Gladys May Kokenge
Gladys May Kokenge, 84, passed away on Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at the Stormont Vail Health Center, Topeka, Kansas.
She was born on May 1, 1932, in Seneca, Kansas, the daughter of Louis and Marie (Frehe) Ronnebaum. She attended the one-room Humphrey School House on Highway 63 through the sixth grade, transferring to Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, where she graduated with the class of 1949. Gladys earned her cosmetology license in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1951. She returned to Seneca, purchased the Beauty Spot and began a lifelong career as a licensed cosmetologist.
On May 4, 1954, she was united in marriage to Robert Henry “Bob” Kokenge in Seneca. This union was blessed with three children: Debbie, Sue and Shawn. They enjoyed over 60 years together until his passing on September 21, 2014.
Bob’s transfer with the A&P grocery chain brought the family to Manhattan, Kansas, where over the years Gladys continued her work at Lucille’s Beauty Salon, the Fashion Shop Beauty Salon and Allison’s Hair Salon. She loved her work and the clients who became her lifelong friends.
Gladys was always on the go and kept herself busy. Over the years, she volunteered for many organizations, including the Welcome Wagon, Riley County Health and Homemaker Services and the Family Center Budget Shop. Her interests were varied and her many hobbies included traveling with friends and family, tending to her garden, cooking and baking, playing dominoes and bridge, creating lovely ceramic pieces and painting beautiful landscapes, and going to a par 3 course for a round of golf. She was a treasured grandma who never missed an opportunity to attend a school or sporting event.
Gladys was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Bob; and her brother, Kenneth Ronnebaum.
Survivors include children: Debbie Titus of Roeland Park, Kansas; Sue Steinlage and her husband, Damian, of Topeka; and Shawn Kokenge and his wife, Nicole, of Manhattan; six grandchildren: Gillian Titus; Joshua Steinlage and his wife, Fanny; Eric Steinlage; Molly Steinlage-Cornet and her husband, Julien; Louis Kokenge; Maxwell Kokenge; and one great-grandson, Atticus Steinlage. She also leaves behind her sisters, Alice Priest of Sabetha, Kansas, and Mary Lou Voet of Marysville, Kansas, as well as extended family and many good friends.
The family will receive visitors from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, Kansas. A Vigil Service will be held at 7:30 p.m.
A Rosary will be held on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 2900 Kimball Ave., Manhattan, Kansas, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 a.m. with Fathers Frank Coady and Don Zimmerman as Co-Celebrants. Burial will be at 3:00 p.m. at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Cemetery, Seneca.
Memorial contributions may be made to Catholic Charities of Northern Kansas in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, Kansas, 66502.
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