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Seen on the Scene


James M. Cook, Jr.

A Celebration of Life for Eads, Colorado resident, James M. Cook, Jr. affectionately known to many as Junior will be held at 10:00 AM, Saturday, April 12, 2014 at the Praise Community Church in Eads, CO with Pastor Tony Jensen officiating. Interment will be follow at the Eads Cemetery.

Visitation for Mr. Cook will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, Friday, April 10, 2014 at the Peacock Funeral Home.

James was born on June 12, 1930 at Dodge City, Kansas to James M. and Mary Mildred (Whittaker) Cook, Sr. and departed this life at the age of 83 at his home in Eads on April 8, 2014 with his family by his side.

He is preceded in death by his parents, infant daughter; Elizabeth Ann Cook, four brothers and seven sisters.

James is survived by his wife; Charlotte Cook of the family home in Eads, children; Sonya (Chuck) Simmons of Rocky Ford, CO, Mary Lou (Russ McNamara) Cook-Peck of Centennial, CO and Vicki (Dave) Lewis of Lamar, eight grandchildren; Audrey (Ralph) Rouille of Ordway, CO, Annie (Nolan) Walter of Manzanola, CO, Josh (Jennifer) Simmons of Cambridge, MD, Nathan (Heather) Simmons of Lenora, KS, James Dean (Katie) Peck of Colorado Springs, CO, Chris (Liz) Owens of Pueblo, CO, Tiffany (Michael) Lunsford and Andrea (Brandon) Trumble all of Lamar. He is also survived by his twenty-two great-grandchildren and two on the way, siblings; Lloyd Cook of Live Oak, FL and Gary (Billie) Cook of Arkansas City, KS as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other family and a host of friends. 

Memorial Contributions may be made to the Lamar Area Hospice either direct or in care of the funeral home office. 

Services are under the direction of the Peacock Family.

For current information and online condolences please visit our website at 

Daisy Ellen Gardner

Daisy Ellen Gardner, 84, of Aurora, Colorado, passed away March 23, 2014. She was born in Coolidge, Kansas on Feb. 6, 1930 and graduated from Syracuse High School in 1948.

Daisy was the first one in the family to graduate from high school, achieve a Bachelors degree and complete her Masters in Elementary Education. She graduated from Hays State and Emporia State University. Teaching was her life’s calling and she taught for 15 years before she was elected to be the Superintendent of Public Instruction for Hamilton County, Kan. for two terms. When she became ill, she moved to Colorado to improve her health concerns. She was a member of the National Teachers Education Association for 20 years in Kansas and participated in the endowments to improve education opportunities for children.

She is survived by two sisters, Violet Pickle & Rose Houston; brother in law, Delbert Pickle; and special friend, John Beren; several nieces and nephews; many great nieces and nephews; and numerous friends. She was preceded in death by both parents Lawrence and Gladys Gardner, brothers Frank Gardner and Ernest Gardner and two nieces, Linda Pickle and Susan Reagan.

The Funeral Service was held on April 1, 2014 with at Olinger Moore Howard Chapel, 4345 West 46th Avenue, Denver, 80212. Burial will be at Fairmount Cemetery, 430 South Quebec Street, Denver, 80247.

Gary Wayne Diehl

Gary Wayne Diehl, 74, died Friday, March 28, 2014. He was born Oct. 8, 1939 near Elkland, Mo., the son of William B. and Mildred G. Wingo Diehl.

He was a 1957 graduate of Elkland High School, a member of Loyal Order of Moose #982, Highlands Golf Club and former member of AMBUCS. Gary was construction estimator and carpenter for several local companies including Rogg Builders, Haskard, Inc., A & A Builders, Ebeling Pools and Hamilton Roofing.

On June 2, 1962, he married Judy Mae Helton in Syracuse, Kan. She survives. Other survivors include: two sons and their wives, Jeffery and Olivia of Fairport Harbor, Ohio, and Dwain and Karen of Derby, Kan.; brothers, Lendol and Pat of Georgetown, Texas, Ronald and Jan of Clayton, N.C., Rex and Barb of Elkland, Mo., and Jerry and Diana of Fairgrove, Mo.; sister, Patsy and Bill Harwood of Fairgrove, Mo.; five grandchildren, Brock Darling of Hutchinson, Kan., Aaron Darling of Alice, Texas, JourdAnne Diehl of Hutchinson, Chelsea Diehl of Derby, and Jeremiah Wilson of Derby. He was preceded in death by his parents, and two granddaughters, Sydnei Diehl and Emily Diehl.

Funeral will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 1, 2014, at Elliott Chapel in Hutchinson, with Pastor Rick Goertzen presiding. Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday, March 31 with the family present from 6 to 8 p.m. at Elliott Mortuary in Hutchinson. Burial will be in Penwell Gabel Cemetery and Mausoleum in Hutchinson. In lieu of flowers memorial gifts may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Mooseheart, or Moose Haven, all in care of Elliott Mortuary, 1219 North Main, Hutchinson, KS 67501.

Michelle Denise Travis

Michelle Denise Travis, age 53 of Syracuse, Kan., died Friday, March 28, 2014 at Seasons of Life Living Center in Syracuse. She was born Feb. 16, 1961 at Phoenix, Ariz., the daughter of Eugene and Shirley (Downen) Seal. 

Michelle grew up in Utah and has lived the last 18 years in Syracuse. She was a horseshoer and also worked in construction and as a truck driver. 

She is survived by three sons, Alan Seal of Utah, Jacob Travis of San Antonio, Texas and Jesse Gomez of Syracuse; two daughters, Jewel Travis and Renia Seal, both of Syracuse; her mother, Shirley Seal of Arizona; two brothers Gene and Greg Seal both of Utah; two sisters, Sherry Malik of New York and Sharlene Saleh of California; and four grandchildren Maize, Journey, Callan and Euna. Michelle was preceded in death by her father Eugene.

Private memorial service and inurnment will be held at a later date. Family suggests memorials be given to the Michelle Travis Memorial Fund in care of Garnand Funeral Home, 405 W. Grant, Ulysses, KS 67880.

Maybelle Wells Couch

Maybelle Wells Couch passed away on Jan. 5, 2014, at the age of 93 at Augustana Health Care Center in Hastings, Minn. She was born Jan. 21, 1920 in Syracuse, Kan., the daughter of Byron Irving Wells and Lulu Belle (Harrision) Wells.  Maybelle grew up in Syracuse and graduated from Syracuse High School.  She attended Dodge City business school.  She married Boyd A. Couch Oct. 12, 1942 in Reno, Nev. and they spent the war years in Menlo Park, Calif.  She and Boyd returned to Syracuse after the war. 

Maybelle was a leader in Girl Scouts and took a troop from Brownies to Senior Girl Scouts.  She was also a member and past Worthy Matron of Syracuse Chapter of Eastern Star and was the Mother Advisor for Rainbow Girls in the 60s.

She was employed at Hamilton County Hospital and became the administrator for the Medical Record department. She was instrumental in getting the record department accredited with all the regulations that were required as a result of the Medicare legislation.  She took her training from a 2-year correspondence course and passed her accreditation testing in 1965.  She was very active in the state with regards to medical information and on many panels during State Medical Records Seminars. She retired in 1988, and remained active on various boards and a representative for the Silver Haired Legislature.

She was preceded in death by her parents, B.I. and Lulu Wells; spouse, Boyd A. Couch; six brothers, Henry “Hank” Wells, Lowell Wells, Elmo Wells,  Ovitt Wells, Rex Wells and Calvin Wells; and three sisters, Lucile (Wells) and husband E. L. Knapp, Lois (Wells) and husband Lee Burris, and June Wells; and step son John B. (Jackie) Couch. 

She is survived by two sons, James H. (and wife Gonul) Couch of Las Vegas, Nev.; and Lynn E. Couch; and one daughter, Linda (Couch) Gardner and husband Gary in St. Paul, Minn. and two grandchildren, Todd H. and wife, Erin Gardner of Woodbury, Minn. and Victoria (Gardner) Elsmore and husband, Cory; and two great-grandchildren, Isabelle and Samantha Gardner; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A private internment will take place April 4.  Any memorial contributions should be made to Hamilton County Hospital.

Carrie Jo Stimatze

Carrie Jo Stimatze, 66, died Monday, March 24, 2014 at her home in Pratt, Kan.   She was born July 28, 1947 in Syracuse, Kan., the daughter of John and Alice (Graber) Jury. She was retired from the Ninnescah Electric Company after over 30 years of service.    

On Dec. 23, 1967 she married Roy E. Stimatze in Syracuse, he survives. Other survivors include a son, Keith (Sara) Stimatze, Wichita, Kan.; a daughter Anjanette (David) Hamel, Hays, Kan.; a brother Danny Jury, Pratt; three sisters Lois (Eugene) Thomeczek, Olathe, Kan.; Darlene Jury, Tivoli, Texas; Marilyn Henry, Little River, Kan.; and three grandchildren, Racheal and Megan Hamel and Lily Stimatze. She was preceded in death by her parents, and a sister Doris E. Jury,


Visitation will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 27, 2014 at Larrison Mortuary. Funeral service will be held 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 28, 2014 at Larrison Mortuary 300 Country Club Rd., Pratt, KS 67124 with cremation to follow.  Private family inurnment will be held at a later date in the Syracuse Cemetery in Syracuse.

Family requests, in Lieu of flowers that memorials are given to the Stimatze Grandchildren Education Fund in care of the mortuary. Condolences may be left at


Mary Burkhart

Mary Burkhart, age 93, of Syracuse, Kansas died March 15, 2014 in Lenexa, Kan. after a short illness. She moved to Lenexa to be near her son Tom Smith and his family due to her recent illness. She was born on April 9, 1920 in Frontenac, Kan., the daughter of Antonia (Bozenski) and George Troyan. 

Mary was a long-time resident of Syracuse. Mary attended St. Mary’s of the Pines College after graduating from high school and was an accomplished pianist. She was a dental assistant, model and homemaker. She had been an active member of the St. Raphael Catholic Church for over fifty years. Golf, bowling and bridge were favorite pastimes throughout Mary’s life. She played golf, bridge, and bowled up to the age of 93.  

She was preceded in death by her parents, George and Antonia Troyan; her first husband, Leonard Smith; her second husband, Paul Burkhart;  one son, Richard Smith; a stepson, PJ Burkhart; five brothers, Joe Troyan, Tony Troyan, Adam Troyan, Mickey Troyan, and Tom Troyan; two sisters, Frances Scott and Julia Pascal.

She is survived by two sons, Tom (wife Sue) Smith of Lenexa, and Charles (wifeFrankie) Smith of Lady Lake, Fla.; two stepdaughters, Kathy Burkhart of Englewood, Colo., and Maureen (husband John) Carr of Englewood; seven grandchildren; and five great grandchildren. Mary had many friends in Syracuse, and extended family members across the country.  She will be missed by one and all.

Rosary Service will be held on Thursday, March 20, 2014, at  6:00 PM (MDT) at the St Raphael Catholic Church, in Syracuse. 

Funeral Mass will be held at the St Raphael Catholic Church in on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 10:30 AM (MDT). Burial will follow in the Syracuse Cemetery in Syracuse, Kansas. 

Condolences may be sent to In Lieu of Flowers memorial contributions may be payable to the St. Raphael Catholic Church or Syracuse High School Golf Program, and sent in care of Fellers Funeral Home & Monuments LLC, P.O. Box 1253, Syracuse, KS 67878. 620-384-5100.

Leslie Robert Shamburg

Leslie Robert Shamburg, age 74, passed away on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at Hamilton County Hospital in Syracuse, Kan. He was born on June 25, 1939 at Scottsville, Kansas, to Virgil Robert and Velma Goldie (Sadler) Shamburg.

Leslie began his life in Scottsville, Kan. the 7th child of 11. He then moved to Syracuse at the age of 10 in 1949. He attended Syracuse Schools graduating in 1957. On June 30, 1957, he married Kathleen Kay Downs in Scott City, Kansas. They resided all their married life in Syracuse. To this union were born 3 children: Leslie Robert, Jr., Sherie Coleen and Garett Daniel.

Les began working for Bob Herndon at Herndon’s Supermarket while in high school. He was the Assistant Manager for 25 years. He then went to work for Tifco Industries. He retired after 31 years with Tifco, earning many awards. Including: The 25 Year Award, the 30 Year Award, *Little Eagle Award, Presidents Club for 21 years, The Million Dollar Award, 100 Club and numerous quarterly sales achievement awards. His total lifetime sales for Tifco, was $6.3 million and a total supervised sales as a manager of 4 employees was $3.3 million. He served Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado.

*The Little Eagle Award for Growing Tifco Sales Team-this was the first time in Tifco’s history where a father who was a member of the “Million Dollar Club” had a son to make Tifco’s Banquet “Rockies of the Year”, The President’s Club and the Million Dollar Club. 

Les was a very active community member. He was a past member and President of many organizations. Willing Workers 4-H Club, Future Farmers of America, Jaycees, HamCo Gun Club, Moose Lodge, Lions Club and Past Master and 38-year member of AF & AM Lodge #309. He was also a board member of Wyndham-Fairfield Condominium Association of Pagosa Springs, Colorado and the Sunday school President for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Holly, CO.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Virgil and Velma; one brother, Ronald Shamburg; and one sister, Edith Pilcher. He is survived by his wife Kathleen; Leslie Shamburg, Jr. and Garett Shamburg; one daughter, Sherie Gibbens; 11 grandchildren, Aubrie (Kent ) Cleavinger, Wildorado, Texas, Kanda (Jessie) Martinez, Booker, Texas, Jandie (Troy) Palmer, Elkhart, Kan., Cole (Tierssa) Shamburg, Syracuse, Jerrin (Jandi Owens) Phillips, Syracuse, Cali Shamburg, New Orleans, La., Jacob Dewitt, Overland Park, Kan., Jessie (Shelby) Gibbens, Beaufort, S.C., Chris (Michelle) Long, Eureka, Calif., Shay (Anthony) Beverley, Taylorsville, Utah, and Garet Gallagher, Syracuse; 10 great grandchildren:  Dalyn, Emily & Grady Palmer, Nicole Martinez, Lanee Owens, Paisley Shamburg, Jeremy & Zoey Long and Jessie Jr & Laetyn Gibbens; three brothers: Duane (JoEllen) Shamburg,  Smyrna, Tenn.; Daniel (Helga) Shamburg, Aurora, Colo.; Lenus Shamburg, Pearland, Texas; five sisters: Roberta (Albert) Peters, Salina, Kan.; Lila Collette, Shawnee Mission, Kan.; Neva (Charles) Maxfield, Garden City, Kan.; Telva (Robert) Swensen, Manhattan, Kan., and Linda Donnelly, Englewood, Colo; and numerous other family members and friends.

Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, March 8, 2014 at 11:00 AM (MST) at the First United Methodist Church in Syracuse. Burial will follow in the Syracuse Cemetery in Syracuse. Visitation will be held on Friday, March 7, 2014 from 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM (MST) at Fellers Funeral Home LLC of Syracuse.

Condolences may be sent to In Lieu of Flowers memorial contributions may be payable to the Hamilton County VIP or Masonic Lodge of Syracuse, and sent in care of Fellers Funeral Home & Monuments LLC, P.O. Box 1253, Syracuse, KS 67878. 620-384-5100.


Margaret Grace Josserand

Margaret Grace Josserand, age 90, of Johnson, Kan. passed away on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital in Ulysses, Kan. She was born May 31, 1923 in Syracuse, Kan., the daughter of Grover Cleveland and Mildred Brown Miller.

She attended Syracuse schools for most of her education, before graduating from Manhattan High School. She then pursued her education at Kansas State University.

Margaret and Ivan Lee Josserand were married on July 22, 1945 in Syracuse, Kansas. The couple moved to Johnson Kansas, where they were actively involved in farming and ranching. Margaret and Ivan were honored as pioneers of the year in the 1998 Stanton County Pioneer Day celebration. Their marriage lasted 58 years until Ivan’s death in 2003. Margaret was an active member of the Johnson community for nearly 70 years. She shared her faith through tireless good works, and unconditional acts of love, generosity, tolerance, and compassion. Margaret’s greatest joys were in the accomplishments and activities of her family and the many people in the community with whom she maintained ties. Her life truly reflected her middle name. As a member of the First United Methodist Church of Johnson, she served as a trustee, was President of United Methodist Women’s, and taught Sunday School for many years. At the Church, Margaret worked with a taskforce, which was instrumental in starting the Learning Tree Preschool. Margaret was a Past Worthy Matron of Order of the Eastern Star. She joined the Cosmos Club in 1945, and was an active member for 67 years. She received her 50-year pin from the P.E.O. Chapter AI, of Syracuse, Kansas. Margaret spent years as a Brownie and Cub Scout leader, enjoying working with children. Margaret volunteered as a leader for years after her children were no longer participants in these programs. Margaret was an avid reader, and shared this interest with her book club until the end of her life. Margaret was involved in the planning and construction phases of the Stanton County Library and continued with service on the board of directors. She also served on the board of directors for the Stanton County Community Concert Series, and the Learning Tree Preschool. In addition to her volunteer work, Margaret was the City Clerk for the City of Johnson for 15 years.

She is survived by her children: Michael Wayne Josserand and his wife Barbara, of Castle Rock, Colorado; Cynthia Ann Josserand and her husband Dean Franks, of Honolulu, Hawaii; Patrick Lee Josserand and his wife Noreen, of Johnson, Kansas; ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren; brother in law, O.W. Josserand; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Margaret Grace Josserand was preceded in death by her husband Ivan; her parents, Grover and Mildred Miller; and her sister, Naomi Grissom.

Funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM on Friday, March 7, 2014 at the First United Methodist Church in Johnson, Kansas with Reverend Richard Fitzgerald officiating. Interment will follow at the Stanton County Cemetery in Johnson, Kansas. Friends may call from 2:00 PM until 8:00 PM, with family present, on Thursday, March 6, 2014 at Garnand Funeral Home in Johnson. In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be made to the Learning Tree Preschool of the First United Methodist Church of Johnson or the Stanton County Library in care of Garnand Funeral Home, PO Box 715, Johnson, Kansas 67855.

James W. Elston

Funeral services for Hamilton County, Kansas resident, James W. Elston were held on March 1, 2014 at the Wesleyan Church in Syracuse, Kan., with Pastor Paul Runyon officiating. Prior to the service, a noon meal will be served at the Hamilton County Fair Building. Burial will follow in the Syracuse Cemetery. Family viewing was held Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 at the Wesleyan Church in Syracuse.

James W. Elston passed away at his residence in Syracuse on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 at the age of 63. As the second of four children, Jim was born in Syracuse to parents James and Naomi (Stinchcomb) Elston on Oct. 1, 1950. The family maintained a farm north of Kendall, Kan.    

James graduated from Syracuse High School in 1968; Colby Community College in 1970 and from Fort Hays State University with a Bachelors in Business Administration in 1972. Following college he was a manager at Sears in Garden City and then joined the family business, Elston Plumbing and Electric until 1982 and for several years was the primary care giver for his mother. James also managed his farm interest in Bent County, Colorado. He was a man of strong convictions and commitment. James had life-long love of sports and family. He was always prepared to discuss politics and believed in the right to debate. James was a man of faith and a parishioner of the Syracuse Wesleyan Church. 

James was preceded in death by his grandparents, William Courtney Elston and Anna Mae Rhodenbaugh Elston; George Russell Stinchcomb and Florence Elizabeth Hixson Stinchcomb; parents, James Alfred Elston in 1982 and Naomi Jean Stinchcomb Elston in 2010; sister, Marcella Bellinger in 2012 and numerous aunts and uncles. 

He is survived by two sisters, Janice Jones of Dodge City, Kan., and Debra Elston of Washington, D.C.; brother-in-law, Bruce Bellinger of Hays, Kan.; five aunts, Shirley Osbmont of Lamar, Colo., Maxine Coleman of Syracuse, and Sandra (Larry) Goodwin of Cheney, Kan., Carol Stinchcomb and Marie Stinchcomb both of Pueblo, Colo.; numerous cousins, nieces, nephews as well as great nieces and nephews and a host of friends. 

Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s name to the Syracuse Wesleyan Church either directly or in care of Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel, P.O. Box 950, Lamar, Colorado, 81052.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Valley Memorial Funeral Chapel in Holly, Colorado. For more information or online condolences please visit our website at