapy clinics in and around Manila, teaching at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City and supervising other occupational therapists. She left the Philippines in 1968 and traveled the world, visiting Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Nepal and India. During a summer on a kibbutz in Israel, she picked and packed melons.

In 1970, Wanda returned to the Peace Corps, this time in Peru, working in the Peru National Rehabilitation Center after an earthquake. From 1973 to 2000, Wanda spent her academic career at Colorado State University as a faculty member, department head and coordinator of graduate studies. She retired from CSU in 2000. She is the author of many academic publications and designer of numerous professional workshops, one of which was presented in Germany for the United States Army.

Wanda was a tireless community volunteer, assisting with projects at O'Dea Elementary School, League of Women Voters, Garbage Garage, Lincoln Center, First Night Fort Collins, and the Children's Hospital Courage Classic Bike Ride. She was an avid bicyclist and Volkswalker and was devoted to her family and friends. She loved crafts, gardening and traveling.

She is survived by her sister Clara Reither of Denver (children Teresa and George), her brother Homer David Mayberry (wife Hap) of Delta (children Michael, Kathleen and Scott), as well as numerous grand nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made in Wanda's name to the charity of your choice or to Wanda's CSU scholarship fund. More information about Wanda's career at CSU and the scholarship fund is available at

Scholarship contributions by mail should be identified to the attention of the Wanda Mayberry Scholarship, and sent to CSU Foundation, P. O. Box 1870, Fort Collins, CO 80522-1870. 

Occupational Therapy colleagues remember Wanda:

"As I reflect upon Wanda and everyone’s memories of her, one thing I have not heard yet is her fiery determination, she was a person who got things done and nothing stood in her way.   She would find a way around it whether the challenge was her goal of earning a PhD at University of Denver when she was older than her advisor and caring for her mother who was in poor health, working in the Peace Corps in the Philippines, or coordinating the Master’s Program at CSU's Occupational Therapy Department.  Wanda was a strong advocate for what she believed in and she found a way to get things done.  Wanda had an uncanny knack to weave into her life a love of occupational therapy, traveling and good will for all," said Patricia Stutz-Tanenbaum, a coworker in the CSU Occupational Therapy Department.

"I always remember Wanda celebrating her OTR (the day she became a registered occupational therapist) birthday every year.  She would even bring a cake to share with everyone.  I really believe her OTR birthday was more important to her than her actual one. I also always admired Wanda’s dedication to students – she was a wonderful grad mentor.  It mattered not if she was studying and researching in the topic area in which a student had an interest.  She would take it on – and would use the student’s interest to teach them about the research process," said David Green, another OT colleague. "Whenever I think of Wanda, I will recall her determination to live life to its fullest. As Wanda wished, her body was donated to science, and no memorial service was held."

"Wanda Mayberry always facilitated opportunities for occupational therapy students to develop professional characteristics.  Just several months ago, I passed Wanda in the hall in the occupational therapy building and she said she was bringing a donation to help cover the cost for students to attend the Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado annual conference.  Wanda valued the profession of occupational therapy and one of her legacies is that she has helped develop that value in many, many students that have graduated from the occupational therapy department at Colorado State University," said Patti Davies, OT professor.

"Wanda had a love of life and big heart for everyone—a kind, gentle and generous soul who truly lived in gratitude and loved and supported CSU-OT and her profession with a passion. There is absolutely no replacing her nor denying the sadness of her passing. May her beautiful spirit continue to inspire us, as I have every faith it will," said Wendy Wood, OT department chair.

Contact: Dell Rae Moellenberg
Phone: (970) 491-6009