Archive for Sunday, February 21, 2010

Advocate for poor dies

February 21, 2010


Katherine “Lani” Oglesby, 63, died Wednesday in Overland Park. She worked on numerous community projects to help the poor, mentally ill and homeless.

Katherine “Lani” Oglesby, 63, died Wednesday in Overland Park. She worked on numerous community projects to help the poor, mentally ill and homeless.

To friends and fellow advocates for the poor, Katherine “Lani” Oglesby, 63, who died Wednesday in Overland Park, was someone who made things happen.

Sometimes it was by force of personality, sometimes by force of will.

Longtime friend Saunny Scott said results, not challenges, were the only concern for Oglesby in the various projects she embarked on to improve the lives of Lawrence’s poor, mentally ill and homeless.

When the annual Community Christmas Dinner needed a new location, Oglesby found a home. When the area’s homeless needed a drop-in center, Oglesby found a local church.

And when there was no shelter space for the homeless, Oglesby opened up her own home to them. “Lani would say, ‘We need it; get it done,’” Scott said.

Oglesby’s efforts were all the more impressive because they happened in spite of her own challenges, said Suzanne Wolf, who worked with Oglesby on community projects.

Oglesby struggled most of her life with mental illness and health problems, and her work in Lawrence over the past few decades was interrupted occasionally by hospital stays, Wolf said.

“It was amazing, all she accomplished,” Wolf said. And when Oglesby returned from a hospital stay, “she’d pick right up as though it never happened.”

Oglesby’s influence on the community will live on, said Deb Engstrom, special education teacher at Lawrence High School who worked with Oglesby on volunteering projects over the past 20 years. Engstrom credits Oglesby as the driving force behind the creation of what is now the Lawrence Community Shelter and the continued tenure of the annual Community Christmas Dinner.

Engstrom said Oglesby taught her how to persevere at times when the obstacles to helping the needy in Lawrence seemed insurmountable. “A lot of times I’d say, ‘We can’t do this.’ But Lani just wouldn’t let me quit,” Engstrom said.


ivalueamerica 8 years, 1 month ago

Wow, I do not know what to say. I am saddened by this great loss. I have known her almost 25 years and she used to invite me over for her famous potroast.

She really wanted to change the world, and she did, one person at a time, never would tire, never would give up.

Fortitude, solid, determined, compassionate...all words that come to mind.

I will miss you.

yellowhouse 8 years, 1 month ago

Though your work on earth is done In Heaven now your life's just begun, All your loved ones there you'll see No more pain or woe you'll know For there it shall forgotten be!

The way was rough, Gods grace enough to soften every fall, For he was there, your tears to share Not just one but all!

Katherine you were loved so much By every life your heart could touch Your memory now reflects your worth Of your legacy on earth Every heart today is stirred becuase your life on earth occurred!

Since your birth, God knew your worth then he saw you needed rest He proved when he took you home with him He only takes the best!

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