Leta Rees, 91, one of Marion's best known longtime citizens, was noted for being an individual in a world dominated by conformists.
She died Nov. 5, 1999, at St. Luke Living Center, Marion, where she had resided since 1997.
At her services Monday morning in Valley United Methodist Church, Pastor Lance Carrithers captured the spirit of her long lifetime serving others.
Born near Solomon, Oct. 21, 1908, she was the daughter of the late Percival and Florence (Hough) Reese.
In 1916 her family moved to Marion where her father was manager of Seymour Packing Co. Leta attended school at Marion and after graduation taught one year in western Kansas. Following this she pursued an education at Research Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. She worked as a registered nurse before returning to Marion.
Leta was a longtime legal secretary for the law firm of Carpenter and Morse and, later, Morse, Batt, and Brookens. She also served as Marion City Clerk for many years.
Noted as a perfectionist, especially as a legal secretary, she also had a warm heart which prompted her to help others; including family, friends, and a multitude of stray animals.
One episode in her life that stands out was her effort, along with the late Judge E.G. Westerhaus, to save a mighty oak tree at the corner of Elm and Main. When highway crews were threatening to destroy the tree, she wrote a letter to the Marion County Record saying they'd have to cut through her body with their chain saws, as she planned to wrap her arms around the tree. Westerhaus, whose office was nearby, agreed. He drew up petitions which were signed, and the tree was saved. It stands today as a stalwart memorial.
She was active in the Democratic party and was a longtime member of Valley United Methodist Church. She also was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Marion Community Guild, and the Kansas State Nursing Association.
Leta's hobbies included collecting dolls and taking care of animals, especially cats that would come to her home. She also was an avid historian, reading about other countries and researching her ancestry.
Pastor Larry King read the obituary at the service and Sarah Lowry presented a personal tribute.
Nanette Lowry was the vocal soloist, singing "Love Lifted Me" and "Now the Day is Over."
Ruth Jo Penner was organist. Among featured selections were "Abide With Me" and "What A Friend We Have in Jesus."
Casket bearers were Jack Beaston, Bud Pierce, James Meier, Larry King, Gale Lowry, and Bob Edmunds. Honorary bearers were Roger Morse and Bill Meyer.
She is survived by sisters Anna Belle Baker and Mary Alice Parmley, both of Topeka; a nephew and niece, David and Mary Ann Siller, Dallas, Texas.
She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Dick and Fred.
Burial was in the family plot at Marion Cemetery.
Memorial funds have been established in her name with Valley United Methodist Church and St. Luke Living Center.
Grace Dougherty Newhouse, 78, Oklahoma City, Okla., the mother of Marion County Record news editor Matt Newhouse, died Nov. 1, 1999, in an Oklahoma City hospital following an extended illness.
Born June 4, 1921, at Hinton, Okla., she was a 1939 graduate of Hinton High School and attended Southwestern Institute of Technology, Weatherford, Okla.
She and Bill Newhouse were married Oct. 24, 1949, and recently observed their 50th wedding anniversary.
A soft-spoken woman, she was a kind and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend who was well known for her pecan pies and chocolate chip cookies.
A long time member of St. Francis of Assisi Church, she was a member of the Altar Society and Catholic Daughters of the Americas.
She had worked as an x-ray technician.
Friends and family say it was fitting that she died on All Saints Day, for she was a role model of Christian charity and love.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ray and Grace Dougherty; sisters, Rudelle and Maylene; and brother, Jim.
Survivors include her husband, Bill, of the home; sons, Jerry Newhouse of Oklahoma City, Jeff and his wife, Diane Newhouse of Oklahoma City, and Matt Newhouse of Marion; sisters, Margaret Dougherty, Ruth Heatley, Mary Jane Jacques, all of Mulvane, and Helen York, Robertsdale, Ala.; brothers, Ray of Oklahoma City, Kelly of Hinton, Okla., and Pat of Columbia, Mo.; four grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
A wake was held Thursday evening at Smith and Kernke Funeral Chapel.
Mass of Christian Burial was offered Friday morning at St. Francis of Assisi Church. Burial was in Resurrection Memorial Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Carmelite Monastery, Piedmont, Okla., St. Francis Commitment to Completion; Birthright; or St. Anthony Hospital Sisters Fund.
Norma (Acord) Levings, 90, died Oct. 28, 1999, at Buffalo, Okla.
She was a sister of Irene Kinsey, Marion.
Funeral services were held Oct. 30 with burial in the Buffalo Cemetery.
She was married to Raymond Levings Aug. 27, 1932.
Survivors include her son, Wilford Levings and his wife Gayle, Buffalo, Okla.; daughter, Frances and her husband Mark McVay, Wichita; nine grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; sisters, Irene Kinsey, Marion, and Lottie Potter, Hutchinson; and brother, John Acord, Sacramento, Calif.
Leonard Francis Klein, 79, Hillsboro, died Nov. 7, 1999, at Hillsboro Community Medical Center.
Born Jan. 8, 1920, on a farm in Marion County, he was the son of the late David D. and Rachel (Eberhardt) Klein.
He was married to Elma Hamm on June 10, 1938, in Durham. She survives.
Other survivors include sons Donald Dean Klein and wife Sharon of Tampa and Darold Lynn Klein and wife Beverly of Fort Collins, Colo.; daughter, Carol Ann Ollenburger and husband Wayne of Hillsboro; sister, Darlene Doris Paulson; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
He was a business man and a member of the Lions Club.
Services were held Wednesday morning at First Baptist Church, Durham, with Pastor Richard Curtis officiating. Burial was in Durham Park Cemetery.
A memorial fund has been established in his name at the church.
Robert "Bob" Gomez, 40, died Nov. 2, 1999, at Arlington Memorial Hospital in Arlington, Texas.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Church, Florence, with intermenty in Mount Calvary Cemetery.
The rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. Friday in the church at Florence.
Born Aug. 3, 1959, at Marion, he was the son of the late Demetrio "Mitch" Gomez and Demetria "Shirley" (Diaz) Gomez.
He grew up in the Florence community and graduated from Marion High School in the class of 1977.
He was married to Teresa B. Waner at Marion May 27, 1978.
After moving to Texas he became construction superintendent for D.R. Horton Custom Homes in Texas.
Survivors include his wife, Teresa, of the home; daughter, Rhianon Nichole, 20, and son, Dustin Nicholas, 16, at home; his mother, Shirley Goemz, El Dorado; sister, Gloria M. Chrispens and her husband, Gary, El Dorado; half-sister, Rita Dunning, Mustang, Okla.; brother, Tom G. Gomez and wife, Elizabeth, Wichita; five nieces; two nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his father.
Memorial funds have been established in his name with St. Patrick's Altar Society, 815 Marion, Florence; and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Dallas, Texas.
An assemblage of family and friends which exceeded the capacity of Valley United Methodist Church attested to the character of Donald LeRoy Smith during funeral services held Saturday morning.
The son of Robert E. and Shirley (Smith) Smith, he was born Aug. 20, 1955, at Goessel.
He grew up in the Marion community, attended local schools, and was a star athlete when he graduated from Marion High School in 1973.
His football coach during his senior year, Bill Pickering, remained a life-long friend and fishing companion. And Don, or "Smitty" as he was called by a multitude of friends, continue to support the MHS athletic programs.
While in high school he participated in the vocational-technical school program at Emporia, specializing in auto mechanics.
He was employed by Lynn's Truck and Tractor, Co-Op Grain and Supply, Zerger Construction, and eventually purchased and operated Smitty's Service Station in Marion. He was noted for his "full service" which extended beyond expectations. Many in Marion trusted no one but "Smitty" with their car or truck.
He remained in business until January of this year, when he had to sell-out due to health problems.
Those problems, leukemia, were fought valiantly by Smitty with the full support of the community. Drives were made, bone marrow examined, and dinners served to help him.
His fight received a great deal of publicity in the regional press.
Friends hoped he had won the battle, when the dreaded disease again reared its ugly head. Nothing more could be done. But, as usual, he met adversity with logic.
He was noted for his support of Marion athletic teams, his ability as a master fisherman, and his enjoyment of attending Kansas City Chiefs football games, holding season tickets for nearly 20 years.
Smitty was an Explorer Scout, achieving the God and Country Award.
He was a loving father who supported his children in all their activities. His lesson to them was that they must strive to do their best, and complete anything they started.
He was married to Neva Oller, his high school sweetheart, June 5, 1976, at Valley United Methodist Church. They enjoyed more than 24 years of life as a couple. They had two children, Steffanie and Eric. Their family enjoyed and treasured many moments, including some great vacations and family gatherings.
Survivors include his wife, Neva, of the home; daughter, Steffanie, a student at Kansas State University, Manhattan; Eric, a sophomore at Marion High School; his parents, Bob and Shirley Smith of Marion; a brother, Terry Smith and his wife, Sandy, and sons Ben and Dusty, of Sterling, Va.; his mother-in-law, Pat Oller of Marion; two sisters-in-law; and a multitude of loyal friends.
He died Oct. 31, 2000, at St Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.
The Rev. Tony Horsley of Valley United Methodist Church officiated at the funeral service, delivering words of assurance.
Jeff Martin, M.D., Lawrence, a close friend and fishing partner of Smitty for many years, delivered a heartfelt and eloquently worded eulogy.
Casket bearers were Bill Pickering, Grant Thierolf, Dr. Jeff Martin, Mike Ewert, Dr. Bruce Skiles, and Charles Kannady.
Greg Carlson, the vocal soloist, sang "The Wind Beneath My Wings" and "You've Got a Friend."
Laura Williams was the organist and accompanist.
Burial was in Marion Cemetery.
Memorial funds have been established in his name to benefit the Marion High School Track and the Leukemia Society of America.