Sarah Frances Warfel Belcher Whitehead, Ph.D., 98, Topeka, passed away Monday, October 15, 2018.
She was born July 28, 1920, in Sabetha, Kansas, the daughter of John and Cora (Hall) Warfel. Sarah grew up on the family farm in rural Northeast Kansas, where she went to a one room country school. She graduated from Topeka High School and graduated from Christ Hospital School of Nursing, Emporia State Teachers College, Washburn University with a BA in Psychology and Kansas State University, where she received a Ph.D.
Sarah’s nursing career spanned over 44 years during which time she was a private duty nurse, polio nurse, obstetrical supervisor and instructor, psychiatric nursing supervisor and was the director at Stormont-Vail School of Nursing for many years. She retired in the early 1980’s as an epidemiologist nurse at Colmery-O'Neal VA Hospital. Sarah had a passion for educating nurses.
She was a member West Side Christian Church, Order of the Eastern Star Helena Chapter #210, Trinity Shrine #7, White Shrine of Jerusalem, American Association of University Women, American Legion Women's Auxiliary North Topeka Post #400, Silver Lake Community Club, Kaw Valley Community Club, Soroptimist International of Topeka, where she received Soroptimist of the Year in 1989, Silver Lake Senior Citizens, Inc., Friends of the Topeka Zoo and a volunteer at the Kansas State Historical Museum. She was also a member of many professional organizations including: Christs Hospital School of Nursing Alumni Association, Stormont-Vail Alumni, American Nurses Association, Kansas State Nurses Association, National League of Nursing, NEA and KNEA, Kansas Adult Education Association, Honor Society for Nursing.
Sarah married LeRoy E. Belcher on April 18, 1951 in Topeka. He preceded her in death on February 1, 1966. On December 29, 1984, she married Herbert M. Whitehead in Topeka. He preceded her in death on February 18, 2009. She was also preceded in death by her son, Noel Belcher and five siblings: Louis, Leona, Oscar, Ida and Mary.
Survivors include four daughters: Mahala “Marty” Silversmith (Gary), Meriden; Kathy Breer (Larry), Salina; Barbara Crump (Mike), Silver Lake; Phyllis Dolechek (Dennis), Silver Lake; three sons: Ronald Belcher (Joan), Mebane, NC; Bob Whitehead (Sharyl), Topeka and Jim Whitehead (Barb), Silver Lake; daughter-in-law, Janice Belcher, Victor, MT; 18 grandchildren; many great-grandchildren, one great-great granddaughter; many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and an enormous number of lovely friends.
Sarah was an avid reader, traveled the world and many states. She enjoyed fishing, gardening, flowers, canning, needlepoint and going to her grandchildren’s ball games. She made incredible apple butter that she shared with her family and friends during the holidays.
Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 19, 2018 at Aldersgate Village, Wesley Hall, 7220 SW Asbury Dr, Topeka. Interment will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Parker-Price Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, 245 NW Independence Ave, Topeka.
Memorial contributions may be made to West Side Christian Church, 432 SW Lindenwood, Topeka, KS 66606 or Silver Lake United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 188, Silver Lake, KS 66539.
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