Enid June (E.J.) DeWald passed away Aug. 19, 2020, at Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, Kan., from complications of Multiple Sclerosis and heart conditions.
She was born to Reuben and Alma (Hoersch) Schlegel at St. Rose Hospital, Great Bend, Kan., on Oct. 23, 1953. She grew up on the family farm south of Alexander, Kan. She was baptized by her grandfather, Rev. John Hoersh on Feb. 7, 1954, and confirmed in the Evangelical United Brethren Church by Rev. Stewart. She graduated from Alexander Grade School in 1967, and La Crosse High School, La Crosse, Kan., in 1971; her senior year she was class secretary and Pep Club president. During her high school years she worked at the Alexander Co-op during wheat harvest. She attended Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kan., and was selected for the Sophomore Women’s Honorary Organization and Mortar Board. During her college years, she was awarded Best of Show in several art competitions.
E.J. married her high school sweetheart, Mark DeWald on May 26, 1974, at the Alexander United Methodist Church. She was also a floral designer and was a featured designer in the Kansas District Conventions. She worked at St. Anthony Hospital as a nurses aide while Mark finished college. In their early married years, E.J. was a secretary of Inman High School and an Inman State Bank teller. Mark and E.J. moved to WaKeeney, Kan., in 1978 where she was employed as a floral designer and also a clerk at Cleland Drug Store where she made the best vanilla cokes. She decided to return to FHSU where she received her B.S. in Art Education and certifications in social studies and language arts. In 1995, E.J. did her student teaching at Kennedy Middle School, Hays, Kan., and the following year she was hired as the full-time art instructor. She was proud to be a “Fighting Irish”, complete with her green-rimmed glass frame. She was employed by USD 428 until May 2008 when she reluctantly did a medical retirement.
E.J. loved her family, friends and her school “kids.” She was an avid reader and loved her magazines. She was known for her kartoffel und glaz (potato & dumplings) and crustless quiche. Family dinners and get togethers were special times. Bird-watching was another favorite hobby, and she was a good shot with her bb gun to keep the pesky squirrels from stealing the bird seed out of the bird feeders! She was a trivia expert in many areas including movies, actors, and actresses and did crossword puzzles in ink. She loved flamingos (flame-&-go), M&Ms, and Klondike bars; her favorite color was turquoise.
She was a member of P.E.O. Chapter CT, WaKeeney. She was one of the founders (and directors) of Treehouse Theatre, WaKeeney, which hosted many plays and community events. She was a leader for a Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Explorer Scouts. Her favorite motto was “Lead, Follow, or Get out of the way!”
E. J. is survived by her loving husband of 46 years who was by her side to the end; daughter Jessica Riebel and husband Chase and children: Jacob, Abigail, Alexandrea, Annastasia, Ashley, and Flint; and son Jonathan (Valarie) and children: Tinesha, Reuben, and Heaven; Delores DeWald, mother-in-law; Janice (DeWald) Huthoefer and husband Don, sister-in-law and brother-in-law; niece, Kathryn; Gary L. Wilson brother-in-law; many close cousins; and her puppy, Buddy. She was preceded in death by infant daughter Justina Elizabeth on March 15, 1986; her brother Donald on May 29, 1960; her sister Stella on May 7, 2020; her father, Reuben Schlegel on Feb. 13, 1995; her mother, Alma Schlegel on Sept. 25, 1996; and nephew, Daniel Huthoefer on March 15, 2006.
Per E.J.’s wishes, cremation has taken place. There will be no visitation.
A celebration of E.J.’s life will be held at 1 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2020, at the First Lutheran Church, La Crosse, Kan., with inurnment by the family at a later date. Presiding will be Pastor Phyllis Burdge (and Catur) and Pastor Chase Riebel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to P.E.O., Chapter CT and Girl Scouts of America. Casual dress is appropriate (turquoise if possible) to honor her fun-loving spirit. Social distancing will be observed and those attending service please wear a mask. Funeral arrangements have been made through Heritage Funeral Home, 502 W. Central Avenue, Andover, KS 67002.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Heritage Funeral Home
502 W. Central Avenue
Andover, KS 67002
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Aug. 23, 2020