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Wanda Lanelle (Madaris) Fulton, 72, died Sunday, May 3, 2020, at her home in Panama City, Fla., after an extended illness.  The family will hold private graveside services on Thursday due to the COVID 19 restrictions.

She is survived by her devoted husband of 24 years, Keith Raywood Fulton. She is also survived by her mother, Sarah Lanelle Till Madaris, brothers Charles Thomas Madaris III (Katie) and Jack Till Madaris (Donna), and children David James Quezada, Lea Marie Quezada, Russell Raywood Fulton (Liza) and Benjamin Nehemiah Fulton. She also leaves behind eleven grandchildren — Sydney Juniper Quezada, Ryder Lyvelle Gaines, Sebastian Taylor Godby, Rhylie Madelyne Williams, Keith Skyler Fulton, Brent Russell Fulton, Brandon Raywood Fulton, Chloe Grace Fulton, Lilly May Fulton, Elisha Mathew Fulton and Ireland Rose Fulton — and two great-granddaughters, Nova Kaur Godby and Kaiya Kaur Godby, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.

She was preceded in death by her father, Lt. Col. Charles Thomas Madaris Jr., sister Martha Estelle Madaris and daughter Barbra Mary Fulton.

Wanda will be remembered as lively, energetic, outgoing, generous and graceful — characteristics which came together in her lifelong passion for dance. She continued dancing regularly long after her diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease in 2000. A gifted instructor in styles from disco to two-step to ballroom, it is impossible to know how many students learned from her. She earned the rank of Silver in country line-dancing and went on to judge competitions. It was through dance that she met her beloved husband, Keith.

She was born March 2, 1948, in Greenville. Growing up in an Air Force family, she spent some of her childhood in the Philippines (1958-60) and Japan (1965-67), where she graduated from high school on Itazuke Air Base. She worked as a lifeguard and later began a law enforcement career with the Los Angeles County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Department, eventually retiring from the Alabama Department of Corrections.

During 19 years of service at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women, she was a favorite among staff and inmates, whom she regarded with fairness and compassion. As the prison’s recreational director, she staged plays, organized a beauty pageant and talent competition, coached sports teams and ran the work-release program.

She enjoyed warm relationships with a large and far-flung family and helped multiple generations create lasting memories at Lake Martin.

Online condolences can be made at

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