Alice Elizabeth Wells Lassman died on November 14, 2018 in her home near Wells Overlook Park, on the same land where she was born along with her twin Opal on August 9, 1923. Services will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, November 17th at the First United Methodist Church, 946 Vermont St., with the Rev. Dr. Tom Brady officiating.
The daughter of Forrest Elizabeth and William H. Wells, Alice may have only weighed three pounds at birth, but she lived a full and rewarding life. She attended Fairview School, a one-room schoolhouse a few miles away from the farm (uphill both ways, they said). When Alice and Opal were 15, their mother and sisters moved to town so the twins could attend University High School at the University of Kansas, where classes were taught by KU professors. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business from KU, and she served as the deputy clerk of the Douglas Count District Court from 1940-1952.
As Alice wrote in a recent Christmas letter, “I didn’t know that signing up for driving lessons would change my life as I was blessed to meet the best driving teacher in the world, Mr. Lassman. My innocent Christmas card sparked our first date.” A driver’s license was followed by a marriage license when Alice married William “Gene” Lassman June 3, 1951. Returning from their honeymoon, they were the last car to get back into Lawrence before the 1951 flood closed all roads. They went on to have four children within four years; Alice often remarked that her children and grandchildren brought her the happiest days of her life. Bill was a beloved printing teacher at Lawrence High School for many years.
Alice was baptized at the First United Methodist Church, where she was member all her life. She was a girl scout leader, cub scout leader, and very active with the Lawrence Hidden Valley Girl Scout Camp. She supported her children in the Konza and Meadowlark 4-H clubs, taught Sunday school at the First United Methodist Church, and volunteered for many Red Cross blood drives and with the Cordley School and Kaw Valley PTAs. She was also a precinct judge for Wakarusa Township for many years. Alice was active in the Rock Springs Recreation group, neighborhood craft clubs, the First United Methodist Church women’s circle group, and in later years, in the Fork and Knife Club and Travelogue group.
Alice loved to travel, and her children remember many adventurous camping trips in Colorado. After Bill retired, Alice and Bill traveled the world, including visits to help build Habitat for Humanity Houses in Kenya with her daughter Karen, and stops throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. She was an avid artist, working mainly in oil painting, and she also enjoyed crafts of many kinds. She also was a lifelong student of earth sciences, and until the end of her life delighted in having her son Ken read her Science News articles. She loved the Kansas City Royals and KU Jayhawks (pity the referee who made an unjust call against her beloved ‘hawks). She also was passionate about her family and her home, watching birds, and gardening. One of her proudest days was when her father, William H. Wells, donated part of the family land to Douglas County as Wells Overlook Park. Alice was thrilled to watch her eight grandchildren grow up, and in recent years, meet her great-grandchildren.
Alice is survived by her sisters Wilma Johnson of Seattle, WA, Eleanor Curtis of Oklahoma City, and Annette Wells-Gaston of Roeland Park; four children: Linda Lassman, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Sandy Brungardt (Brian) of Topeka, Ken Lassman (Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg) of Lawrence, and Karen Lassman-Eul, Springfield, MO; her grandchildren Karen Davis (Scott) of Prairie Village, B.J. Brungardt (Emily) of St. Louis, Nisha Jewsbury (Evan) of Joplin, MO, Dolly Lassman-Eul of Springfield, MO, Daniel Lassman of Madison, WI, Ujala Campbell (Raymond) of Fayetteville, N.C., Natalie Lassman of Minneapolis, MN, and Forest Lassman of Lawrence, plus five great-grandchildren and many beloved nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her husband, William Lassman, her sister Opal Hesselbarth, her nieces Judy Lassman, Janet Lassman, and Joyce Johnson, and her nephew Forrest “Woody” Hesselbarth.
Our family extends heartfelt gratitude to Apple Home Healthcare Services for almost three years of loving attention to Alice.
Donations may be made to the Lawrence Girls Scout Camp: Friends of Hidden Valley at www.dccfoundation.org through this link or through Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS 66044