Obituaries: Jan. 30, 2020

Sandra J. Dailey

Dec. 9, 1944 – Jan. 19, 2020

Sandra “Sandi” Joyce Dailey, Garden City, was born Dec. 9, 1944, in Nyack, New York, the daughter of Melford Faynesby and Sophie (Jones) Quelch.

She died Jan. 19 at Research Medical Center, Kansas City, at the age of 75 years, 1 month and 10 days.

May 25, 1979, Sandi was married to Robert E. “Bob” Dailey in Garden City.

Sandi was employed as a bus driver for the Sherwood School District, Creighton, until her retirement in 2000. Earlier, she had been employed at the Garden City Garment Factory and later at the Clinton Chicken Hatchery.

Sandi was a member of Garden City Chapter No. 340 Order of the Eastern Star joining March 11, 1974, the First Baptist Church, Garden City, where she taught Sunday school and later, the United Methodist Church, Garden City.

She loved going to the casinos, being outdoors, mowing her lawn, gardening and sewing.

Besides her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Dailey, June 1, 2010; a great-granddaughter, Rylee Maye Woolery; and a sister, Eleanor Courtney.

Sandi is survived by a son, Jerry Fuller and wife, Amy, Harrisonville; three daughters, Mary Bryant and husband, Rick, and Donna Morris, all of Creighton, and Kathy Hopkins and husband, Rusty, Garden City; two stepdaughters, Tori Burris, Harrisonville, and Tina Powell, Memphis, Tennessee; 12 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; other relatives and many friends.

Funeral services were Jan. 24 at the Dickey Funeral Home, Garden City, with burial in the Garden City Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to the American Heart Association.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Dickey Funeral Home, Garden City.


Carl Duane Davis

May 31, 1932 – Jan. 22, 2020

“Duane” Davis, 87, died peacefully at his home surrounded by family on Jan. 22 following a heroic battle with cancer. Born May 31, 1932, at the family home in Johnson County, Kansas, he spent his early years in Martin City working the family dairy farm. He was a Korean War veteran and worked as a truck driver while raising his family in Raymore until his retirement in 1996.

Duane was a true country boy and loved the outdoors, driving his tractor and his ATV. Animals loved him and he loved all animals. His main love outside was clearing brush. Thanks to Duane, there wasn’t a thistle left in Cass County. He especially enjoyed fishing with his family. An exceptionally calm and patient soul, Duane never raised his voice to anyone and his patience never ran out. A loving husband and supportive father, “Gramps” was a friend to everyone he met and will be deeply missed by all.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl Remley Davis and Elta May Davis; his brother, William Reinsch Davis; and infant grandson Trent Davis.

He leaves behind his wife of 65 years, Marilyn June Davis of the home; his son, Jimmy Duane Davis; daughter, Doris June Clutter (Robert “Duce” Clutter); seven grandsons; three granddaughters; and a multitude of greats and two great-greats.

At his request, graveside services were Jan. 28 at the Freeman Cemetery, Freeman.

Arrangements were under the direction of Complete Cremation and Funeral Service, Harrisonville.


Michael R. Evans

Sept. 10, 1950 – Jan. 20, 2020

Michael “Mike” Robert Evans, 69, Harrisonville, died Jan. 20 at St. Luke’s East Hospital in Lee’s Summit. Funeral services were January 25 at Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville. Flowers or contributions to are welcome.

Mike was born Sept. 10, 1950, in St. Joseph, the son of Joseph and Betty (Brigman) Evans. Mike attended St. Joseph Schools and enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17. He retired with the rank of E-6 Staff Sergeant after 21 years of service to his country.

He worked for Phillips Roxanne, now known as Boehringer Ingelheim in St. Joseph, from 1976 to 1981, then went on to work for Consolidated School District No. 1 in Hickman Mills, Kansas City, from 1981 until he retired after 25 years in 2006.

Aug. 16, 1974, Michael married Deborah Layden in Newport News, Virginia. They were happily married for 45 years when he died in her arms. They meant the world to each other and vowed their love for each other would continue after death.

Mike was a good man that was loved by everyone he met. He was a loyal and loving husband. He was a loving father and no child could have ever asked for a better one. He loved all children and welcomed them into his heart and if they wanted to call him Grandpa, it didn’t matter if they were biological or not, he would be their grandpa.

Mike spent many years managing and coaching girls’ softball and he touched so many children’s lives that they have never forgotten him.

Mike and Debbie spent a few years as snowbirds in Arizona and Texas, where they fell in love with the Superstition Mountains. Mike’s final wishes were that his ashes be sprinkled in the Superstition Mountains so he could run free and climb mountains for the rest of eternity.

Mike was preceded in death by his mother, Betty; father, Joe; brother, Kenneth Evans; sister, Linda Hanceross; brother, John Hanceross; and sister-in-law, Anna Brigman.

He is survived by his wife, Debbie Evans; his children, Katelyn Evans of Harrisonville, Jennifer (Matt) Kerns of St. Joseph; Amy (Joey) Fernandez of Harrisonville; Leisa Hunsel of Belton; and Michael Evans of Fullerton, California.

Mike is also survived by his brother, Jim (Kathy) Brigman of Spring, Texas, and sister, Bridgette (Larry) Kissick of Warsaw.

Mike will be so missed by his grandsons, Isaac (Grandpa’s buddy) and Joey Fernandez; granddaughters, Makayla and Bailey Kerns; and many nieces and nephews who loved him so much.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Mary E. Hansen

July 6, 1953 – Jan. 21, 2020

Mary Elizabeth Hansen, 66, Archie, died Jan. 21. A memorial service was Jan. 24 at the Atkinson Funeral Home in Harrisonville. Contributions may be made to the Arthritis Foundation.

Mary was born July 6, 1953, in Clinton, the daughter of Edwin Paul and Ethel Edna (Gregg) Middaugh. She lived in Harrisonville until moving to Archie in 1982. Mary was a 1971 graduate of Harrisonville High School.

Mary married to Andrew “Andy” H. Hansen Sept. 12, 1984. She and Andy owned and operated American Steel and Fabrication in Archie until closing the business in 2006.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Andy, Dec. 19, 2010; her father, Edwin Paul Middaugh; her mother, Ethel Edna Wisner; a sister, Jennifer L. Middaugh; and a brother, Roger D. Middaugh.

Mary is survived by four daughters, Skiela (Jason) Reynolds and Cassandra K. (Michael) Williams, all of Archie, Melissa L. Middaugh, Urich, and Michelle Savell, Clarksville, Arkansas; a son, Jason Hansen, Pleasant Hill; three brothers: Edwin Paul Middaugh, Houston, Texas, Johnnie C. Middaugh, Nixa, and Shaun O’Neal, Aberdeen, Washington; two sisters, Patsy A. Wisner and Tammy S. Middaugh, both of Harrisonville; 11 grandchildren: Krysten R. Jacobs, Skylar Fikki, Kelsey R. Jacobs, Katelyn R. Jacobs, Madisen E. Middaugh, Caleb M. Williams, Colton A. Williams, Aiden Hansen, Brayden B. Daniels, Jacob B. Reynolds and Cali Hansen; and three great-grandsons: Kade M. Jacobs, Kameron M. Jacobs and Karter Andrew James Chapman.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Linda S. Laughlin

Jan. 26, 1959 – Jan. 17, 2020

Linda Sue Laughlin, 60, Harrisonville, died Jan. 17 at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Funeral services were Jan. 24 at the First Baptist Church in Archie, with burial in Crescent Hill Cemetery, Adrian. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Linda was born Jan. 26, 1959, in Paola, Kansas, the daughter of Richard Earl and Ruth (Melchert) Hocker.

She was a 1977 graduate of Archie High School. She married Dennis E. Laughlin Oct. 14, 1977, at the First Baptist Church in Archie, officiated by Denny Rives.

Linda had worked for Lake City for 36 years as an explosive technician before retiring in 2017. She was a lifelong Cass County resident.

Linda was preceded in death by her father, Richard Hocker; her twin sons; and a brother, Terry Hocker.

She is survived by her husband, Dennis, of the home; a son, Clint Laughlin (Susan) and a daughter, Kendra McCullough, all of Garden City; three brothers, Ronald Hocker (Linda), Phoenix, Arizona, Larry Hocker (Phyllis), Webb City, and Charlie Hocker (Cheryl), Overland Park, Kansas; a sister-in-law, Pam Hocker, Lee’s Summit; four grandchildren, Hailey Laughlin, Kaden Laughlin, Lexi McCullough and Marley McCullough.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Gerhard E. Mueller

Feb. 4, 1920 – Jan. 20, 2020

Gerhard “Jerry” E. Mueller, 99, Lenexa, Kansas, died Jan. 20 in Lenexa. Funeral services were Jan. 27 at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Lenexa, with burial in Freeman Cemetery, Freeman, under the direction of Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville. Memorial contributions may be made to the church.

Jerry was a true craftsman and a proud member of the IBEW for more than 70 years. He loved a challenge. One of his true joys in life was being faced with a problem that others thought impossible to solve and then conquering it in his own way.

He was a loyal friend. If someone needed help, he was there for them. He was proud of his family. Jerry had a spirit of adventure. He will long be remembered for those family vacations where he crammed his ever-expanding family into an old car and tried to see how many states, how many miles and how many attractions he could fit into his annual two-week vacation.

He was devoted to his church and served in many positions throughout his long life. The Boy Scouts were a passion. He served that organization as a scoutmaster and as a neighborhood commissioner.

Throughout his life, he was driven by fierce determination and an insatiable curiosity. Once he set his mind on something, there was no stopping him.

Gerhard was preceded in death by his parents, George and Alma Mueller; his brother, George; his sister, Alma Flickinger; and two children, Harlan and Karen.

He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Lillian; his sons, Donald (wife, Pamela), Lloyd (wife, Kim), Carl (wife, Tatiana), and Keith (wife, Melba); his daughter, Jan Akers (husband, Gary), his 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Lester Smith

Sept. 22, 1952 – Jan. 16, 2020

Lester Smith, 67, Peculiar, died Jan. 16 at his home in Peculiar. Funeral services were Jan. 20 at the Drexel First Christian Church in Drexel. Burial was in Glenwild Cemetery, Cleveland.

Lester Ray Smith, fondly known as Paw Paw, was born Sept. 22, 1952, left to join the heavenly party, on his terms, peacefully, at his home. In his 67 years of life, Paw Paw saw, did and lived big. A loving son of Dave and Lucille Metcalfe Willhoite.

He served his country with the United States Navy for one and one-half years, fighting in the Vietnam War. After his honorable discharge, he continued his civil service being appointed as a Drexel police officer. After such, moving on to his most treacherous career role as a Walmart employee. He retired after 30 years as a Sam’s Club manager.

Early in his career while at work, he met and fell madly in love with the one and only Susie. They were married two weeks after meeting on Dec. 12, 1986. They held strong for all 33 years. In Lester’s eyes, Susie was the “Ying to his Yang.” She could do no wrong. Their love was of fire and grit. He loved her like he could no other.

To Susie, Paw Paw was her “one-man fan club.” Everyday together, he continued to look at her through those rose-colored glasses. Being her relentless supporter regardless how off the wall her ideas had become. Susie reciprocated her admiration for Lester by advocating her mantra, “if it’s not the man you have, kick them down the road until you find him.”

Oh, but much would happen in those 33 years. Lester’s son Shane Smith, who’s living a strong life of love with Shannon, is father to Blake and Aiden. Shane’s little no-nonsense sister, Deana, has built a beautiful family with Brad. Challenged daily by son Braden, who is twice as tall as the both of them. And little miss Addy, who can move twice as fast as both.

Daughter Michelle, who may have brought on Lester’s first heart attack by being awakened in the middle of the night (four weeks after marrying Susie) to kick a boy out of the house in his skivvies, who had snuck into her room. And I quote, “Boy, it’s about time for you to be leaving.” Michelle’s two sons, Blake and Brocc, may carry on that tradition. Daughter Christina, with her boys Austin, who dumped Paw Paw out of the John Deere lawn mower caddy while being taught to drive (Lester landed unscathed, cigarette in hand) and Ryder, whose love of NASCAR came from many race days shadowing Paw Paw in his “man cave.”

Oh yes, and Christina, who continues to kick all kinds of “it” down the road at her mother’s advice.

Lester’s passions were around his family, the Kansas City Chiefs, NASCAR and riding Harleys. The memories he made with his brothers, Davy and Billy, sisters, Jeannie and Beverly, and the brother from another mother, Rob Lightner, were vast.

A few to include are Talladega, the Dayton, Dayton Bike Week and many parties at the barn. All of these experiences and much more (let’s not get going on the annual luaus in Florida) are examples of Lester living life big and that’s what our Paw Paw encompassed.

Lester touched many lives with his family and Sam’s family associates. To our Paw Paw, we love you and saw you through to your end. We’re asking you to watch over us until we reunite with you at our end. We love and adore you Paw Paw.

Lester was preceded in death by his grandparents; parents, Dave and Lucille Willhoite and Bill Smith; and brother-in-law, Jack Weatherman.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years Susie Smith; his children, Chrissy Mathieu, Michelle Barker, Deana Pereira and husband, Brad, and Shane Smith and wife Shannon; grandchildren, Austin, Ryder, Brocc, Blake, Brayden, Addy, Blake and Aiden; brother, Davy Willhoite and wife, Stacy; sister Jeannie Weatherman; brother, Billy Smith and wife, Amanda; and sister, Beverly Smith and husband, Justin; sisters-in-law, Joy Ewing and Pam Lake and husband, Larry; along with many nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or KU Cancer Center Westwood.

Services were under the direction of Mullinax Funeral Home, Drexel Chapel.


Tom Taylor

Nov. 6, 1947 – Jan. 21, 2020

Tommie “Tom” Dean Taylor, 72, Butler, died Jan. 21 at Research Medical Center in Kansas City. He was born Nov. 6, 1947, the son of Wilbur LeRoy and Anna Mary Petty Taylor in Butler.

Funeral services for Tom Taylor were Jan. 25 at the Schowengerdt Funeral Chapel in Butler. A Masonic service was Jan. 24 at Schowengerdt Funeral Chapel. Burial was in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Butler.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Richard Taylor.

Tom is survived by his wife, Judy Taylor, Butler; a son, Jeff Taylor and wife, Lee, Butler; a daughter, Amy Taylor, Olathe; three sisters, Julie McGuire and husband, Bill, Belton, Sandee Hubbard and husband, Dennis, Butler, and Vickie Taylor, Overland Park, Kansas; sister-in-law, Annette Taylor, Harrisonville; and three grandchildren.

Contributions may be made to Ronald McDonald House.

Arrangements were under the direction of Schowengerdt Funeral Chapel, Butler.


Michael R. Thornton

May 22, 1951 – Jan. 18, 2020

Michael Ray Thornton, 68, died Jan. 18 at his home in Garden City. Funeral services were Jan. 23 at the Vansant-Mills Chapel in Clinton. Interment followed in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery, Higginsville. The family suggests memorial contributions to Serenity Hospice and may be left in care of the funeral home.

He was born in Clinton, May 22, 1951, the son of Kenneth and Thelma (Hoffman) Thornton. He graduated from Clinton High School in 1969.

He joined the Army in 1970, where he saw combat in the Vietnam War. He was a sharp shooter, expert marksmen and a buck sergeant. He graduated from Sterling College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

Michael married Rhonda Benson Dec. 30, 1973, during a major blizzard. They were married for 46 years.

He worked as an environmentalist/water specialist for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He was the go-to-guy in the field, with more than 35 years of experience in utilities. There was not a lot that he didn’t know.

Michael loved to hunt and fish. He would always take his grandchildren fishing and the older grandsons hunting. He enjoyed watching his grandchildren play sports. Michael was a member of the VFW and American Legion. He was also a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Harrisonville.

Michael was an avid reader and a Civil War buff. He loved his kids and grandchildren and often told the grandchildren funny and spooky stories.

Michael was preceded in death by his father, Kenneth Thornton; mother, Thelma Thornton; and two brothers, Ronald Thornton and Jeff Thornton.

Michael is survived by two children, son, Casey Thornton and wife, Brandy, and daughter, Tiffany Ford and husband, Doug Ford, all of Harrisonville; nine grandchildren, Sydney, Ethan, Sage, Ava, Summer, Shaugh, Bradley, Nate and Liam; two brothers, Kenny Thornton, Belton, and Doug Thornton, Warrensburg; and a sister Trish Guier, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Also surviving are many nieces and nephews, sisters-in-law and brothers-in- law. He was particularly close to his brother-in-law, Dennis Benson, Camdenton.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Vansant-Mills Funeral Home, Clinton.