Ursula Claire Wayne

Ursula Claire Wayne

Surrounded by a loving group of family and friends, Ursula Claire Wayne passed away Monday, February 22, 2016 at Missouri Baptist Hospital in St. Louis. She had been in treatment for multiple myeloma since 2012. A recent bout with flu and pneumonia proved too much for her body and her strong spirit finally separated. She was 46 years old.

She leaves behind beloved daughter Isabella Bamnolker, age 11; mother Jane O. Wayne and step-father Sheldon Helfman; sister Justine Wayne; niece and nephew Lula and Sam, former husband Uri Bamnolker; and many dear friends and loving relatives who will deeply feel her loss.

Ursula’s father Sam Wayne passed away in 1992.

She was born on July 27, 1969 in St. Louis, MO and grew up in the tight-knit Parkview neighborhood of University City, a community from which she still drew friendship, inspiration and support.

Ursula was a graduate of University City High School and Kansas University. She was a curious soul who explored various professional fields without ever settling on one career path. She had a talent for creating beautiful spaces and enjoyed interior design. Ursula was also a gifted writer, having written for The Jewish Light and several blogs. She seemed to find an ease and assurance on the written page which sometimes eluded her in social interactions.

Being a mom to Isabella was the deep and abiding joy of her life.

Once she was diagnosed with cancer, she opened herself up to even more possibilities. She became passionately interested in raw eating, veganism, juicing, and meditation and trained to become a Yin Yoga teacher, Reiki Master and EFT Practitioner. Recently she had become very involved with cooking and gardening. As recently as a month ago she staked out her own plot at Maplewood Community Garden and was excited about gardening with school children, volunteering at Isabella’s school in between chemo treatments.

Those who knew Ursula well, remember her bright smile, resilience and indomitable spirit. She was a person who sometimes struggled with societal demands of everyday living; but still put herself out there.

A shy, solitary person by nature she opened her home to group meet-ups for memoir-writing and veganism. Friends recount how though it took Ursula multiple attempts to pass her driver’s test; she doggedly kept at it until she passed. These quiet triumphs of pushing herself past her own boundaries were a hallmark of her life.

Ursula requested to be cremated. A memorial service will be held in her honor at 11:00 a.m. Friday, February 26 at Central Reform Congregation (CRC), 5007 Waterman Boulevard. Visitation will be held beginning at 10:30 a.m. that morning. The family would especially like to thank the ICU nurses for their attentive care, Rabbi Talve and the CRC congregation for their generous, sustained support through Ursula’s long illness, and the St Louis Community and diaspora for endless love and sustenance. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) www.leukemia-lymphoma.org in Ursula’s name to help re-pay their generous support during her treatments.

The final words are Ursula’s own, “I guess that’s the thing. No matter what we do or go through, no matter what loss or upset, our heart can and will stay intact. Chemo messes with your brain. It takes away your memory and decision-making function, slows you down and makes you less “with it.” Yet, it has no capacity to touch your heart. In fact, if you let it, it can help you open your heart even further.”