In Loving Memory
Virginia Leete died September 20, 2010, in her Liberal, Kansas, home. She was born near Cedar Creek, Mo., July 3, 1921, to Thomas and Marie Gray. She graduated from Montrose, Mo., High School in 1938 and attended Central Missouri State College in Warrensburg, Mo.
After college, she went to Kansas City to work for Missouri Aviation Institute as secretary, where she met her future husband, R.J. Leete, who was senior instructor there.
They were married on June 20, 1942, in Albuquerque, N.M., where he was with TWA. He later worked for Consolidated Aircraft, and they followed his work to Memphis and Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, and San Diego, CA. Later, he was in Okinawa and Luzon, and she spent that time in San Diego.
After the war, they returned to his home town of Liberal, where he operated Eureka Laundry and Dry Cleaners, a business his father had started in 1905.
They had seven children and raised two grandsons from infancy. Virginia worked for the Southwest Daily Times, KSCB Radio and did substitute teaching in Liberal schools.
She was active in Kansas Press Women, serving on the board in several capacities and winning several state and national awards. She was named KPW Woman of Achievement in 1981.
In Liberal, she was instrumental in establishing the Liberal Art Association and Baker Arts, the Jaycee Jaynes (wives of Jaycees), the Seward County Historical Society and Republican Women’s Club. She also helped organize the Humane Society, chairing its organizational meeting.
She was on the Foundation Board of Seward County Community College 22 years and served a term as president. She received the No. 1 Ambassador of the Chamber of Commerce twice and also the Merit Award. She and her husband were chose Southwest Daily Times Citizens of the Year in 1999.
She was on the board of directors of Pancake Day working on publicity for 50 years since its start in 1950, when her husband, as president of the Liberal Jaycees, started the Liberal-Olney race. They attended Pancake Day in Olney twice as representatives of Liberal.
She was a member of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, and she and her husband were sponsors of the youth group several years.
After retirement, the Leetes’ main hobby was traveling with their Airstream trailer. They traveled across Canada and all over the central and western part of the United States. They served as camp hosts at Coyote Creek State Park in New Mexico one summer and at Arkalon Park near Liberal a summer. They were members of the Pancake Campers Club of Liberal.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents and a daughter, Linda Coffman.
Survivors include children, Tracy Jack Leete, Albuquerque, NM; Steven Leete, Liberal, KS; Rebecca Leete, Kechi, KS; Thomas Gray Leete, Plano, TX; Charles Hugh Leete III, Rose Hill, KS; and James Ronald Leete, Wichita, KS; the grandsons raised by the Leetes, John Coffman of Wichita and Anthony Coffman, Wichita; several other grandchildren and great-grandchildren; two sisters, Wilma Hickox of Lenexa, KS; and Nita Kitson of Oklahoma City; and a brother, Wayne Gray of Ocala, FL.
o A memorial service will be held on Friday, September 24, 2010, at 5 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, Liberal, KS, 3rd and Grant, with the Rev. David Randall officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Pancake Day Inc., Angels for Animals or Seward County Community College in care of Miller Mortuary.
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