Gregory D. Berry, Class of 1981, died January 5, 2011 in Wichita, KS. He was 50.
Berry was born March 10, 1960 at Harper, Kansas, to Gary Dean Berry and Leona Maye Fitz Berry. He grew up in the Norwich community. He attended Norwich public schools and graduated from Norwich High School with the class of 1978. Berry continued his education at Cowley County Community College for two years before transferring to Kansas State University. He served an internship with Purina before graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics in 1982.
Berry was united in marriage to Brenda Sue Johnson on October 27, 1983, in Norwich and to this union two sons were born: Gage in 1988 and Drew in 1989.
He worked for the Federal Land Bank before joining the Farmers State Bank of Norwich. In May of 1988, he worked in sales, traveling the U.S. for Americart, Goddard, KS before operating the Yarrow Ranch near Danville, KS., a number of years. He also worked for Conway Bank before joining the First National Bank of Southern Kansas in Mt. Hope, Andale and Goddard, serving as Sr. Vice President. In July 2007, Berry moved to Manhattan where he was the current Community Bank President of Intrust Bank in Manhattan.
He married Donna Marie (Gorges) Seiler on May 14, 2010 where he was blessed with the addition of Donna’s five children to his family.
Berry was a member of the Milton United Methodist Church, Milton, Kansas. He had served as a board member of Eden Township and two terms on the Board of Education for USD # 331. He was also a member of the American Institute of Banking and the Kansas State Alumni Association. Berry had also served on the Kingman Norwich Recreation Commission a number of years.
He is survived by his wife Donna; sons: Gage Berry of Milton; Drew Berry of Manhattan; step-children: Garrett, Brandon and Quentin Seiler of Maize, Kansas; Mackenzie and Hannah Seiler of Manhattan, Kansas; his parents: Gary and Leona Berry of Norwich; one brother Jeff Berry of Argonia and one sister Sheila Wise and her husband Greg of Norwich, Kansas.
Benny Joe “Ben” LeClair, long time employee of Cowley College, died February 7, 2011 in Winfield. He was 58.
Ben was born August 6, 1952, to Bobbie J. and Florence (Siler) LeClair in Arkansas City. He was reared and educated in Arkansas City graduating from Ark City High School in 1972.
On August 18, 1972, he married Judy Mann in Arkansas City where the couple made their home. Ben worked as a custodian for Cowley College for 30 years. He was a member of the IXL Baptist Church, and was an avid fisherman.
He is survived by his wife Judy, and daughter Kassia LeClair both of the home; son, Benjamin LeClair and wife Audra; sisters, Vickie Kendrick and husband Forrest; Lavonna Bilyeu and husband Steve; Rosie Henley and husband Robert; all of Arkansas City, KS; Hazel Pugh and husband Jimmy of El Dorado, KS; Shirley New and husband Carl of Topeka, KS; brother, Ranney LeClair and wife Linda of Arkansas City, KS; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ben was preceded in death by his parents, and one sister.
Richard Lee Cox, Class of 1950, died March 10, 2011 in Burlington, Iowa. He was 80.
Cox was born on December 29, 1930 in Arkansas City, KS, he was the son of Edgar Hartley and Cova Christine Short Cox. He married Dianne Chandler on November 4, 1967 in San Jose, CA..
Cox was raised in Arkansas City and attended Cowley County Community College, later graduating from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS with a Master’s Degree in Graphic Arts Education. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951 thru 1955 and was stationed in Japan and Iwo Jima. He was a lifetime member of the NEA and an active member of the Des Moines Co. Retired School Personnel Association.
He taught Graphics Arts at Burlington Community High School until he retired in 1995. He enjoyed collecting postage stamps, listening to NPR, watching PBS and playing with his grandchildren.
He was a long-time, active member of the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Burlington. He served as a deacon and elder, was a member of the choir, attended the men’s Bible study group, (the Carpenters) and also served the church in many other capacities. He was honored with the title, Elder Emeritus.
He is survived by his wife, Dianne; one daughter, Pamela (Larry) Johnson of Mt. Pleasant, IA; one son, Andrew (Michelle) Cox of Cleveland Heights, OH; two brothers, Mike Cox and Edwin Cox, both of Arkansas City; three grandsons, Ben Nickell & Michael Johnson, both of Mt. Pleasant, IA and Nathan Cox of Cleveland Heights, OH; two granddaughters, Vivian & Elena Cox, both of Cleveland Heights, OH; two nieces and one nephew.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edgar and Cova Cox; one brother, Don R. Cox and one nephew, Todd Cox.
Mary Wilson, long time instructor at Cowley College, died on March 21, 2011, just three days before her 89th birthday.
She was born March 25, 1922 to George Heber and Della Abel Wilson in Winfield, KS. She graduated from Winfield High School in 1939, received a degree from St. John’s College, her BA from Southwestern College and her Master’s Degree from Emporia State University.
Wilson taught business classes in Stafford, KS for six years and retired from Cowley College after 33 years. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Wichita where she sang in the choir.
She was a member of Senior Citizens Melodeers, 20th Century Club, Music Club, Air Capital Active People Travel Club and a former member of Sweet Adelines International.
She is preceded in death by: her parents, five brothers, Harold, James, Paul, Curtis and Wayne Wilson and nephew Kenneth Wilson. Survivors: her nieces and nephews; Dorothy Ottery, Dublin, Ohio; Marcia Wilson, Halstead; Sara Shirk, Saint Charles, Mo; Jeannette Christianson, Lincoln, NE; Margaret Stull, Hutchinson; Julia Van Sickle, Maize; Esther Wilson, Kenosha, WI; Dr. Lawrence Wilson, Seattle, WA; Steve Wilson, Overland Park, and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Brandon James Blay, Class of 2007, died on May 14, 2011, in Blackwell, OK. He was 30.
Blay was born on February 21, 1981, in Blackwell, OK, to Robert Brent and Shelley (Loveall) Blay. He grew up in Blackwell attending Blackwell Public Schools graduating from Blackwell High School in 2000. He furthered his education on a wrestling scholarship at Labette Community College in Parsons, KS, before attending Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa, Oklahoma, for two semesters. He then transferred to Cowley College in Arkansas City, where he received his associate’s degree in computer drafting. Following his education he began working for S.G.S. in Ponca City as a computer drafter. He later returned to Northern Oklahoma College where he received his associate’s degree in processed technology. He was a member of Christian Life Church and was a fun loving guy who loved being with his family and friends. He enjoyed wrestling, fishing, and watching OU football games.
He is survived by his father, Robert Brent Blay Sr. and wife Chris of Wichita, KS; his mother, Shelley Blay of Ponca City, OK; two brothers, Robert Brent Blay Jr. of Ponca City, OK, and Scott Paul Blay of Endicott, N.Y.; one sister, Shannon Elizabeth Coutre of Pratt, KS; his paternal grandmother, Pauline Blay of Blackwell, OK; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Maurine Schroeder, Class of 1934, died May 5, 2011. She was 97. She was born Maurine Jeanette Essex to Jess and Minette Essex, January 16, 1914, in Osage City, KS. She grew up in Pierce City, MO, and Arkansas City, KS. She graduated from Ark City Junior College (now Cowley College) and Emporia State Teachers College, where she was honored with membership in Kappa Delta Pi. She taught English and biology at Hudson, KS, and then at Paola, KS, where Chris Schroeder taught math across the hall. They were married in 1940 and moved to Wichita in 1941. He died in 2005. In Wichita, she taught for several years at Washington Elementary, and later taught classroom deaf education at the Institute of Logopedics. She is survived by daughters, Marcia and her companion Walt Wattman of Wichita, Anita of Alexandria, VA; son, Dale and his wife Carolyn of Duluth, MN; granddaughters, Amy and Laura of St. Peter, MN; brother, John Essex of Tomball, TX; and sister, Betty Franzen of Livingston, MT.