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Health Professions - Class Notes

We salute your achievements!

The KUMC Alumni Association welcomes the chance to inform your fellow graduates of the events and activities in your life. Publications, awards, marriages, retirements, moves, promotions, birth announcements-you're sure to come across news from someone you remember. Browse here by class to find news of your former classmates and take a moment to submit a note of your own.

1960s 1970s 1980s 2010s 2000s 2010s'


1960s

1961 (Medical Technology) - In Memoriam: Patricia Ryan Elledge
Patricia Ryan Elledge - February 24, 1939 - February 20, 2017 Oceanside, CA Pat was born and reared in Manhattan, KS, by parents James T. Ryan and Louise Ryan (Scheu). Over the years she lived in KS, OK, AZ, TX, FL, Panama Canal Zone, Yokosuka, Japan, and was a resident of Oceanside, CA for 27 years. Pat was a proud graduate of the Manhattan High School class of 1957, and Kansas State University and Kansas University class of 1961. Co-founder of Oceanside Newcomers and Friends. Member of Kappa Delta sorority and local alumnae group. Director and member of the Carlsbad Choraleers for many years. Pat was a longtime arts supporter and member of the Founders Circle of the Oceanside Museum of Art. She was the oldest instructor of Fit for Life classes. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, E. Fred Elledge, M.D., children: Mike and Geoff Elledge and grandchildren: Thomas and Samantha. Pat traveled the world's seven continents to see the people, art, architecture and listen to music in all of its forms. Pat made friends wherever she went, dancing and singing her way through an incredibly rich life. Pat lived by her motto to the very end, "Hell is living one minute in the past. (Updated March 2017)

1969 (Physical Therapy) - In Memoriam: Christine Crawford Hyde
Christine Moon Hyde, 68, of Olathe, Kansas, passed away peacefully on June 23rd at the Olathe Hospice House in Olathe, KS, her loving family was by her side. Chris had been a 10-year breast cancer survivor. She was born on the 5th of March 1948 in Des Moines, Iowa, the daughter of Robert Hanes Crawford and Gloria Sharman Moon. She lived in Des Moines for a short period of time before moving to Prairie Village, Kansas. She initially attended Notre Dame de Sion and St. Anne's schools before graduating from Tomahawk Grade School. She attended Broadmoor Junior High School and graduated from Shawnee Mission West High School in 1965. In the Fall of 1965 Chris attended Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Following her Sophomore year at OSU she enrolled at the University of Kansas in Lawrence in the Physical Therapy program. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Physical Therapy in August of 1969. Read more(Updated July 2016)


1970s

1970 (Occupational Therapy) Peggy Hundley Spitz
Peggy Spitz is still plugging away with www.OTTOGO.com. Perfect for the pediatric OTs, PTs, STs and teachers who work themes in the classroom. (Updated March 2016)

1973 (Physical Therapy) - Carolyn Bloom
Carolyn Bloom sold her practice and terminated daily Outpatient Care on June 24, 2016. She still has 4 patients that are powered-wheelchair home-bound and two other contracts that keep her busy enough along with 7 (soon to be 8!) grandchildren and traveling with her new husband. (Updated September 2016)

1976 (Cert. of Emergency Mobile Intensive Care Tech) In Memoriam: Albert E. Castle, Sr.
Albert E. Castle, Sr., 77, Topeka, passed away Friday, May 26, 2017. He was born July 22, 1939, in Topeka, Kansas, the son of Roy, Sr. and Rose (Hooper) Castle. He graduated from Seaman High School. He enlisted in the Navy on June 1, 1961 and was deployed to the conflict of Bay of Pigs in the South coast of Cuba. He was honorably discharged on June 1, 1964. Albert "Porky" was employed by the Topeka Fire Department for 24 years, retiring as Captain in 1990. He was also a paramedic for 21 years and worked ambulance for 10 years. He was a lifetime member of V.F.W. Post No. 1650 and American Legion Post No. 400. Albert married Hazel M. Castle on August 20, 1994 in Topeka. She survives. Other survivors include his children: Leah Ralston, Linda Urton (Grant Vickery), Jason Castle and Albert "Bert" Castle, Jr.; seven grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; in-laws, Dale and Tina Patterson and special caretaker, Joseph Patterson and Chris Pacheco. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Roy Castle, Jr., Jim Castle and Patricia Castle and his parents. Albert enjoyed watching NASCAR and Wrestling. He coached girls' softball for 18 years and played fast pitch for 12 years. (Updated June 2017)

1976 (Nurse Anesthesia) - Martin Francis Powers
The International Nurses Association is pleased to welcome Martin Francis Powers, CRNA, RN, to their prestigious organization with his upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders In Healthcare. Martin Francis Powers is a Nurse Anesthetist currently serving patients within Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, Texas. Featuring over four decades of experience in nursing, he is a specialist nurse anesthetist. Martin Francis Powers gained his Nursing Degree in 1973 from Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis Missouri, becoming a Registered Nurse. In 1976 he completed specialist training at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and became a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. He holds additional certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and prior to pursuing a career in nursing, Martin served in the US Army from 1966 to 1969. Martin is distinguished member of the Texas Nurse Association and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, allowing him to stay current with the latest advances in his field. He has won numerous awards throughout his long and successful career, including the All Pro Media Group Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Martin attributes his success to loving what he does, and when he is not working he enjoys taking his dog for walks on the beach. (Updated July 2017)

1976 (Occupational Therapy) - Suzette Werner Jones
Ms. Jones writes that she is celebrating 35 years of proving OT, PT, and ST for children in Oklahoma at TherapyWorks, Inc. (Updated May 2017)

1976 (Physical Therapy) In Memoriam: Nancy Emma Fehlker
Nancy Emma Fehlker, 64, of Pelham, Mass., died at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 6, 2017, at the Fisher Hospice Home in Amherst, Mass., surrounded by loving friends. Nancy was born July 27, 1952, in Belleville, Ill., to Verdell and Marcellus Fehlker. She graduated from Notre Dame Academy and the University of Kansas, and her career was as a physical therapist. Nancy loved to garden, cook and spend time with family and friends. Even during her battle with cancer she found joy volunteering in her community. She believed, "She lived the life she was meant to live, and it was the way it was supposed to be." She was preceded in death by her father, Marcellus. Surviving are her daughter, Ariel Mazur of Palm Beach, Fla.; her mother, Verdell; sisters, Debbie of Belleville, Ill., and Pat of Raleigh, N.C.; a brother, Steve (JoAnn) of Astoria, Ore.; a niece, Elizabeth; and a nephew, Michael. (Updated June 2017)

1977 (Physical Therapy) Sharon Donovan Ellis
Sharon married John Ellis in March of 2018. She retired from Saint Luke's Health System after 36 years. She is re-certified as a CCS (cardiopulmonary clinical specialist P.T.) for a third ten-year term. (Updated September 2018)

1977 (Respiratory Therapy) Dan Conyers
Dan Conyers was recently presented with the 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award at the University of Kansas Health System leadership dinner. Congratulations, Dan! (Updated December 2017)

1978 (Audiology) - In Memoriam: Susan E. Reynolds
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on Feb. 25, 2018: Our beloved sister Sue died of a sudden and unexpected heart attack on Friday, February 9, 2018 at age 63. Predeceased by her mother, Elinor Reynolds. Survived by siblings: Patricia (David) Gawlik, William (Sharon) Reynolds and James (Joan) Reynolds. A celebration of Sue's life will be held at a later date. Donations in Sue's memory may be sent to Lollypop Farm. Please visit www.rochestercremation.com for a full obit. or to leave personal condolences. (Updated June 2018)

1979 (Occupational Therapy) - In Memoriam: Sheryl Miringoff Schwartz
Sheryl Kay (Miringoff) Schwartz, 59, passed away Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, in Chesterfield, Missouri. Sheri was originally from Wichita, Kansas. The Miringoff family moved to Overland Park for a couple of years in the early 1970s. Sheri attended Shawnee Mission South High School for her sophomore and junior years and was very active in BBYO. Returning to Wichita, she graduated from Wichita Southeast High School. Her college years were spent at the University of Kansas, where she earned a degree in occupational therapy. During her years at KU, she served in various student management roles at Naismith Hall and was proud of the time she spent as the Baby Jay mascot. Sheri was a dedicated and accomplished healthcare executive with a clinical background in occupational therapy. She was a published author included in the book "Productivity," and was often invited to make presentations to many state and national occupational therapist organizations. A devoted wife and loving mother, Sheri was known for her cheery outlook on life, her kindness, her loyalty to her friends and all those she loved. A sports fan through and through, she was an enthusiastic supporter of the Jayhawks, the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams. Sheri spent her last days surrounded by family. She bravely fought her very rare disease with strength and courage. She was predeceased by her loving father, Harlan Miringoff, and her grandmother she adored, "Nana" Fanny Polansky, who lived many years in Kansas City. Sheri is survived by her beloved husband Scott Schwartz and loving children Bryan Schwartz and Allyson Schwartz. She was the dear daughter of Maxine D. Miringoff; dear sister of Jay (Susan) Miringoff; dear sister-in-law of Jill Schwartz and Judy (Guy) Schwartz-Jaffe; dear aunt of Micah Miringoff. She also leaves many cousins and cherished friends. The family would like to thank the caregivers of Vitas healthcare for their kindness and compassion. She will be truly missed by all who knew her kindness, humor and zest for life. Rest in peace our sweet Baby Jayhawk. (Updated October 2016)  


1980s

1980 (Radiation Therapy) - In Memoriam: Martha J. Schurig
Martha Jane Schurig, aged 75, died peacefully on August 19, 2018 surrounded by her two younger sons. She is survived by Matthew Schurig of Blue Springs, Missouri, Mark Schurig of Mustang, Oklahoma, and James "Mike" Schurig of Orlando, Florida. She had six grandchildren, Charlie and Linley Schurig, Megan, Mackenzie, and Matthew Schurig, and Allyson (Schurig) Van Lenten. Martha lived in Kansas City, Missouri and was married to James "Jim" F. Schurig, who passed away in 2011. They attended St. Thomas More Catholic Church.
Martha worked as a radiation therapist for many years at Menorah Medical Center. She loved her dogs and enjoyed books, gardening, and movies. A Visitation will occur Friday, August 31, 2018 from 10:00am to 11:00am at St. Thomas More Catholic Church at 11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64131. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow the visitation at 11:00am. The family suggests that another option other than flowers would be a donation to Wayside Waifs, 3901 Martha Truman Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64137. (Updated September 2018)

1980 (Respiratory Therapy) - Helen M. Arnold
Helen writes to us that she is enjoying retirement and traveling around the country with her husband. She was sorry to hear about the passing of Dr. Paul Mathews, who was a good friend and professor. (Updated June 2017)

1981 (Occupational Therapy) - In Memoriam: Patricia Gilgin Hahn
Patricia (Trish) Gilgin Hahn, 79, Tonganoxie, KS passed away peacefully at home on September 30, 2016, after an extended illness. Trish was born in Cleveleys, England, on May 17, 1937, to Robert Carrique Lewin and Clara Doreen (Richards) Lewin. Her childhood and school years were spent in the idyllic Lake District in Yealand, England, where she enjoyed time along the seashore and the animals in her life, especially working with horses. At age 22, she moved to New York City, NY to take a position with the British Travel Association. While in New York, she met and married Franz (Frank) Gilgin. Frank was employed as a flight engineer by TWA, and was later transferred to Kansas City, MO. Trish and Frank moved to the Tonganoxie, KS area in 1970, where they raised daughters Elizabeth and Sahra, and Trish gained advanced training as an Occupational Therapist (OT) at the University of Kansas. The last 26 years of her OT career were with the Leavenworth, KS schools as an Early Childhood specialist, where she was a committed professional and strong advocate for children in that program. She continued her OT career after Frank died in 2001, retiring in 2014 after being diagnosed with cancer. Trish was a life-long learner, and enjoyed photography and gardening as hobbies, and concerts (especially classical music and jazz), theater, and travel as entertainment. She was active in various organizations, including the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Daughters of the British Empire (DBE) and the Lyric Opera Guild, as well as community activities such as the Tonganoxie Community Theater and book clubs. She was noted for preparing tasty dinners for family and friends, and for being a most gracious hostess. In 2011, she married G. LeRoy Hahn; together, they enjoyed visiting with family and friends, and traveled extensively, especially enjoying trips to the Oregon coast as well as many concerts and theater productions in a variety of venues. Survivors are husband LeRoy of Tonganoxie, daughters Elizabeth Menardi (husband Bob, children Emma, Anthony, and Samuel) of Atlanta, GA, Sahra Go (son Frankie) of Overland Park, KS, and several stepchildren and step- grandchildren. Brother Peter Lewin (wife Carolyn) of Kirkham, England and sister Ann Mellor (husband Harry) of Manchester, England also survive, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins in England and Scotland. (Updated November 2016)

1981 (Occupational Therapy) - In Memoriam: Kathy A. Sherrow
Kathy Anne Sherrow, 58, of Overland Park, Kan., passed away June 2, 2016, surrounded by her loving family. Kathy was born Jan. 10, 1958, in Kansas City, Mo. She was a graduate of The University of Kansas with a Bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy, specializing in geriatric care. Kathy provided home healthcare services primarily in the Midtown area through Visiting Nurses Association. She had an unending love for her family, particularly her nieces, Lauren and Whitney. Her talent was bringing people together through her cooking, card and Scrabble games and her love of life. Kathy was a nurturing, generous and caring woman and will be missed by all who knew and loved her. Kathy is now at peace in the arms of the Lord with Grandma Lillie. She is survived by her devoted parents, Annette and Pete Sherrow; her loving sister and brother-in-law, Alana and Jim Estes; her nieces, who were her pride and joy, Lauren and Whitney; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins; and her four-legged, constant companion, Marley. In lieu of flowers, if desired, contributions in Kathy's name may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and/or Sister Servants of Mary, 800 N. 18th St., KCK. The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to Doctors Julia Chapman, John Dunlap and Richard Morgan, as well as Shanna, Cindy and Marilyn of Heartland Hospice. (Updated June 2016)

1981 (Occupational Therapy) - In Memoriam: Ange Butler Stalcup
Ange Diane Stalcup of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away peacefully on May 23rd. Born July 16, 1934 to Dr. Martyn E. & Donna Cole Butler in Topeka, KS. She attended elementary and secondary schools in Centralia, KS and graduated from Centralia High School in 1952. She attended the University of Kansas and earned degrees in Elementary Education ('57) and Occupational Therapy ('82). She was an elementary school teacher in Topeka and also in Minneapolis, MN. She later spent 18 years working at the Kansas University Medical Center as an Occupational Therapist in child psychiatry. In 1990 and again in 1999 she was awarded the Clinical Excellence Award by the KS Occupation Therapy Assoc. In 1998, the Heartland Alliance presented her with the Fieldwork Educator of the Year Award. Read more. (Updated June 2018)

1981 (Physical Therapy) - Mark R. Wiegand
Mark Wiegand, PhD, PT'81, was appointed Vice Provost of Academic Affairs at Bellarmine University on June 1, 2017. He previously served as the Dean of the Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences (now the College of Health Professions), for which he still provides oversight. He is a Professor of Physical Therapy. In addition to Office of Academic Affairs responsibilities with the College of Health Professions, he oversees the Office of Study Abroad and International Learning (OSAIL), Office of Sponsored Projects, and Veterans Services, and is deputy Title IX coordinator. Prior to serving as the Lansing School dean (2013-2017), he was the chairperson of Physical Therapy Department at Bellarmine (2001-2013). Dr. Wiegand also served as President of the University Faculty Council (2011-2012). He has taught anatomical sciences to physical therapy, occupational therapy and medical students at Bellarmine University and at the University of Louisville. His research interests are in the role of service and experiential learning and professional development in health sciences education. His scholarly activity includes over 70 presentations, publications and reviews in journals, books and at national and international meetings. Dr. Wiegand received his B.S. in Physical Therapy from the University of Kansas, his M.S. in Human Performance from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and his Ph.D. in Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology from the University of Louisville. In 2002 Dr. Wiegand received the Outstanding Physical Therapist Service Award from the Kentucky Physical Therapy Association, and was a Bellarmine University Wyatt Fellowship recipient in 2007 and a 2008 Louisville Health Enterprises Network Fellow. He is a 2016 Bingham Fellow with the Leadership Louisville Center. (Updated August 2017)

1981 (Radiologic Tech.) - In Memoriam: Dereck Tyrone Nero
Dereck T. Nero was born March 3, 1960, to Willie and Merlee Nero in Kansas City, MO.  Dereck received his education in the Kansas City Public School System, graduating in the class of 1978, from Paseo High. Brother Dereck accepted Christ as Lord and Savior at an early age.  He continued to serve the Lord through his final breath. Dereck loved as well as, enjoyed his career at KU Medical Center, where he gave 30 years of service.  He was very attentive to everyone that was in his care.  He was the life of the party.  He was a very kind person.  He was always telling a joke and making others laugh. Dereck had an eye for fashion and he was always dressed to impress.  He was also a great cook and he enjoyed sharing his recipes and tips with his loved ones. His desserts were the best. Sir Dereck Nero was truly blessed and always full of life.  He departed this life on February 25, 2018.  He was preceded in death by his loving parents, Willie and Merlee Nero and his beloved sister, Brenda Morris. He leaves to cherish his memory: two sisters, Shirley Crawford and Tonja Nero-Britt; three brothers, Richard Nero, Ronald Nero, and Aaron Nero and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins and other loving relatives and friends. Services for Mr. Nero will be held 11:00 A.M. Saturday, March 3, 2018, at Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church with Pastor Jesse Frazier officiating. Burial XII Gates Memorial Gardens.  Friends may call from 9:00 to 11:00 A.M. at the church. (Updated April 2018)

1982 (Occupational Therapy) - Denise A. Fine
Denise had worked full-time since graduation and for the past 8 ½ years she has worked in Ireland as an Occupational Therapist. Now she is exploring private duty instead. (Updated August 2016)

1982 (Occupational Therapy) - In Memoriam: Suzi Heinz Ponchur
Linda Susan Ponchur (Suzi), passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones on September 1, 2018. Suzi was a warrior and fought a courageous battle with cancer throughout various times of her adult life. She will be dearly missed by her family, friends, and the love of her life, Mark. Suzi was born on May 17, 1959 to Dean and Libby Heinz in Springfield, Missouri. Her family moved to Shawnee, Kansas when she was three. Later, they moved to Overland Park, Kansas where she graduated from Shawnee Mission South High School. Suzi attended the University of Kansas, became a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and graduated with a degree in Occupational Therapy. Suzi was preceded in death by her parents, Jewel Dean & Mary Elizabeth Heinz, her in-laws, Vincent Victor & Therese Marie Ponchur, her sister-in-law, Nancy Heinz, and her brother-in-law, Stan Neher. Suzi is survived by her loving husband of 35 years, Mark Ponchur (Leawood, KS), daughter Emily Knox and her husband Parker (Overland Park, KS), daughter Lauren Ebberts and her husband Michael, and her two beloved grandchildren George and Ella Grace Ebberts (Kansas City, MO). Read more. (Updated September 2018)

1983 (Dietetics & Nutrition) - In Memoriam: Virginia Lea Schulz
Virginia Lea Schulz, age 82, passed away July 8, 2017. She was born to Franklin and Minnie Adamson in Sedgwick, KS, on April 18, 1935. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, and grandson, David Brothers. She is survived by her children, Trina (Tom Brothers) Schulz, Fred Schulz, Kurt (Carla) Schulz; sister, Marylin (Eldon) Johnson; grandchildren, Erich and Kade Schulz, Trevor and Sydney Duncan, Victoria Nevels, Ana, Tony and Dan Brothers; 7 great-grandchildren. (Updated July 2017)

1983 (Health Information Management) - In Memoriam: Janet M. Mundy
Janet McCanse Mundy Janet McCanse Mundy, 89, of Belton, passed away July 20, 2018, at the home of daughter Meg (Mundy) Bell. Janet was born October 5, 1928, in Port Washington, NY. She grew up in both Mt. Vernon, MO, and the Kansas City area, graduating from North KC High School in 1945. Janet completed her Bachelor's degree in Health Information Management in 1982. She was preceded in death by her twin brother, Dr. Andrew McCanse, elder brothers Thad McCanse and Dr. Ray McCanse, parents Bessie and Raymond McCanse. Survivors include daughter Meg Bell and her husband Thad, granddaughter Shannon, sisters-in-law Barbara McCanse and Trudy McCanse, nieces and nephews Dr. Lynn McCanse, Vicki Jones, Betsy Lawrence, Kitty Spencer, Thad W. McCanse, Cindy Borgmeyer, India McCanse, Andrea Denning, and several great- and great-great nieces and nephews. Burial was in Mt. Vernon, MO, on August 11. (Updated September 2018)

1983 (Health Information Management) - Matt D. Price
Matt D. Price, MS, RHIA, senior project manager in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, was co-author of "Outcomes of 3309 Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repairs" in the May 2016 issue of The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. The article, led by Joseph S. Coselli, MD and Scott A. LeMaire, MD, presented their truly monumental experience with open thoracoabdominal aneurysm repair in an approximately 30-year span. This is the largest series of surgically treated patients ever reported, and it is unlikely that an experience of this magnitude will ever be duplicated. Matt Price is a graduate of and former assistant professor in the Department of Health Information Management in the School of Health Professions. (Updated January 2017)

1983 (Occupational Therapy) - Barbara S. Durbin
Barbara supervises rehabilitation at St. Luke's East Hospital in Lee's Summit, Missouri. (Updated March 2018)

1983 (Physical Therapy) - In Memoriam: Marilyn White Weller
Marilyn Ann Weller, 56, passed away January 26, 2017, at her Tonganoxie home. Marilyn was born October 17, 1960, in Salina, Kansas to Clyde Calvin White and Florence Pauline White (Gotti). Marilyn married her high school sweetheart, Chris Alan Weller, on August 9, 1980 in Salina. She graduated from The University of Kansas and worked as a physical therapist in the Leavenworth County schools for 32 years. She lived a full and meaningful life, inspiring those around her with her devotion to family, friends, church, and the community. Her kindness and loving personality will be deeply missed by those who knew her. Marilyn was preceded in death by her parents, Clyde and Florence White. She leaves behind her beloved husband, Chris; daughters, Ashley (Mark) Gepner, Madison Weller, and Christy (Joey ) Oxley; grandchildren, Anna, Nolan, and Ella Gepner and Mason McNeil; and siblings, Joan (Mark) Murphy, Susan (Rodney) Hummel, and Randy (Jeannie) White. (Updated February 2017)

1984 (Cert. of Emergency Medical Training) - In Memoriam: Steven G. Miller
Steven G. Miller Steven G. Miller, 62, Kansas City, KS, died June 22, 2018. Rosary 4p.m., Visit 4-7p.m. Wed., June 27, St. Patrick Catholic Church. Mass 10:30 a.m. Thu., St. Patrick's 94th & State Ave., K.C.KS. Porter Funeral Home. (Updated June 2018)

1984 (Occupational Therapy) - In Memoriam: R. Dorothea Tholen
Ruth D. Tholen of Bradenton, FL, passed away on May 16th, 2017. 

1985 (Occupational Therapy) In Memoriam: Jodi Klein Shea
Jodi M. Shea, 53, Minneapolis, passed into eternity unexpectedly in her sleep on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. When she awoke, she was in the arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ. Jodi was born September 1, 1963 in Topeka to William L. and Dorothy (Gaston) Klein. She was a 1981 graduate of Shawnee Heights High School. Jodi then attended and graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy. Jodi and Mitchell Shea were united in marriage on October 18, 1997.  She worked as a contract occupational therapist throughout her career most recently at the Good Samaritan Society - Minneapolis. She was a loving and kind hearted lady who loved her family. Jodi was preceded in death by her parents; and brother, Michael Kurtze. Survivors include her husband, Mitch; son, Jacob; daughter, Abby; brother, Warren Lynn Kurtze; sister, Kathy Annillo (Al); and a large host of family and friends.  (Updated June 2017)

1987 (Cert. of Emergency Medical Training) - In Memoriam: Gregory D. Wentzel
Gregory D. Wentzel, loving husband of Jennifer Kope Wentzel and loved father of son, Dalton Alexander, died unexpectedly in his sleep at home on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Gregory was the first born son of Deacon Richard and Shirley Wentzel, Lebanon, and brother to Matthew Wentzel, (wife Erica) of Lancaster and Andrew Wentzel, Lebanon. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Joanne Kope, Lebanon; her daughter, Kim Zerbe and son, Edward III. His father-in-law, Edward Kope, Jr. preceded him in death. He is also survived by many uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and cousins. Gregory was born in Lebanon, December 10,1966. He was a graduate of Lebanon Catholic High School's Class of 1985 and graduated as a Certified Paramedic from the University of Kansas. He was a medic since his youth with FASP, Lebanon. He served as a medic in San Diego, CA and most recently as a Paramedic for the First Aid and Safety Patrol for many years. He was one of the first paramedics in Lebanon in 1986. Gregory was a very knowledgeable, caring and compassionate medic. Gregory was an Eagle Scout from Boy Scout Troop 11. He enjoyed the outdoors, especially camping, hiking, and biking with his family. He was a gardener, enjoyed woodworking, and with his wife Jen, rescued Huskies. He will be sadly missed by all who knew and loved him. (Updated March 2017)

1987 (Health Information Management) - Judy Bielby, MBA'95, HIM'87, RHIA
Judy Bielby, MBA'95, HIM'87, RHIA, received the 2017 Making Dreams Come True Distinguished Educator Award from the American Health Information Management Association. Recognized for her creativity and innovation in teaching, Bielby received the prestigious award at the group's Assembly on Education Symposium/Faculty Development Institute in Anaheim, CA. Congratulations! (Updated August 2017)

1989 (Health Information Management) - In Memoriam: Melanie Peck Bendure
Melanie J. (Peck) Bendure Melanie J. (Peck) Bendure, 69, Lenexa, KS, passed away July 14, 2018. She was preceded in death by her husband, Jim, of 45 years. Survived by sons, Jeff (Tina), Mark, and grandsons, Anthony, Peyton, Jett, Jarrett, and Colton. A Memorial gathering will be 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, July 18th at Porter Funeral Home, 8535 Monrovia Street, Lenexa, KS. (Updated July 2018)

1989 (Occupational Therapy), 2002 (MPH), 2016 (PhD) - Wendy Hildenbrand
Wendy Hildenbrand, PhD'16, MPH'02, OT'89, was chosen to be president elect of the American Occupational Therapy Association. Presidents of AOTA hold special reverence for their work and commitment to the profession. Her three-year term will begin July 1, 2018. Congratulations, Dr. Hildenbrand! (Updated February 2018)

1989 (Speech Language Pathology) - In Memoriam: Donald Louis Robinson
Donald Louis Robinson 83, of Shawnee, died Saturday, April 8, 2017. Don was born Aug. 15, 1933, in Richmond, Calif., to Camille and Donald H. Robinson. He lived in California throughout his early life. Following graduation from Chico State College, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. After training at Quantico, Va., he completed his service in the Artillery Regiment of the First Division quartered in California. Following his tour of duty, Don returned to school and earned a Master's Degree in Special Education at San Francisco State College. He spent his early career working in the public schools in Glenn County, Calif., where he initiated the county's Speech Therapy Program. He later went to the Novato, Calf., school district as a Speech Pathologist, where he helped inaugurate a program with the County Superintendent's Office for children with severe speech impairments, and received the Man of the Year award from the Novato Junior Chamber of Commerce. With all this, Don also taught classes in public speaking, literature and English grammar at the San Quentin State Prison for two years. In 1964, Don returned to graduate school at Iowa University where he earned another Master's Degree in Speech Pathology. He transferred to the University of Oregon in 1967 where he completed the requirements of Ph.D. in Speech Pathology through the Medical School in Portland. In 1969 Don started practice at St. Christopher's Children Hospital in Philadelphia and at Jefferson Medical College Department of Otolaryngology. He moved his family to Kansas in 1973 to work in the Hearing and Speech Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center. In 1976 he joined the staff of the School of Communication Disorders at the Lincoln Institute of Health Sciences in Melbourne, Australia. He was the Head of School for a brief period. Don returned to Kansas City in 1979 and went into private practice working with children and adults. Read more. (Updated September 2017)


2010s

1994 (Medical Technology) - James Daniel Sulit
James "Daniel" Sulit, 51, joined his father, Arnulfo, in heaven on August 20, 2017, surrounded by his family. Dan was born Jan. 18, 1966, in Iloilo, Philippines, to Arnulfo and Shirley (Gador) Sulit. Dan graduated from Rockhurst High School in 1984 and went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Biology, majoring in Fisheries, from Kansas State University in 1988. He later completed his Medical Technology degree at KU Medical Center. He had a successful career as a Medical Technologist at Olathe Medical Center, and, most recently, worked at Quest Diagnostics. In his free time, Dan was an accomplished fisherman, participating and placing in many bass fishing competitions. Dan also enjoyed practicing the Filipino martial art, Arnis, as well as bowling and playing poker with his many friends. He was a member of both the Holy Trinity Choir and the Bells of Joy. Dan will always be remembered as a kind, gentle soul, who was quietly generous, almost to a fault. He was always attentive to the needs of his friends and co-workers, and loved to make others smile with his dry sense of humor and fun-loving nature. Everyone would agree that Dan had both a beautiful heart and a beautiful soul. Dan is survived by his devoted mother, Shirley (Gador) Sulit and brothers, Andrew (Aileen) and their son Christian; Christian "Arnie" (Angela) and their children Bella and Riley; and Loreto (Aimee) and their children Aden, Adam and Avery. He is also survived by his aunts, Marmy P. Sulit, Leony Sulit Green and Alice Gador Start, as well as numerous cousins. (Updated September 2017)   

1995 (Health Information Management) -  In Memoriam: Janet S. Orlowski
Janet Sue Orlowski, 75, Lenexa, KS, died Sunday, December 4, 2016 at Shawnee Mission Medical Center, surrounded by her family. Janet was born April 6, 1941, in Kansas City, KS the daughter of Mack and Virginia (Bartling) Pryor. Janet was a 1959 graduate of Bishop Ward High School and received a bachelor degree in Health Information Management from the University of Kansas at the age of 52. She had worked for Quintiles. She was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church. She enjoyed frequent get togethers with former classmates and colleagues, 4th of July celebrations in St. Charles, and was at any and all activities that involved her grandchildren. One of Janet's fondest memories of childhood were the spectacular Christmas's born from the heart of her beloved grandmother, Monica Bartling. When Janet was graced with grandchildren of her own, it became clear to all who knew and loved Janet that she was intent on creating those same memories for her, Kyle, Samantha, Richard, Daniel and Alliyah. Janet is survived by her husband, John R. Orlowski (Jack) and her children Susan Morrissey, Rick (Emily), Tim , and John, brother Mack Pryor, and sisters Connie Lawlor, and Ann Boyce (Tony), grandchildren Kyle, Samantha, Richard, Daniel, great granddaughter Aaliyah, and granddogs Dude, Bear, Gigi, Audrey, and Max. She will be greatly missed by all of her family and friends. We take comfort in the fact that she has finally found the perfect cup of shaved ice. (Updated December 2016)

1996 (Audiology MA) 2004 (Audiology PhD) Timothy C. Steele, PhD
Dr. Steele has been honored as one of Ingram's 2017 Heroes of Healthcare. As the article reads:
"When he was growing up on a farm outside of Waterville, Kan., Tim Steele had a great-grandmother with a profound hearing loss. "I was always fascinated with her hearing aid when I was young," Steele remembers. "I was also very interested in Helen Keller as a young person and did several biographies of her in elementary school. I knew I wanted to help people and I had interest in science and engineering in college." After taking an introduction to audiology course at K-State, he said, "I knew audiology was my true vocation. Looking back now as an adult, I realize that my great-grandmother's hearing loss was isolating for her and I only wish I could have been able to help her with all the options we have available today." What he's seen over the course of his career borders on the miraculous. "We have hearing aid technology available now that I never dreamed I'd witness during my career," he says. "With the advancements of digital signal processing, there are hearing aids that are more sophisticated than the technology that took us to the moon." It's humbling, he says, to comprehend that some of our most sophisticated hearing aids can process 600 million calculations per second. Because of those advances, "more and more people are accepting the importance of communication and using ear-level worn devices as a part of their day," he says. "This has helped dramatically improve the acceptance of hearing aids and decrease the old negative stereotypes of using hearing aid technology." Despite those advances, he says, there is still a critical need for the professional audiologist. "I think many people either don't understand or under-estimate how frustrating and isolating hearing loss can be. At it's core, hearing loss can separate us from people. It's been an honor and pleasure to be a part of helping others hear better and in many cases, my patients have as much influence on me as I ever hope to have on them." (Updated April 2017)

1996 (Physical Therapy) - In Memoriam: Daniel G. Martin
Daniel Gene Martin, 44, passed away peacefully Friday, June 2, 2017, at Midland Hospice House. Daniel was born April 9, 1973, in Topeka, KS, to Fredrick and Hope (Juarez) Martin. He graduated from Santa Fe Trail High School in 1991 and attended Washburn University. He is survived by his siblings, Ralph Lira, Donald Martin and Nancy Gutierrez; and several nieces, nephews and extended family members. Daniel was preceded in death by his parents; maternal and paternal grandparents; and brothers, John Lira, Jr. and Eric Lira. (Updated June 2017)


2000s

2001 (Nurse Anesthesia) - In Memoriam: York S. Johnson
York Shane Johnson, age 46, passed away on August 5, 2018 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Shane was born on September 18, 1971 to Darrell and Cassandra Johnson. He was a one in a million person. Everyone was always embraced by his friendship, also his humorous and energetic intoxicating smile. Shane was very helpful and had a heart of gold. He was a certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Shane had a lot of love for his country, his cowboys and his alma mater KU Jayhawks. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Johnson; parents, Darrell Johnson (Susan), Cassandra Johnson; sister, Chessney Lewis (Cameron); mother and father in law, Mary and Danny Alemania Sr.; brother-in-law, Danny Alemania Jr.; numerous nieces and nephews; many beloved friends and his fur babies Buddy and Domino. (Updated August 2018)

2005 (Respiratory Care) - In Memoriam: Kristine M. Thurston
Kristine "Babe" Thurston, 49, of Kansas City, Kansas, passed away suddenly on March 3, 2017 at home.  Kristine was born December 7, 1967 in KCK to John J. and Kathy Thurston. She graduated from Turner High School in 1986 and received an Associate's degree from Kansas City Kansas Community College and a Bachelor's of Science in Respiratory Care from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Kris was a member of Holy Angels Catholic Church. She loved going dancing, fashion, cooking - especially making gumbo, and spending time at home with her beloved daughters. Kris had an infectious laugh that will be missed by many. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, and her father, John Thurston. Kris is survived by her daughters, Ciera Thibodeaux, and Jada Brooks; her mother, Kathy Thomas and her husband Willard of Bonner Springs; her brother, Phillip Thurston (Tricia Jarrett) of Lee's Summit; as well as other relatives and friends. (Updated March 2017)



2010s

2010 (Audiology) - Gabriel Bargen
Audiologist Gabriel Bargen has been promoted to associate professor in Idaho State University Meridian's Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She holds a Ph.D. in audiology from University of Kansas, a master's degree in audiology from University of Kansas Medical Center, a master's in speech-language pathology from University of Nebraska, and a bachelor's in communication sciences and disorders from Texas Christian University. Congratulations, Dr. Bargen! (Updated September 2017)

2012 (Occupational Therapy), 2014 (Occupational Therapy Masters) - Bridget Glynn Starnes
Bridget married Benjamin Starnes on 7/1/18 in Pacific City, OR. They are currently living in Fayetteville, AR. (Updated July 2018)

2016 (Health Information Management), 2018 (MHSA) - Kaitlyn S. Brown
Kaitlyn writes to us that she was honored to join the Board of Directors for the KU School of Health Professions Alumni Association. Thanks, Kaitlyn!  (Updated May 2018)

2016 (Occupational Therapy) - Natalie Englert Driz
Natalie is now married to Clark-Kyle Cruz Driz and they have one daughter, Jennifer, born July of 2016. (Updated July 2017)

2017 - In Memoriam: Joseph Blake Exposito
Joseph Blake Exposito passed away on October 29th, 2016. He was 22-years-old. He was a lifer at The Barstow School, and currently a student at the University of Kansas, studying a bachelor's degree in Clinical Lab Science. He was the son of Paul Exposito (Julie Meriano) and Monique Exposito (Steve Gill), brother to Broc Exposito, and stepbrother, grandson, cousin, and friend to so many more. Blake-or "Shorty," as his family called him, despite the fact that he grew to be taller than any of us-wasn't sure what he wanted to do after graduation, but he was looking forward to an internship at the KC Crime Lab. When Blake discovered his passion for nature and science, he excelled at school, volunteered his time, blood, and bone marrow, and never once skipped a day of work-even if he often couldn't be bothered to clean his own room. To say that Blake marched to the beat of his own drum is an understatement. The first things you might notice about him were his wrinkled Hawaiian shirts, comically-oversized "Minions" phone case, or his 1987 Grand Marquis that he loved to parade around town. But what you'd remember the longest after seeing him-and it could be most easily spotted perhaps when he didn't think anyone was looking-was his radiant smile. Blake wasn't like most guys his age. He read every Twilight book, and dragged his Dad to the midnight showing of every movie (team Edward, by the way). He'd seen every episode of Golden Girls and Pawn Stars, and was easily the world's foremost expert on the Beatles. When he wasn't banging on his drum set until the house shook, he was playing video games online with his brother, spending time with his lifelong friends, or eating WAY too much candy. Blake didn't need or ask for much from anybody. Perhaps what he enjoyed most in life was simply having dinner with his parents, making them force the details about his day from him like pulling teeth. He loved his Animals-his Mom's neurotic beagle, his dad's stinky pug, and his cat whom he refused to call by her real name, instead opting for "Kitteh." It can be hard to define Blake because his unyielding curiosity about the world led him to pick up new hobbies on a daily basis. Whether it was adding to his Guinness-worthy LEGO collection, building his own computer from scratch, or planting all types of vegetables (that he admittedly was better at planting than remembering to water), Blake loved anything he could do with his hands. Once Blake got an idea for a new project in his head, nothing could stop him from getting it done. To Blake, nothing was beyond his comprehension. Despite this, Blake never let his accomplishments or his undeniable intelligence go to his head. Most often, Blake preferred to listen to others rather than make himself the center of attention. Blake rarely offered his unsolicited advice, but if you asked him he was more than happy to help you get through whatever problem you were facing. Blake showed his love through his actions, and in ways only he could. He thought wrapping gifts was a waste of time, and probably never once bought a holiday card. His idea of a Christmas gift for his brother was walking into his room, unplugging his Xbox, and saying "Here, you can have this." But Blake was also constantly surprising us with little gestures that came from a place of deep love, and showed that we were always on his mind. Gestures like the time Blake, completely out of the blue, entered that same brother into a drawing for a chance to meet the Pawn Stars in Las Vegas-even though that one did turn out to be a timeshare scam. We will always remember Blake for the small things he gave us-laughter, pride, even tough love when we needed it. Today, the world is a little bit dimmer than it used to be. But only because Blake made it so much brighter to begin with. Blake's family plans to spread his ashes in Canada and Mexico, where we've taken the family trips that have given us so many special memories. In lieu of flowers, Blake would want you give any spare time or money towards saving the planet. We love you Shorty. We will all miss you, and we will never forget the love you brought into our lives. His Mother and Father Monique Exposito (Steve Gill) and Paul Exposito (Julie Meriano). His Grandparents John and Sharon Exposito of Blue Springs, Judy Pap (Ted Williams) of Overland Park, and Joe Pap of Overland Park. His older Brother and friend Broc Exposito. His Stepsiblings Connor, Miles, and Justin Gill, and Sebastian and Gabriela Meriano. His Aunts and Uncles Todd Pap (Stacy) of Lee's Summit and Karen Singbiel (Bruce) of Canada. His Cousins Tanner, Hunter, and Garrett Pap and Hunter, Cole, and Shane Singbiel. (Updated November 2016)


Last modified: Nov 29, 2018
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