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Leonella “Nellli” Ann Gilkey 1950 - 2023
Leonella “Nellli” Ann Gilkey

GARFIELD — Leonella “Nelli” Ann Gilkey, 72 of Garfield, Kan., passed away Saturday, April 8, 2023 at Soldier, Kan. She was born July 9, 1950 in Hoisington, Kan., the daughter of Leo C. and Felicitas (Ohnmacht) Meyeres. She graduated high school from Mt. Saint Scholastica in Atchison, Kan.

Nelli married David Eugene Gilkey in Miami, Okla. He preceded her in death just a short time ago on Feb. 1, 2022.

Nelli was a Garfield, Kan. resident for 48 years. After returning from high school, Nelli worked as a Nurse’s Aide at the hospital in Great Bend, Kan. While raising their five children, Nelli was a full-time homemaker. Once the kids left the nest, she worked as a Paraprofessional at some of the local schools. She later became employed at the Larned State Hospital as a Mental Health Aide, then promoted to Administrative Assistant. Years ago, Nelli was a member of EHU with many of her friends around Garfield, a magnificent Girl Scout Troop leader, an amazing seamstress, most known for volunteering to make (by hand) numerous banners for her kids’ school gymnasium, a stellar party planner for her family gatherings, a loving wife, a nurturing mother, a proud grandma, and a good friend to many. Some of her most favorite activities were socializing at the casino, fishing, hunting, and country cruising with her husband and their dog, Lucky, and supporting all her grandkids at their sporting and academic events.

She is preceded in death by her husband, David; sister, Karen Yeager; infant brother, Joseph Meyeres; and infant grandson, Ryder Nicol.

Nelli is survived by five children, Tammy Nickless (Jon) of Champion, Neb., Stephannie Nicol (Mitchell) of Soldier, Kan., David Gilkey (Katie) of Hutchinson, Kan., Ammie Schibler (Robert) of Gruver, Texas, and Adam Gilkey (Amy) of McPherson, Kan.; three sisters, LaRae Connor of Lee’s Summit, Mo., Mary Balderston of Beaver, Kan., and Barbara Urban (Tom) of Hoisington, Kan.; one brother, Frances Leon “Joe” Meyeres (Monica) of Olathe, Kan.; 16 grandchildren, Taylar, Ragan, Colby, and Paige Nickless, Reilly, Carson, and Hayden Stumpff and Brodey and Emersyn Nicol, Logan and Rhett Gilkey, Dylaney and Jefferson Weaver and Quincy Schibler, Finn and Addison Gilkey; and two step-grandchildren, Montana Nicol and Mikyla Hill (Caleb). Although Nelli fought cancer for the past eight months, she died of a broken heart, missing her beloved husband.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, 2023 at Beckwith Mortuary, 916 Main Street, Larned, KS 67550. Private family inurnment will follow at St. Joseph’s Catholic Cemetery, Beaver, Kan. The family will greet friends on Friday evening from 5 – 7 p.m. at Beckwith Mortuary. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Kans for Kids fighting cancer c/o Beckwith Mortuary. Mercer Funeral Home in Holton, Kansas is assisting the family. To leave a special message for the family, please visit

Funeral arrangements provided by

Beckwith Mortuary

P.O. Box 477

Larned, KS 67550

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, April 15, 2023