Monte Elizabeth Robbins Reese Flannery died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, June 7, 2014, at The Windsor of Lawrence, in Lawrence, Kan. She was 95.
Monte was born in Lawrence on April 27, 1919, to Elizabeth Winter Pontius Robbins and Monte L. Robbins. She was named for her father, who died a few months before she was born, killed in action during World War I in France.
The great-granddaughter of two Douglas County pioneer families, Monte was a lifelong Lawrence resident. She attended Lawrence public schools, and earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kansas. She taught English, drama, and history at Lane and Eudora High School, as well as Common Learnings at Central Junior High in Lawrence.
In 1944, Monte married J. Allen Reese, dean of the School of Pharmacy at KU. They raised three daughters, the Reese girls, within walking distance of campus. He died in 1964. Her second husband, Larry S. Flannery Sr. was the president of Weaver’s Department Store. The couple married in 1966 and traveled the world, including memorable trips to China and Greece. He died in 1987.
Monte was petite – just around five feet tall – with a forceful personality and a zest for life. Often decked out in bright pink lipstick and spiky high heels, she was a collector of antiques, an avid bridge player, and voracious reader, mostly of mysteries.
She was a member of the KU Alumni Association, KU Retirees Club, and University Women’s Club. She also served on the boards of the KU Faculty Club, University Women’s Club, and Women’s Auxiliary, established by Barbara Wescoe, for the Student Health Center. She was a co-sponsor and adviser for Kappa Epsilon, the professional pharmacy fraternity.
A passion for art and history led to memberships in the Betty Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Douglas County Historical Society, Kansas State Historical Society, National Trust for Historical Preservation, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Spencer Museum of Art.
Monte also served on the Lawrence Beautification Committee, as well as on the boards of the Douglas County Historical Society, Lawrence Country Club, Lawrence Girl Scouts, Trinity Episcopal Church, University Place Neighborhood Association, and the Watkins Museum of History. She was an officer and board member in the Chapter AZ of P.E.O.
She is survived by three daughters, Lee Henry of Olathe, Kan., Sue Hopkins and Gay (David) Schneider of Lawrence. Kan; two stepsons, Joseph (Paula) Flannery of Lawrence, Kan., and Father Robert Flannery of Carbondale, Ill.; seven grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren.
Following cremation, there will be a private graveside ceremony at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the J. Allen Reese Pharmacy Scholarship Fund at KU Endowment, or to a charity of the donor’s choice, in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home & Crematory, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044. Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.