Obituary: Allen Laverne Sather

Submitted by Cheney-Witt Funeral Home

Allen Laverne Sather, age 84, resident of Fort Scott, Kan., died Monday, April 3, 2017, at his home.

He was born September 2, 1932, in Shell Lake, Wis., the son of Ephraim and Inga Solie Sather. He married Donna Hefter on June 27, 1953, in Shell Lake. He purchased his first farm at the age of 18. He farmed until he began selling insurance. Everything he did in work was centered on helping people. Allen enjoyed bowling, golfing, fishing, camping and spending time with his family. He played board games and card games with his children and grandchildren. He also played guitar and enjoyed sing-a-longs with the kids. He had a gift of making people laugh. He was a member of the Trinity Lutheran Church.

Survivors include his wife Donna of the home; children Sherrie Clark, Fort Scott, Ron Sather and wife Donna, Cottage Grove, Minn., Rick Sather and wife Jane, Shell Lake, Wis., Rhonda Ankrum and husband Floyd, Baldwin, Wis., Terri Bradley and husband Mark, Arlington, Texas, and Jim Sather and wife Chris, Fort Scott; a brother, John Sather and wife Mae, Willmar, Minn.; 16 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; two nieces and two nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents.

There was cremation. Vicar Michael Apfel will conduct memorial services at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at the Trinity Lutheran Church, Fort Scott. The family will receive friends from 5 until 7 Wednesday evening at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Trinity Lutheran Church and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Obituary: Carol Jean Bradley

Submitted by Cheney-Witt Funeral Home

Carol Jean Bradley, age 74, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kans., went to home to her Lord, on Saturday, April 1, 2017.

She was born June 9, 1942, in Pawhuska, Okla., the daughter of James Otto Stephenson and Verbel Viola King Stephenson.  She married Charles B. Bradley on June 9, 1960, at the Grace Baptist Tabernacle in Fort Scott.  In earlier years, Jean had worked for Campbell’s Laundry and for the Western Insurance Company. She was a long-time member of the Grace Baptist Tabernacle.

Survivors include her husband, Charles, of the home; a son, David Eugene Bradley and wife, Jonna, of Springfield, Mo., and a daughter, Kay Payne, of Fort Scott; five grandchildren, Wesley Payne and wife, Courtney, of Pittsburg, Kans., Geoff Payne, of Ft. Myers, Florida, and Benjamin, Erica and Jessica Bradley, all of Springfield; and five great-grandchildren, Lexi, Aaron, Syvhara, Oliviette and Naomi.  She was preceded in death by her parents; two sisters, Betty Russell and Nadiene Bennett and an infant brother, Lowell Louis Stephenson.

Rev. Paul Rooks will conduct funeral services at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, at the Grace Baptist Tabernacle.  Burial will follow in the Prescott Cemetery.  The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 1 p.m. until service time at the church.  Memorials are suggested to the Grace Baptist Tabernacle and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Fort Scott, KS.


K-State Extension Provides Gardening and Preserving Courses

With the arrival of spring and the growing season, the Kansas State Southwind Extension District Office is providing a number of workshops focusing on gardening and food preservation in order to educate those interested in learning about the subject.

Monday evening, the extension office hosted a workshop at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds on herbs. Hostesses of the event discussed the different types of herbs, how to grow them, the benefits of eating them and how to cook with them.

“You really can get creative with them,” extension district agent Kathy McEwan said of cooking with herbs.

Starting Thursday, the extension office will begin a series of classes called “Grow it, Prepare it.” Those seven workshops will be held in April, May and June and will include topics such as gardening 101, food preservation 101, jams and jellies, pressure canning, growing berries, container gardening and salsa.

A list of the class descriptions and registration deadlines can be found at

Other events will be offered by the K-State Southwind Extension District as well, including a course on controlling weeds on April 26, at the Neosho County Courthouse. The date was printed incorrectly in a recent release. Registrations are required by April 18.

Recycling Returns to Bourbon County

After being in business in Bourbon County for less than a year, 4 State Sanitation continues to look for more ways to serve the county, this week adding recycling to its list of services.

Stock Photo from 4 State Sanitation

“Four State is ready to offer a public service that we’ve all been desperately asking for and needing for some time,” Fort Scott Economic Development Director Rachel Pruitt said during the recent Fort Scott City Commission meeting Tuesday.

Starting Monday, April 3, 4 State provides a drop-off point for recyclable items, including paper such as books and newspapers, aluminum, plastic items and even clothes and shoes. Other items such as glass or electronics may also be accepted in the future, but currently cannot be processed.

The items, preferably cleaned and sorted, can be dropped off at the 4 State Recycling Center located in the old Topco building at 600 N. Franklin Street each Monday and Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and again from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“We’re ready to go,” Taysha Meech of 4 State said during the meeting.

Meech said they encourage those interested in volunteering to help with the process to contact them.

“On behalf of the community… thank you very much for doing this,” City Manager Dave Martin said. “This is great.”


Obituary: Gary Eaton

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Gary Eugene Eaton, age 69, a resident of Fort Scott, Kansas, passed away Friday March 24, 2017, at his home.  He was born November 27, 1947, in Mattoon, Ill., the son of Raymond Eaton and Loraine Osborn Eaton.  Gary graduated from Mattoon High School and enlisted with the United States Navy, where he served onboard the aircraft carrier the U. S. S. Franklin D. Roosevelt.  He married LaDonna Young in 1972.  Following his discharge from the Navy, Gary moved to Fort Scott where he owned and operated the Silver Spur.  He later worked for Auto Zone in Fort Scott as well as Nevada and Pittsburg. Gary was later employed as Parts Manager for Ray Shepherd Motors which later became Briggs Auto.  He enjoyed playing pool and competed in many pool tournaments.  He also liked to work on small engines and watch western movies and television shows.  He also loved to spend time with his grandchildren.

Submitted by Cheney Witt

Survivors include his three children, R. D. Eaton and wife, Kasey, of Fort Scott, Tina Schilling and husband, Travis, also of Fort Scott and Becky Gorman and husband, Brian, of Goodyear, Ariz.; eight grandchildren, Kaylee, Morgan, Natalie, Matthew, Taylor, Tabitha, Brooke, and Abagail.  Also surviving are his former wife, LaDonna Cox, of Fort Scott; an aunt by whom he was raised, Jenny Lauter and her husband, David, of Mattoon, Ill.; a sister, Tina Bundrant, and a brother, David Harbour, both of Parris, Ill.  He was preceded in death by his parents.

Following cremation, Pastor Matthew Hunt will conduct graveside services at 10 a.m.Wednesday, March 28, at the U. S. National Cemetery.  Military honors will be provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart Post #1165 Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Family and friends may meet at the Cheney Witt Chapel prior to leaving for the cemetery at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday.  The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Memorials are suggested to Care to Share and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Fort Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at


Obituary: Genevieve A. Ballinger

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Genevieve A. Ballinger, age 90, resident of Fort Scott, Kan., died Saturday March 25, 2017, at the Medicalodge of Fort Scott. She was born April 1, 1926, in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., the daughter of William Webster Close and Bessie Elmira Morris Close. Genevieve graduated from Poughkeepsie High School. She married Russell Ballinger February 3, 1945. She was co-owner of Ballinger T. V. She has served as President, Secretary and Treasurer of the V.F.W Ladies Auxiliary. She helped start the Daughters of the Nile Club and had served as President, and was a Worthy Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star Hiattville chapter. She loved quilting, dancing and creating art.

Submitted by Cheney Witt

Survivors include her four children, Russell Ballinger, Jr. and wife Margaret of Champlin, Minn., Larry Ballinger and wife Radonna of Pittsburg, Kan., Doreen Brown and husband Johnnie, of Girard, Kan., and Lisa Goddard and husband Steven of Fort Scott; a brother William Close, Jr., of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; a sister Beverly DeMott of Red Hook, N.Y.; nine grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Russell Ballinger, Sr., a grandson, Joel Daly and a brother, Charles Close.

Rev. Kevin Moyers will conduct graveside services at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 30, 2017, at the U. S. National Cemetery. Family and friends may meet at the Cheney Witt Chapel prior to leaving for the cemetery at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Memorials are suggested to the Mirza Shrine Transportation Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Fort Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at


Obituary: Kenneth “Kenny” Charles Garrett

Submitted by Cheney Witt Funeral Home

Kenneth “Kenny” Charles Garrett, age 69, a resident of Horseshoe Bend, Ark., passed away Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at the Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home, Ark., following a short battle with cancer.

He was born December 16, 1947, in Pontiac, Mich., the son of Chester Lee Garrett and Thelma Marie (Barber) Garrett. Ken grew up in Garland, Kan., and joined the United States Navy in 1967 as a Navy Seabee.  He served two tours in Vietnam and finished his service in Keflavik, Iceland in 1973.  He had an exciting career as a heavy equipment mechanic and operator throughout the United States and Canada.  Ken loved his family, especially his daughters and grandchildren. He had an infectious smile and a witty sense of humor. With his easy-going, caring spirit he made lifelong friends in every town he worked and visited. He was a member of many clubs and organizations throughout his life.  He followed in his father’s footsteps joining the Free Masons. He had a great love of music and cars that he passed on to his children and grandchildren. He played in numerous bands over the years and was nicknamed “Kenny Kansas” when he played guitar and sang in the Freddie Henshaw Band.  He could play any instrument he picked up; he was a songwriter and his favorite instruments were guitar, piano and fiddle. He loved watching NASCAR races and he owned several Corvettes throughout his life. Ken had a pilot’s license and owned a plane in Alaska, where he also enjoyed hunting, fishing and boating. He was always dreaming big which led him to many exciting life experiences. He did and saw more than a hundred people see in one lifetime.

He is survived by his life partner, Lisa Avery; three daughters, Pamela Garrett of Sherwood, Ore., Kimberly Schamburg and husband Dennis of Cedar Hill, Mo., Kathleen Cole and husband Robert of Palmer, Alaska; grandchildren, Braydon Robbins and Shayla Jaeger of Portland, Ore., Audrianna Alleva of Anchorage, Alaska, Dalton, Carissa, and Seamus Alleva of Sherwood, Ore., Natalie Paul of St. Louis, Mo., Benjamin, Lydia, Adam, Caleb, Luke, and Asher Schamburg of Cedar Hill, Mo., Ryan and Kaylee Cole of Palmer, Alaska, Kage and Tana Akers of Topeka, Kan.; one great-grandson William Beerkircher; four sisters, Linda Lamer and husband Roger of Jefferson, Ore., Nancy Golladay and husband Gary of Joplin, Mo., Wanda Haak and husband Paul of Corvallis, Ore., Sherry Garrett and Gary Simonton of Salem, Ore., four brothers, William Garrett of Redmond, Ore., Ricky Garrett and wife Paula of Sweet Home, Ore., Darryl Garrett and wife Ali of Sweet Home, Ore., Wayne Garrett of Sweet Home, Ore.; one aunt, Dorothy Mero of Foley, Al., and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Rene Akers; grandsons Tanyr Alan Akers and Seth Josiah Schamburg; two brothers Clayton Garrett and James Garrett, one sister Marjorie Garrett, his parents, and a dear friend, Debbie Jensen.

Rev. Dr. Jared Witt will conduct a graveside service at 11 a.m. Monday April 3, 2017, at the U. S. National Cemetery.  Military honors will be provided by the Olson Frary Burkhart post #1165 V.F.W. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main Fort Scott, Kan. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guest book at


Gunn Park Invites Community Members and Events

With the arrival of spring and even warmer months to come, the city of Fort Scott encourages residents and visitors to take advantage of the amenities provided at Gunn Park.

“What an awesome park we have here,” City Manager Dave Martin said during the Chamber Coffee Thursday morning, when codes enforcement manager Rhonda Dunn spoke of the history of the park.

Dunn said she has heard that Gunn Park is the largest, city-owned park in the state of Kansas, with 155 acres that include two lakes, seven shelter houses, a number of playgrounds, a disc golf course, dog park, trails and the Marmatton River.

In the early 1900s, Gunn Park was privately owned land and only Fern Lake existed, with a wooden pavilion building and the remainder of the current park property being used as farmland. According to records, the park was frequently used by the community who came for swimming, diving, boat rentals and five cent trolley rides.

William Gunn, who found success in real estate and invested greatly in Fort Scott in the early 1900s, purchased the land and gave it to the city, with records quoting him as saying he believed the park should belong to the city and should always be free to visitors.

“We are the benefactors of an incredible gift,” Dunn said of Gunn’s gift more than a century ago.

Since accepting that gift, the city has maintained the park as well as made a number of changes. Dunn encourages businesses and residents to consider Gunn Park when planning for events such as parties or family reunions, adding she would like to see the community present at the park more frequently.

Those interested in reserving one of the shelter houses, two of which now have heating and air, can contact city hall.

Patty LaRoche: Called to Listen

No matter how squeamish you are, I recommend you see the movie “Hacksaw Ridge.” Even though the war scenes are graphically gruesome—I closed my eyes—the message to rely on God far exceeds any blood-and-guts cinematography.

If ever someone’s Christian convictions dictated his decisions, it was Desmond Doss’s. In the opening scene, Doss is reading aloud from Isaiah 40:31: But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. That verse becomes his life refrain.

After joining the army to work as a medic in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, Doss relentlessly defends his belief not to shoot a gun, kill the enemy or work on the Sabbath. (Hard to do in war, and especially difficult to convince your army buddies you deserve to serve alongside them.) Doss’s bunkmates despise him. As they practice their sharp-shooting skills, he reads his Bible. In their eyes, they are asked to protect a young, skinny medic who refuses to carry his fair load.

Because of that, Doss is beaten, persecuted and charged with “mental instability.” After arguing for his First Amendment rights—the freedom “to be like Christ: saving life instead of taking it”—he wins his court martial case and is allowed to go into battle.

Only when he is in a foxhole with Smitty, the soldier who led the bunkhouse assault against him, does Doss reveal why he abhors violence: as an adolescent, he had pulled a gun on his alcoholic father who was beating his mother. The foxhole partners soon realize they have many things in common. As a friendship is formed, the Japanese attack.

In the ensuing battle, Smitty is killed. The American soldiers are forced to abandon the area, leaving their wounded behind.

Doss desperately pleads with God. “What do you want of me? I don’t understand! I can’t hear you!” At that moment, Doss hears a cry from a wounded soldier. His answer has come. Doss stands, says “Alright,” straps on his helmet, and as his fellow soldiers retreat, walks back into battle. Alone.

That scene plays out multiple times as Doss begs God to allow him to save “just one more.” Each time, as an injured fighter cries out, Doss belly crawls to follow the voice of the wounded. Exposing himself to heavy gun and mortar fire, he drags severely injured men to the edge of the ridge, ties a rope around their bodies and lowers them to the waiting medics below.

Because of Doss’s bravery and faith in God, he is able, over a twelve-hour period, to save 75 wounded comrades. This courageous action and others earn Doss America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, the first ever given to a conscientious objector.

Doss had begged for an audible voice from God; instead, he received his answer amidst the cries of the desperate people around him. So what are we to take from this?

If we want to hear God’s voice, maybe it’s as simple as paying attention. To our neighbors. Our friends. Our families. Our enemies. Just like God called Doss to do the impossible, perhaps he wants the same from us.

The question remains: Are we interested enough to listen?

Fort Scott News