Melissa A. Wick

A beloved wife, partner, “great” aunt and friend, Melissa A. Wick, 71, began her newest adventure on May 21, 2021.

Melissa was born on May 5, 1950 in Hartland, Minnesota.  She graduated from Blooming Prairie, MN High School in 1968.  After high school she graduated from the University of Minnesota and then obtained an MBA through the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.

Her working career started in the Twin Cities and included stops at 1st Minnehaha Bank and V.I.P. Credit Union before landing at Twin City Federal where she met her future husband, Brian Kuehl, on May 16, 1984. Concluding her banking career, Melissa started her sales career first in Spokane, Washington and later in Lawrence, KS.  This included wholesale giftware sales representing Harlan Lutz & Associates in Washington and then with Pacesetter Enterprises based in Overland Park, KS.  She concluded her working career at a gift shop in Lawrence, KS and then by working part-time monthly for the U.S. Census Bureau.

All that work led Melissa to the “best job I’ve ever had” and that was retirement.  After a 12-year friendship, sometimes from afar, Melissa married Brian L. Kuehl on September 21st, 1996 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  She joined Brian in Lawrence, KS at that point and they began plotting the road to retirement.  Melissa’s came in 2013 followed by Brian in 2015.

Melissa’s Facebook page says it all:  Recreationologist and vacation specialist.  Prior to and upon retirement the world had become Melissa’s and Brian’s to conquer.  They traveled to all 50 states, 34 of the 50 state capitals, 28 National Parks, all of the presidential libraries, all the major league ballparks, Australia, Europe, Asia, Antarctica, South America, Iceland, China and Cuba.  And they were just getting started.

In between travel, Melissa enjoyed volunteering for the League of Women Voters of Lawrence Douglas County, as an usher at the Lied Center and she loved selling cookies and concessions at Theatre Lawrence. She also volunteered at Audio Reader reading gardening magazines for a blind individual.  She joined the local chapter of the NAACP and belonged to several book clubs.

Grateful for having shared her life, is her husband Brian Kuehl.  Her sisters Corrine Lenort of Blooming Prairie, MN; Carol (Mark) Bergo of Northwood, IA; Janice (Brett) Peterson of Waseca, MN; and Nancy (Doug) Wick of Waseca, MN.  Also, brothers Alan “Butch” Wick of St. Peter, MN and Greg (Lois) Wick of Waseca, MN.  In addition, she is survived by her mother-in-law Helen Kuehl of Moorhead, MN; brothers-in-law Wayne (Diane) Kuehl of St. Cloud, MN and Kelly (Dawn) Kuehl of Minneapolis, MN and sister-in-law Lisa (Kelly) Myers of Ada, MN.

Melissa also had many nieces and nephews, great and great-great nephews and nieces.

She is preceded in death by her mom Louise Wick, her brothers Kerry, Wayne, Jeff and baby Bruce Wick and a sister Elizabeth (Betty) Fuhs.  Also preceding her was her sister-in-law Donna Wick and nephews Rodney Spooner and Justin Peterson.

In lieu of flowers, consider a donation to:

Theatre Lawrence

4660 Bauer Farm Dr.

Lawrence, KS  66049

League of Women Voters-LDC

P. O. Box 1072

Lawrence, KS  66044

A celebration of her life will occur at 5:30 on Wednesday May 26th at Maceli’s, 1031 New Hampshire in Lawrence, KS. This will be following a visitation (3:00) and a memorial tribute (4:00) at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence KS.

Later celebrations of her life will occur in Minnesota and Spokane, WA at a date and time to be determined.

Stephen William ‘Steve’ Lewis

A Celebration of Life will be held for Stephen William Lewis on Monday, May 31 at Worden Cornerstone Church, 294 East 900 Road, in rural Douglas County. Friends and neighbors are invited to join his family at 11:00 am for a service of remembrance, comfort, and celebration. Steve was a beloved husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather, co-worker, neighbor, and friend. He died Friday, May 21, 2021 at his home, of cancer. He was 72. He will be sorely missed.

Steve was born on January 20, 1949, in Oak Park, Illinois. He was the second of 10 children born to Robert O’Dell Lewis and Verla Jeanne Schneider Lewis. Steve grew up in Hinsdale, a suburb of Chicago, in a rambling Victorian house full of love, laughter, and lost socks. Steve attended St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School, Hinsdale Township High School, and graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education in 1971. He married his high school sweetheart, Lorel June Rezek, on January 20, 1970, at Danforth Chapel on the KU campus. He called Lorel “the best birthday present I ever got.” She called him her “best friend.” “Their song” in high school was Happy Together. And after 51 years, they still were.

Steve taught junior and senior high school English and Language Arts for 7 years in Illinois and Kansas, then owned and operated his own business, Soots Me Chimneysweeping, for 10 years. In 1990 he hired on as a dispatcher for Douglas County and the following year was promoted to the rank of Deputy Sheriff. During his 25-year career with the Sheriff’s Office, he served as a Field Training Officer, firearms instructor, training sergeant, transport sergeant, and was a member of the County Jail Transition team, where he wrote job descriptions, policy, and procedures for the new county jail. He was then assigned to the corrections division. He supervised the kitchen and launched the inmate worker program. He moved to the training division and instituted in-house quarterly training for both the Operations and Corrections divisions. In 2008 he was assigned to special projects and served as the Public Information Officer. He also oversaw the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy, worked with the Citizen’s Academy Alumni Group, launched the Sheriff’s Facebook page, organized and initiated Project Lifesaver in Douglas County, developed the Drug Take Back program, promoted Smart 911, edited the Kansas Sheriff’s Association magazine, and represented the Sheriff’s Office in many state and local civic organizations. In 2013 he was reclassified to the rank of Lieutenant. When he retired in June of 2014 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal.

But Steve’s priority and joy was his family. He is survived by his wife, Lorel, and his daughters Molly (Jonathan) Glauner of Lawrence, Kansas, and Elizabeth (John) Rulifson of Shawnee, Kansas. He adored his grandchildren: Emma Rodgers, Lorel Rodgers, Kristina Rasmussen, Jack Rasmussen, Ray Rulifson, and Rose Rulifson. He also lovingly leaves behind his amazing brothers and sisters: Greg Lewis of Lawrence, Kansas; Jim Lewis (Nancy O’Connor) of Lawrence, Kansas; Connie Culbertson (Roy) of Belleville, Illinois; Nancy (Dan) Ward of Weaverville, North Carolina; David (Mona) Lewis of Livingston, Montana; Tim Lewis of Littleton, Colorado; Marsha (Jeff) Sebek of Chicago, Illinois; Andy (Juda) Lewis of Lawrence, Kansas; and Matt (Maggie Carpenter) Lewis of New Paltz, New York, as well as 20 beloved nieces and nephews. Steve loved, guided, and protected us all. As one neighbor wrote of him, “although my guardian angel is no longer with us in the flesh, I know he’ll still be watching over me. However, I will miss his side of the conversation when we talk.” Our sentiments exactly.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to Family Promise of Lawrence, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044. Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.

We love you, Stephen William Lewis. God be with you ‘til we meet again.

 

Nancy Marie Fowler

Nancy Marie Fowler died on September 24th, 2020 at The University of New Mexico Hospital from complications of ALS with family by her side. Services will be 9:30 am,  held on June 8th, 2021 at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.

She was born May 28, 1949 in Manhattan, KS to George and Clara (Kiefer) Branson. She graduated from McPherson High School in 1967 then attended The University of Kansas and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1972. She worked for the Kansas State Penitentiary for several years and then on the surgical floor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for 28 years. In 1992, she married David A Fowler in Lawrence, KS. Soon after his death in 2007, Nancy moved to Albuquerque, NM where she retired from Presbyterian Hospital. In 2020, she married Willa “Debbie” Carman. She survives of the home.

Her interests included a fierce love of reading and she enjoyed traveling very much. She also treasured animals, having numerous cats over the years but recently fell in love with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (Taffy).

Other survivors include: two daughters, Melissa and Mary Fowler, both of Lawrence; her siblings, Barbara Allison of Springfield, MO; David Branson of Lake Forest, CA; and Katherine Watkins of Parsons, KS; and close friend, Willa “mom” Hughes of Albuquerque, NM. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to ALS Association at https://www.als.org/, or American Cancer Society at https://www.cancer.org/.

Gertrud Kirkpatrick

Private services were held for Gertrud Kirkpatrick, 85, on Friday, May 14, 2021 at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home in Lawrence.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick died Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

She was born August 28, 1935, in Munich, Germany, to Heinrich and Berta Wüstinger. She earned her advanced high-school degree Abitur from St. Anna Oberrealschule in Munich in 1954 and her MS degree in mathematics from the University of Munich in 1960.

In 1964, Mrs. Kirkpatrick was hired by the United States Department of Defense to work as a Research Mathematician at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. She continued her career at NCR in Dayton as well as Giesecke & Devrient in Munich before retiring in May 2000. Returning to the United States in 2001, Mrs. Kirkpatrick lived out her final years in Lawrence, Kansas. She had been a naturalized U.S. citizen since April 1970.

She married Harry Brooks Kirkpatrick, Jr. on October 20, 1966. He died on October 5, 1973.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick is survived by her son Conan P. W. Kirkpatrick.

Memorials may be sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.

Jeanne Betty Heckler

Jeanne Betty Heckler, 94, passed peacefully in her sleep Thursday morning May 20. Born June 9,1924 in Enid, OK, she was the daughter of Nicholas Waken and Cleava Smith Haunstein.

Betty is survived by 2 sons, Richard Heckler Jr and his wife Beth Anne of Lawrence, Robert Heckler and his wife Alma of Lecompton, 7 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 5 great great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by husband Richard Merrill Heckler Sr., daughter Deborah Massard and grandson Brian Massard.

Graveside service will be 2pm, Friday June 11, 2021 at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Kenneth E. ‘Ken’ Fisher

Memorial services for Kenneth E. (Ken) Fisher, 93, Lawrence, Kansas will be at 11 am Saturday, May 22nd at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, with the Rev. Jeni Anderson officiating Inurnment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery with military services provided by the United States Navy and the American Legion Post 14. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Ken died peacefully on May 6, 2020, at Bridge Haven in Lawrence.

Ken was born January 6, 1927, the son of Samuel and Lilias Fisher. He was raised in the Alta Vista, Kansas community. He served 2 years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After the war he used the G.I. Bill and secured his first college degree in education from Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina.

His first year of teaching was in a one room school in Morris County, Kansas. He then moved to Council Grove, Kansas and while there for 10 years he was a teacher, a principal, and the Superintendent of the city school system. While in Council Grove he attended Emporia State Teachers College and secured his Master’s degree in Education.

Ken moved to the Lawrence School system in 1961 and was principal of the Sunset Hill Elementary School for 7.5 years; principal of Central Junior High for 2.5 years and Assistant Superintendent for Business and Facilities of the district for 19 years. During his time in Lawrence he secured his Specialist in Education Degree from Kansas University.

He retired from the Lawrence School System in 1990 and then taught Kansas Public School Finance and School Management classes in the Graduate School at K.U. for 5 years. During his 45 years in education he served on many state committees. He was president of the Kansas Association of School Business Officials (KASBO) during the 1981-82 school years and awarded their Distinguished Service Award in 1992. He was on many of the legislative committees of the United School Administrators of Kansas (USA) during the 1970s and 1980s. He also served on many local civic committees in both Council Grove and Lawrence.

Ken was preceded in death by 3 of his four siblings, and by his son Michael. He is survived by his high school sweetheart Helen, his wife for 73 years; his son Kenneth Joel and wife Denise; Mike’s wife Linda; 6 grandchildren, Laben, Jess, Jared, Makayla, Ashley, and Tyler; 4 great grandchildren, Kaden, Connor, Miles, and Wyatt; one step great grandchild, Kylie; and a loving network of extended family and friends.

Ken liked to play golf with his friends. And on special occasions he would write poems about his family and friends, and then read the poems at their gatherings. During the past few years Ken stated several times that he has been a lucky and fortunate person in that he has lived a reasonably long and healthy life; has worked in a vocation which he enjoyed very much; and has been blessed with a good and wonderful family.

The family suggests memorial contributions to the Lawrence Schools Foundation, in care of the funeral home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044.

Barbara Jean Newton

Barbara Jean Newton, 88, passed away April 3, 2020, in Hutchinson, KS. She was born July 30, 1931, to Austin and Alice (Blair) Ramsey in Arkansas City. Barbara attended public school there and graduated from the local junior college and later Kansas State University. She married Albert E. Newton of Dexter on October 27, 1950, at her parent’s home. He died May 4, 2019. They taught in several school districts across north central and western Kansas, retiring at Conway Springs in 1985.

During retirement they made their home in rural Arkansas City before embarking on full-time camping in the late 1990-96. Barbara loved to travel, read, tell a joke or funny story to whomever would listen, and quilt. She delighted in making quilts for each grandchild and great-grandchild and great-great-grandson. She and Albert were proud that they had visited each of the 50 states. They moved to Hutchinson in 2006 to be closer to family.

Other survivors include three sons – Chris of Lawrence; Craig (Kristy) of Decatur, TX; Clint (Joann) of Salina; seven grandchildren – Austin and Kevin Newton; Jamie (Mark) Pena and Tyler (Jennifer) Newton; Tonya (Bobby) Lawson, Tina (JD) Grace, and Stacey (Sterling) Montgomery, and two sisters – Marjorie (Fred) Wolf, El Reno, OK; and Betty Smith, Ferndale, Washington. Also surviving are eleven great-grandchildren, a great-great grandson, and a host of nieces and nephews. Preceding her in death was her husband, daughter-in-law, parents, sister, brother, two brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law.

A celebration of Barbara’s life will be held at St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Arkansas City on June 5, 2021, at 11 am and burial at Hope Cemetery at 2 pm near Arkansas City. Cremation has taken place. Memorial contributions can be made to Kansas Retired Teachers, Arkansas City Chapter.

Roma Rae Wisdom

We all have an appointment with those pearly gates. We weren’t ready but, in true Roma fashion, she showed up early.

Roma Rae Wisdom left us on May 14, 2021. There is quite the reunion going on as she joins her husband, Terry, her brothers Lloyd, Kenneth, Bob, and Larry Whitson, her sister Sophia Howell, and her parents.

She was the youngest of 6 feisty kids brought into this world by Eula and Velmer Whitson. Tragically, Velmer passed when Roma was very small. After a time, along came Walter Parsons. Eula and Walter fell in love and he embraced the whole family.

Roma grew up in Lawrence picked on by her siblings and exploring with her friends. Other than a short time in Iowa when her own kids were young, the Lawrence and Eudora area has always been her home.

Roma’s kids were her pride. Josh Fraser (Molly), Amanda Murtagh, Amelia Murtagh, Josh Wisdom, Amber Garcia (Greg) and Jason Spillman.

Her grandkids were her joy. Chase Fraser (Caitlyn), Kori Fraser, Kasey Fraser, Makenna Wisdom, Madelyn Garcia, and Taylor Spillman. And the greats, Carter, Benjamin, Joshua, and Graysen.

She found herself working for the sanitation dept of Lawrence and worked her way up, making it into the drivers seat of a garbage truck and becoming the first female garbage truck driver in Lawrence. Roma found her calling. If it could haul, she could drive it.

She had an affinity for scratch offs and casinos backed up by an unusual amount of luck and intuition. She could tell you which machine to play and chances are you would win. It was fun to watch.

Roma loved her garden but she loved her dogs more. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be made to the Lawrence Humane Society in her honor.

Services for Roma will be Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 2pm at Rumsey Yost Funeral Home 601 Indiana St. Lawrence, KS 66044. We want to hear your stories! Feel free to write a few memories down and bring them with you.