Waddell, Cynthia Ann (December 12, 1952-June 29, 2018) A Child of the Universe, A Light to the World, too soon extinguished. Retired scientist and community volunteer. Loving wife, mother, and devoted grandmother. Cindy passed away peacefully, surrounded by family and close friends, on June 29th. At the end, she taught us all lessons in Courage, Bravery, Dignity, and smiling in the face of Adversity. We already miss our dear “Goka” (a personal nickname for “Grandma”, created by, and given to Cindy 10 years ago by then 1½ year-old granddaughter Evelyn). But we are happy that she is now able to fly with the angels, pain free, in heaven.
Cindy was preceded in death by her parents, Jim and Elsie Waddell, and her older brother, Lawrence Waddell. Also preceded by her favorite cousin, Scott Anderson, and his mother, Cindy’s Aunt Phyllis.
Survived by her loving husband, John Narducci. And by her sons and their respective spouses—Vincent and Ari Narducci, and August and Staci Narducci. In addition, Cindy is survived by the Lights of her Life, her three granddaughters, August and Staci’s children—Evelyn Rose, age 11, Lucca Aurielle, age 7, and Mina Cynthia Elsie, age 6 months. Cindy is also survived by her brother, Wayne Waddell and his wife, Judy. There are numerous nieces and nephews.
Cynthia was born at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, IL, on Dec. 12, 1952. Third child of James and Elsie Waddell. She attended Woodland Elementary School, Washington Junior High School, and Joliet Central HS. At Joliet Central, her star began to shine. Consistently ranked at or near the top of her class academically, she graduated ranked #3 of more than 440 in her class of 1971. Cindy was editor of her school yearbook—The J. She was a member of the National Honor Society and first runner-up in the prestigious “Miss J” competition. She was chosen as class poet, and her poem was a most beautiful send off to her fellow classmates. Cindy read it to them at Joliet Central’s traditional “Ivy Day” Ceremony with the opening line--“This Is not the end…”
It was also at Joliet Central, in a Freshman English class, in Spring semester of 1968, that she met her soul mate and love of her life, John Narducci. They went on their first date, ice skating at Inwood Rink, in their sophomore year, on November 29, 1968. John was too young to drive so Cindy’s father drove. Thus, began a lifelong love affair that reached its 50th year here in 2018.
After a summer of ’71 trip to Europe with her church youth group, visiting London, Paris, and Rome, Cindy attended Joliet Junior College for one year, then a year at Northern Illinois University, then, the last two years, at the University of Illinois. She earned a BS in Biology from the U of I in 1975.
After a trip west in 1976-77, at the end of which John and Cindy took “the long way home”, traversing the famous “Highway 1” trip down the coast of California, taking 30 days to venture from Eureka, CA, near the Oregon state line, to Los Angeles. John and Cindy returned to Champaign-Urbana, IL, and Cindy completed coursework for her Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Illinois, in 1977.
Cindy married John in a non-traditional ceremony at her home on Baker Ave. in Joliet on May 29, 1977. Reverend Richard Wood, pastor of the Faith United Methodist Church just across the street, officiated. Cindy was a fierce feminist and chose to keep her maiden name, Waddell. Nowadays, that is an easy thing to do, but back in the 1970’s, it was a serious and bold political statement. She took criticism even from family members, but she stuck to her guns and remained proud of her decision and her family name, to the end.
In 1978, Cindy and John packed up the ’67 Ford Econoline Van for a second time and headed out west again. It was fall and getting cold in the Colorado Rockies, so the couple veered south, and, in a story steeped in Waddell/Narducci family lore, landed at the Arizona-New Mexico state line, trying to decide whether to go east to New Mexico (Cindy’s choice), or head west to California (John’s choice). They flipped a coin, and Cindy won the flip. Soon after, the couple found themselves driving to Silver City, NM, near the Gila National Forest.
With the help of some wonderful Silver City residents, Cindy and John both landed jobs with the U.S. Forest Service. Cindy always looked back fondly at her years as a fire lookout, first on Hillsboro Peak in the Black Range, then Lookout Mountain, in the remote northern Black Range, then, Signal Peak in the Pino’s Altos Range. She earned a reputation as an eagle-eyed “fire sighter”, able to sight “smokes” miles and miles away.
In 1981, Cindy gave birth to her eldest son, Vincent. He spent his first summer on the lookout tower with his mother. August was born in 1985. Cindy showed strength and bravery at this time as both boys were born at home, in a “little pink house” on 13th Street in Silver City. No doctors, no painkillers, just a midwife and family members helping her.
Cindy was a true New Mexico State University Aggie! She moved with John and kids to Las Cruces, NM in 1987, where John began his teaching career. Cindy quickly landed a job in research at NMSU. At first, she worked in horticulture, then she was involved in chile and onion research. She also worked in corn production. For many years, she was the NMSU cotton program manager, in charge of arranging for the planting of various strains of upland cotton. Cindy fought against tremendous sexism and was very good at her work. Her last 8 years were spent as a chemist in the Soil and Water Testing Lab (known as the “SWAT Lab”).
It was in the SWAT lab that Cindy met her “yoga buddy”, Barb. Two or three times a week, the co-workers would walk together from the Ag building up to the Activity Center for an hour-long yoga class. Cindy continued to meet Barb and go to yoga class long after her retirement from NMSU in 2012. The couple celebrated retirement with a three-week trip to Hawaii.
Cindy was an accomplished ceramic artist. She created beautiful works of pottery art. She was the owner of a small business, Organ Peak Pottery. Cindy sold her wares at various venues, such as the Franciscan Labor Day Festival, and the annual Potter’s Guild Christmas Sale, among others. She was particularly fond of making ceramic boxes, but she also “threw” many bowls and cups on her potter’s wheel. And she created many artistic non-functional pieces. She sold thousands of dollars of pottery through her business.
She loved participating in her favorite charity, the annual Empty Bowls Project. From selling tickets, to making bowls, to working at the event itself, Cindy threw herself into her volunteer work, always dedicating time and money and resources to her beloved project. She looked forward to the actual event each October. She loved the idea of helping the local soup kitchen feed the hungry and the poor and the homeless.
Though it was cut short, Cindy lived a wonderful life, touching many others with her gentle spirit, and her easy smile. She helped many a pottery student get going with clay, and she particularly enjoyed molding and painting pieces of pottery with her grandchildren, Evie and Lucca. She was the glue that held our family together, and she could never be replaced. We are learning the hard lesson of life without our dear “Goka.” We will tell her story to those who come after her.
In lieu of flowers, Cindy’s family requests that you donate in her name to the Las Cruces Potter’s Guild Empty Bowls Project—www.pottersguildlc.com, or the El Caldito Soup Kitchen—elcalditolc.org. Out-of-town people, if these options do not work for you, please donate to your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
A Memorial Service for Cynthia Ann Waddell will be held at 11 AM, Monday July 16, at Getz Funeral Home in Las Cruces, NM. Deacon Ed Misquez, from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, will officiate.
Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home, corner of Solano and Bowman Ave. To sign our local online guestbook, please log onto: www.GetzCares.com.