Archive for Thursday, November 5, 1998


November 5, 1998


Memorial services for William L. Kelly, 78, Lawrence, are pending and will be announced by Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

Mr. Kelly died Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1998, at his home.

He was born Sept. 13, 1920, in Kearney, Neb., the son of Leo A. and Gertrude Beachler. He earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Nebraska in 1947 and a master's degree in 1948.

He was a member of the Army during World War II and a conductor in the band. The band was stationed in a replacement depot in New Caledonia and played in Australia, New Zealand and Guadalcanal.

He taught at McCook High School in Nebraska for 10 years. He later taught at Western State College, Gunnison, Colo.

He earned his Ed.D. in music education from Kansas University in 1963, and was later named the associate dean of educational services. He retired from this position in 1987.

He played the clarinet in the Lawrence City Band in the 1960s and began conducting it in 1969. In 1988, the city named the gazebo bandstand in South Park the "William L. Kelly Bandstand" in his honor.

While under his direction, the band was recognized with the Sudler Scroll, the nation's most prestigious award for city bands. He retired as conductor in 1992.

He and his wife, Barbara, began and directed the Brad Fisher Memorial Bell Choir at Plymouth Congregational Church, Lawrence, in 1974. They developed the program into 10 choirs, which received national and international recognition.

He was a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church, the American Band Master's Assn., Phi Delta Kappa, Phi Kappa Lambda and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfona, and Sons of the American Revolution. He also served as president of the Musicians Union, Local No. 512. He was an honorary member of Mu Phi Epsilon and the Lawrence Music Club.

He married Barbara Ann Vesely on Dec. 21, 1947, in Crete, Neb. She survives of the home.

Other survivors include a son Bill Kelly, Lawrence; three daughters, Kathy Scannell, Topeka, Mary Jo Shipley, Olathe, and Susan Bracciano, St. Joseph, Mo.; a sister, Mary Squire, St. Louis; and 11 grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Karen Vesely Kelly, in 1960.

The family will receive friends from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday at the mortuary.

The family suggests memorials in his name to the Kelly Scholarship Fund at Kansas University Endowment Association or the Kelley Scholarship Fund at Plymouth Congregational Church, and may be sent in care of the mortuary.

  • A news story on Bill Kelly appears on page 1B.

Patsy J. Lesher

Ponca City, Okla. -- Graveside services for Patsy J. Lesher, 71, Lawrence, will be at 1 p.m. today at Longwood Cemetery, east of Ponca City, Okla.

Mrs. Lesher, a former Hoisington resident, died Sunday, Nov. 1, 1998, in Lawrence. She was born Oct. 11, 1927, in Oxford, Kan., the daughter of Thomas and Doris Harp.

Survivors include a sister, Alma Smith, Lawrence; a daughter, Terri Souza, and a son, Steven Lesher, both of California.

Grace Memorial Chapel, Ponca City, is handling arrangements.


Pittsburgh, Pa. -- A memorial organ recital for R. Franklin Mitchell, 81, Lawrence, will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at Shadyside Presbyterian Church.

Mr. Mitchell died Tuesday, March 31, 1998, at Brandon Woods Retirement Community.

He was president and tonal director of The Reuter Organ Company until his retirement in February 1995.


Eudora -- Services for Maudie F. Couch, 91, Eudora, will be held at 1 p.m. Friday at Hesper Friends Church, south of Eudora. Burial will be in Deay Cemetery, rural Douglas County.

Mrs. Couch died Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1998, at Eudora Nursing Center.

She was born June 25, 1907, in Johnson County, the daughter of Andrew J. and Sarah Cousins Burnell. She was a long-time resident of Eudora.

Mrs. Couch was a homemaker. She was a member of Hesper Church, Douglas County Historical Society and the Eudora Flower Club.

She married Verlan S. Couch on June 21, 1941, in Eudora. He died Aug. 31, 1965.

Friends may call from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. today at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.

The family suggests memorials to Hesper Friends Church or Eudora Nursing Center and may be sent in care of the mortuary.


Kearney, Neb. -- Services for Ann Margaret Baker, 85, Kearney, Neb., will be announced by Horner-Lieske-Horner Mortuary. Cremation is planned.

Mrs. Becker died Monday, Nov. 2, 1998, at Mother Hull Home in Kearney.

She was born Feb. 21, 1913, in Belpre, the daughter of Emice P. and Edith Agnes Steele Smith. She attended Lawrence public schools, Kansas University and Washburn College. She lived in or near Lawrence until moving to Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1960. In 1974, she moved to Kearney.

She was a professional secretary-receptionist for many years.

She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, Tuscan Chapter No. 35, Order of the Eastern Star, Kearney Women's Club, American Association of Retired Persons and the Buffalo County Republican Women.

She married Raymond F. Becker on Sept. 15, 1937. They later divorced.

Survivors include a son, A. Steele Becker, Kearney, Neb.; two grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

The family suggests memorials to St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Kearney, and may be sent in care of the mortuary, 2421 Ave. A., P.O. Box 777, Kearney, Neb. 68847.

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