Obituary For Virginia Chambers

Virginia Marie Chambers, 90, of Fort Scott, and formerly of Hiattville, Kansas, passed away Thursday evening, December 28, 2017 at the Country Place Memory Care in Fort Scott.

She was born July 31, 1927, in Girard, Kansas, the daughter of Don and Imo Irene (Rogers) Salmon. She married John Joseph “Joe” Chambers May 28, 1950, in Hiattville, Kansas, and he preceded her in death June 24, 1995.

Virginia graduated from Fort Scott High School in 1944 and during her time there was able to take courses from Fort Scott Junior College, graduating with sixteen college credit hours. She continued her education in the summers and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from Pittsburg State University in 1957. In 1963, she received her Master’s degree in School Administration from PSU.

Virginia taught in rural schools including Hepler Elementary in Crawford County and in the USD 234 and USD 235 schools for thirty-nine years, the last eighteen as a Title I Reading Teacher at West Bourbon Elementary. She retired in 1985. She also worked for the Economy Book Company training teachers to teach the phonics method of reading.

Virginia was a member of the Hiattville United Methodist Church where she served as pianist and organist for over sixty years. She was instrumental in writing and directing the annual Christmas Program, and she also served as Choir Director, Sunday School Teacher, as well as helped with Vacation Bible School.

After moving to LaCygne, she transferred membership to the LaCygne United Methodist Church and remained an Associate Member of Hiattville United Methodist. She was a Lifetime Member of the Ideal Chapter #369 Order of Eastern Star which merged with Olive Chapter, the Kansas State Teacher’s Association, and the Bourbon County Retired Teachers Association. She received the Kansas East Conference Denman Award for Evangelism.

Survivors include close friend and heart-adopted daughter Regina Woodworth and husband Tom, of Iola, Kansas; brother Harold Salmon and wife Segrid of Placerville, California; sisters-in-law Juanita Long and Shirley Chambers, both of LaCygne, Kansas; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great-great nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband Joe, Virginia was also preceded in death by her parents.

Rev. January Kiefer will conduct funeral services Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, with burial following at the Fort Scott National Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Tuesday evening, January 2, 2018, from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Fort Scott Community College endowed scholarship, Hiattville United Methodist, or LaCygne United Methodist, and left in the care of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, 15 W. Wall Street, PO Box 309, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Condolences may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Obituary For Lewis William Lucas

Obituary for Lewis William Lucas

Lewis William “Bill” Lucas, age 85, a resident of Humboldt, Kansas, passed away Thursday, December 28, 2017, at the Heritage Health Care, Chanute, Kansas.

Bill was born on May 3, 1932, in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Lewis Edward and Thelma (Weddle) Lucas. Bill was a Veteran serving his country with the United States Army. He worked as a welder and an over the road trucker.

He married Charlotte Stephens on April 25, 1981. Bill enjoyed tinkering and loved his animals.
Survivors include his wife, Charlotte of the home, a daughter, Karon Schnichels of Fort Scott, Kansas, a daughter-in-law Mandy Lucas, of Redfield, Kansas, ten grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren on the way.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Eric Lucas, a daughter, Melody Ann Lucas and a grandson, Ernest Owen Lucas.

Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2018, at the Cheney Witt Chapel. Burial will follow in the U.S. National Cemetery Fort Scott, Kansas under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel.

The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 pm Wednesday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.

Memorial are suggested to the Lewis Lucas Memorial Fund in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main PO box 347 Fort Scott, Kansas 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Sharing Ideas For Downtown Fort Scott


Lindsay Madison at the Christmas Parade 2017 which the Chamber of Commerce sponsors.

Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lindsay Madison has been the executive director since October 2010.

On January 11, 2011, Madison initiated the Quarterly Downtown Meet and Greet.

“I started it to provide a platform for downtown business owners and any interested party to network for ideas related to downtown,” Madison said.

The Meet & Greets are held the first Tuesday of each quarter from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. unless otherwise announced.

Usually, approximately 18 to 25 people attend, with the host business invited to tell about their business and any future events, she said.
” City representatives (Dave Martin or Rachel Pruitt) usually give a city update and a Fort (Scott National Historic Site) representative usually announces upcoming fort events,” Madison said.

Some of the projects and ideas that have come out of the meetings include:

  • A new downtown shopping brochure was completed in 2017.
  • The Toy Soldier Project was started Christmas 2017.
  • Businesses are encouraged to decorate windows for special events, i.e. patriotic for Symbols of Sacrifice, Naturalization Ceremony, etc.
  • There is a discussion about co-op advertising opportunities for retailers to go together on, i.e. TV ads, etc.
  • A new parking sign was installed on Wall Street in the city parking lot where the depot is located, to promote additional parking downtown.
  • A short-term parking sign was installed in front of Papa Don’s, following discussion of the group.
  • Ideas for downtown events and promotions are discussed, such as 10% off items on Kansas Day if shoppers wear a sunflower, the Halloween parade, the Christmas parade, and Downtown Open House events, Sales Tax Holiday (first weekend in August), 3rd Saturday Marketplace events, including when to hold the events.
  • Informing attendees of grants/incentives available to downtown businesses.
  • A scarecrow contest was held in the past to create fall decorating.
  • New downtown banners for the light poles were the result of discussion at the meetings.
  • Ideas for new murals, for instance, to replace Star Emporium mural at the north end of Main Street.
“We are always soliciting new ideas and volunteers to help organize any type of events or promotions,” Madison said.

On January 9 from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. the meet and greet will gather at Papa Don’s Restaurant, 10 N. Main to share ideas once again for the downtown area.

The goal of the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce is to be a premier chamber of commerce in the region, acknowledged for leadership effectiveness, member-focused services and success, and being a go-to resource for business and community, according to its website.

For more information:


Obituary for Benjamin H. Coe, Jr.

Benjamin H. Coe, Jr.
Obituary for Benjamin H. Coe, Jr.

Benjamin H. Coe, Jr., age 94, a lifelong resident of Ft. Scott, KS, died Wednesday, December 27, 2017, at the Franklin House, Ft. Scott. He was born July 17, 1923, in Ft. Scott, the son of Benjamin H. Coe, Sr. and Katherine Bittner Coe.

He attended St. Mary’s Grade School (one of the first classes to attend), Ft. Scott High School, Ft. Scott Junior College, and Pittsburg State, graduating in 1948.

He served in the United States Air Force from 1943 to 1945 as a bombardier and was wounded over Southern France. He received the Purple Heart.

He married Alberta L. Taylor on May 23, 1953, in Ft. Scott. Ben worked for the Western Insurance Company for 38 years, retiring in 1986.

He enjoyed woodworking and refinishing items found at auction. He was an avid sports fan, always supporting his children’s and grandchildren’s activities. He was a member of Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church and Knights of Columbus.

Survivors include his wife Alberta; six children, Ben Coe and wife Lanza, McKinney, TX, Kevin Coe and wife Kim, Wichita, KS, Keith Coe and wife Carla, Newnan, GA, Marianne Garrison and husband Jon, Ft. Scott, KS, Pat Coe and wife Mitzi, Warrenville, IL, and Janel Blackburn and husband Lee, Ft. Scott, KS; a sister, Mary Elizabeth “Zibbie” Grove, Kansas City, MO; 18 grandchildren; 19 great grandchildren; several nieces, nephews, and cousins; and special buddy, George at the Franklin House. He was preceded in death by a brother, Robert Coe; and his parents.

Father Robert Wachter will conduct the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM Wednesday, January 3, at the Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church. Burial will follow in the U. S. National Cemetery. Military Honors will be provided. The Rosary will be prayed at 5:30 with the family receiving friends from 6:00 until 8:00 Tuesday evening at the Chapel. Memorials are suggested to St. Mary’s Catholic School and may be left in the care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, KS 66701. Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

A Healthier Workplace

Fort Scott Firefighter Colten Hoggatt works out at the Fort Scott Fire Department fitness room Wednesday. The City of Fort Scott has implemented a wellness policy to incent its employee’s  to get fit.

Recently, the City of Fort Scott Commissioners implemented a  policy to engage employees in becoming more fit.

This was in response to the Healthy Bourbon County Action Team challenging businesses to develop wellness policies, Deb Needleman, human resources director with the city, said.

Other entities challenged to promote wellness and physical activity were Fort Scott Community College, Mercy Hospital, USD 234, USD 235, Peerless Products Inc., McDonald’s Restaurant, Landmark Bank and Ward Kraft Inc.

“Fort Scott Community College passed their policy recently, too,” Jody Hoener,  administrator for the Bourbon County Healthy Pathway Grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas Insurance, said. “I talked to (FSCC President) Alysia Johnston, who said they have started painting the room where their (fitness) equipment will be,” Hoener said.

“We are setting up policies to encourage employees to exercise at least three hours per week,” Needleman said. “We’ll be rolling the policy out in January to our employees.”

For her part, Needleman has started CrossFit training.

“The policy will encourage me to do CrossFit three times per week,” she said. “But any moderate physical activity that gets the heart rate going,” will work.

If she continues her fitness program for the whole month, “The following month I’ll get an incentive, a $20 reimbursement in expenses,” Needleman said.

This money can be spent on “fitness club membership, shoes, a new tire for a bicycle or anything related to physical activity”, she said.

The outcome of the policy implementation is expected to be an increase in the level of activity which is intended to help the bottom line of each entity that participates.

“When you have healthy activity, employees are more productive, there are lower health care costs and lower employee absenteeism and higher employee retention,” Needleman said.

For the incentives, employees must meet the criteria set forth in the policy, and Needleman acknowledges that not everyone will.

The policy is not mandatory, Needleman said.

Still, the city has set aside $9,000 to $15,000 in its’ budget to incent employees to get more active.

The Healthy Bourbon County Action Team will survey the city staff in August or September 2018 to find out if the level of activity has increased and thereby are approaching or meeting national standards, Needleman said.

“We will look at and re-evaluate the policy at that time,” Needleman said.

“We were about one-half of the national standard,” when surveyed prior to implementation of the policy,  she said.

Increasing activity is the goal of year one of the policy, Needleman said.

“Year two, we will look at nutrition,” she said. “Healthy eating, food choices in the workplace.”

“Year three we will look at tobacco cessation,” she said.

Each worksite is eligible for $10,000 to implement a wellness policy  Hoener said.

Firefighter Colten Hoggatt, 25, pictured, works out even on his days off for about one hour, he said. The fire department has a separate building on site that it uses as a fitness room.

Fort Scott Fire Department Captain Dale Bolinger said the fire department currently tracks physical activity of each employee and that information is included in their employment evaluation.


Obituary For Randall Readinger

Randall Ray Readinger, age 56, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away unexpectedly Tuesday, December 26, 2017, at the Ft. Scott Mercy Hospital Emergency Room.  He was born April 10, 1961, in Ft. Scott, the son of Delbert Readinger and Leota Carpenter Readinger.  He graduated from Ft. Scott High School with the class of 1979, while in high school he was on the football and wrestling teams. He later went on to receive both his BA and MBA degrees from Pittsburg State University. He married Betsy Anthon on August 29, 1987, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  While in high school, Randall worked hauling hay.  Following his education, he moved to Tulsa where he was employed by Arthur Anderson, Transok, and Thrifty Rent-A-Car.  He later moved to Pittsburg, Kansas where he served as CFO for Watco.  In 2006, the family moved to Ft. Scott where Randall worked as CFO for Ft. Scott Livestock Market and was also the owner of SGT Printing and Promotions.  Randall was involved with a number of area civic organizations.  He served as Secretary of the Pioneer Harvest Fiesta, Chairman for the Bourbon County Republicans and served as treasurer for several Republican political candidates. He was an active member of the Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church and served as treasurer for the Knights of Columbus.  He thoroughly enjoyed his life in the country where he enjoyed taking care of his animals and making wine.  He was a member of the P.S.U. Rugby team, then later a member of the Tulsa Rugby Club. He also liked to remodel houses and enjoyed recycling and repurposing old items in his restorations. 
Survivors include his wife, Betsy, and his three children, Heather, Hayley and Matthew Readinger, all of the home.  Also surviving are his mother, Leota McClendon, of Liberal, Missouri; a sister, Debra Martin and husband, Larry and a brother, Loren Readinger and wife, Julie, all of Ft. Scott; a step-brother, Mark McClendon, of Liberal, Missouri, three step-sisters, Lisa McClendon Butts, also of Liberal, Jenet Hill, of Nevada, Missouri and Vicky Ray, of Tulsa, Oklahoma; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Clifford and Betty Jo Anthon, of Neosho, MO and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family members.  He was preceded in death by his father and step-mother, Delbert and Eva Readinger, step-father, Jim McClendon; step-brother, Lynn McClendon and step-sister, Bonnie Bailey. 
Father Robert Wachter will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 A.M. Tuesday, January 2 at the Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church.  Burial will follow in the Memory Gardens Cemetery.  The rosary will be recited at 10:00 A.M. prior to the service at the church.  The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 P.M. Monday at the Cheney Witt Chapel.  Memorials are suggested to Catholic Charities or Mary Queen of Angels Catholic Church and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

New Catholic Boarding School To Open 2018

Daniel Kerr, president of St. Martin’s Academy shows the newly poured foundation to the first building in construction at the school.

Years in a Pennsylvania boarding school created a passion and vision for education for a local Fort Scottian.

Daniel Kerr’s experience altered him.

“It was a life-changing experience,” Kerr said.

Since that time Kerr has had an interest in developing a boarding school that would incorporate farming into the school curriculum and  has been working towards that vision and laying the groundwork.

“This is not a reform school,” Kerr said. ” This will be for kids of high character and goodwill. There is a fairly rigorous application process and an in-person interview with parents and prospective students.”

Thus plans were begun for constructing St. Martin’s Academy, a boys Catholic boarding school.

The Kerr Family Estate deeded to St. Martin’s Academy about five acres of land west of Fort Scott on Indian Road.

Daniel Kerr met with the bishop and vicar-general of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita to tell them of his vision.

“They are enthusiastic and have been supportive of our plans,” he said.

In October 2017 construction began of phase one, Theotokos Hall.

Kevin Klassen Construction, Kansas City, is the main contractor, Kerr said. The architect is Greg Madeen, Durango, CO, who does alternative energy construction and design.

This month the City of Fort Scott granted the school a land use permit.

Also this month, the footings for the first building were laid.

The footprint of the hall is 74 feet by 36 feet, with a full basement, first floor, and loft area, totaling over 6,000 square feet, Kerr said.

Theotokos Hall is the first and largest building and will be constructed of native oak timbers and stone.

“Overall, the school campus will be situated on five acres with access to 200 acres,” Kerr said. “We live on the property and built a house here. Kerr is married with children.

The school will be using passive solar and hope to have a windmill for electrical and also active solar, he said.

Theokotos Hall will serve the needs of the school for the first year before becoming the permanent dining hall and hearth. It is slated for completion in July 2018.

Eventually, there will be five separate buildings on the site.

St. Martin’s Academy Plan 2017

By 2022 there is a plan to complete construction on the crowning feature of the campus, a  chapel made of native stone.

Patrick Whelan, who will be the new headmaster, has moved to Fort Scott with his family and has been working on the school’s curriculum development and educational compliance, along with recruiting students, Kerr said.

“We are blessed to be able to work together for about 15 months of preparation leading into the first academic year,” Kerr said.

“We’ll be applying for grants, benefactors, and financial partners interested in investing in a bold new adventure in education,” Kerr said.

Some upcoming events for St. Martin’s Academy:

Feb. 9 -10 the academy staff will be hosting the Third Annual Prairie Troubadour Conference in Fort Scott. This year’s topic is “Field and Family: Reflections on a Healthy Human Ecology”, according to information provided. To learn more and to purchase tickets

F.O.R.T Leadership Camp will be offered April 16-22, 2018 and again June 11-17, 2018 for boys ages 12-14. Cost is $500 per session. The young men will learn to build a fire, make a shelter, forage for food, race kayaks, serve mass and butcher a hog, according to information provided. Visit:

For more information view the academy’s website at

This photo shows the foundation wall of the first building being built at St. Martin’s Academy on December 20. The Fort Scott Lake overflow area can be seen from the school.

St. Martin’s Academy is located at 1994 Indian Road, Fort Scott, KS, 66701. The phone number is 620-223-2704.

Obituary For Betty Jean LaPierre

Betty Jean LaPiere

Betty Jean LaPiere, age 83, a resident of Ft. Scott, Kansas, passed away Sunday, December 24, 2017, at the Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg, Kansas. She was born March 15, 1934, in Girard, Kansas, the daughter of Harry Sandwith and Margaret Davidson Sandwith. Betty had worked for fifteen years in the central supply department of Ft. Scott Mercy Hospital. She later had been employed by both Medicalodge and Dollar General Store. She enjoyed tending to her flowers and taking care of her family.

Survivors include her seven children, Richard Osgood, of Springhill, Florida, Margaret Wipple, of Keystone Heights, Florida, Gerald LaPiere and Gilbert LaPiere, both of Olean, New York, Matthew LaPiere, of Ft. Scott, Kansas, David LaPiere, of Arma, Kansas and Mark LaPiere, of Moore, Oklahoma. Also surviving are numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother, Joseph Sandwith and three sisters, Alfreda Smith, Harriet Wilcox and Adelene Burch.

There was cremation, and no services are planned. Arrangements are under the direction of the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, Ft. Scott, Kansas.

Obituary For Kristine Jane Pulliam

Kristine Jane Pulliam, age 57, a resident of Iola, KS, died Monday, December 25, 2017, at her home.  She was born May 27, 1960, in Harlan, IA, the daughter of Herbert and Alice Morris Hansen.  She grew up and graduated high school in Elk Horn, IA.  She married Earl Dean Pulliam on November 13, 1993, in Farlington, KS.  He preceded her in death on July 24, 2007.  Kris worked as a cosmologist for several years.  She then began a career as a CNA/CMA, working for several local nursing homes and Allen County Hospital.  Everything revolved around her children, grandchildren, and family.  She loved teaching them to fish, drink coffee, and tell them stories.  She enjoyed sewing, various crafts, and being outdoors.  She was a home away from home for many.

Survivors include two daughters, Emily Pulliam and Ethan Lefert, Iola, KS, and Amber Pulliam and fiancé Jonathon Gay, Bronson, KS; a step-son Earl Jay Pulliam; three step-daughters, Sarah Chandler and husband Jason, Krystal Pulliam, and Heather Gaughan; a brother, Ralph Edward Hansen and wife Grete, St. Mary’s, GA; a sister, Martha Farley and husband Jim, Bronson, KS; two grandchildren, Willow Pulliam and Remington Pulliam; thirteen step-grandchildren; a nephew, John Farley and wife Cheryl, Iola, KS; a niece Roberta Reetz and husband Nathan, Pittsburg, KS; and six great nieces and nephews.  Besides her husband, Earl, she was preceded in death by a granddaughter, Jayde Pulliam, a brother, Robert Hansen; a nephew, Zack Hansen; and her parents.

A celebration of life will be held from 4:00 until 8:00 PM Thursday, December 28th, at the Bronson Community Center.  Memorials are suggested to the Kristine Pulliam Memorial Fund and may be left in care of the Cheney Witt Chapel, P.O. Box 347, Ft. Scott, KS 66701.  Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Landmark Bank Expands

Workers from Hornbuckle Framing LLC, Ottawa, work at Landmark Bank Wednesday. From left, Dane Broddy, Nick Nicnew and James Montgomery, all of Ottawa.

Landmark Bank, located at the corner of Main and 23rd Streets is expanding space.

“This is to make it more inviting for the customer,” John Leek, South Branch Landmark manager said. “Our transaction volume is in the top three daily that Landmark has statewide.”

“I think there is a misconception that we are drive-through,” Leek said. “We open accounts. I do consumer loans as well.”

There are eight employees at the south branch location.


Leek said he is “excited” about the expansion and looks forward to the completion.

“We apologize for the mess,” he said.

The addition to the existing building measures 26 by 30 feet or 834 square feet.

Two offices, storage and enlarging the teller area and front lobby are part of the plan, according to Jim Daniels, Loyd Builders Inc. Daniels is the superintendent who was on site Wednesday.

Hornbuckle Framing LLC is a sub-contractor for Loyd Builders, Daniels said. The framing crew was working to frame the addition.

The expansion began about three weeks ago.

“We are hoping by the beginning of April, we will be done,” Daniels said.

Lobby hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon.

Drive-through hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8  a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bank’s phone number is 620-768-2374.

The contractor’s plan for the expansion.