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SPOTLIGHT
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Iona May Pratt Westphal

Published on -2/7/2013, 10:11 AM

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Iona May Pratt Westphal celebrated her 96th birthday on January 26, 2013, with her family, including all children, grandchildren and her great-grandchild. She peacefully passed away just one week later on February 3, 2013, at her home in Hays.

Iona was born January 26, 1917, at St. Anthony's Hospital in Hays to Herman G. and Luella (Baumer) Pratt. Iona has been a resident of Hays since she was 12 years old and lived much of her life in the family home on Sixth Street. Iona's values helped her to always be a good neighbor. She was an instrumental force in the creation of the Hays Neighbors organization long before it actually was called that. She always introduced herself to new college students as the "old lady next door." She baked cookies for them, and they in turn shoveled her sidewalks and carried her groceries. She believed it was important to actively work toward making the area around the university a beautiful and wonderful place.

Iona was one of the oldest members of the First United Methodist Church and has been a member longer than anyone else in the congregation. She joined the church in 1931, served on many committees through the years, and was a member of Shalom Circle. She was a member of the DAR, Daughters of the American Colonists, the VFW Auxiliary, and Sewing Club.

Iona was a designer of memorial monuments and worked for the Memorial Art Company of Salina for 43 years creating monuments, markers and memorials. Iona's artwork in granite is abundantly visible in cemeteries in and around Hays and surrounding counties.

Iona graduated from Hays High School in 1935. She attended Fort Hays State College during the Depression. She worked at Vern Webster Jewelers and then at Shearer's Dress Shop. After her marriage to Verne Ellsworth Westphal on April 4, 1942, she continued to work during the years he served abroad during World War II.

Survivors include a daughter, LaVetta Lou Westphal-Rolfs of Topeka, Kansas; granddaughter, Rachel Rolfs of Topeka, and LaVetta's partner, Verne Brien of Topeka; a son, Donald Allan Westphal and his wife, Martha Puyear Westphal of Belleville, Kansas; two granddaughters, Amanda Westphal of Lenexa, Kansas, and Laura Westphal Hobson and her husband, Stephen; and great-granddaughter, Madison, all of Olathe, Kansas. Iona was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, James Derrill Pratt; his wife, Helen (Linsner) Pratt; and a grandson, Micah Seth Rolfs.

A celebration of Iona's life will be on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Hays. Graveside services and interment will be in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Ellis at 2:00 p.m. Friends may call at Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, 1906 Pine, on Friday from 4 until 7 p.m., with a formal time for sharing memories from 5 until 6 p.m. On Saturday, friends may call at the church from 10 a.m. until the service. Memorials may be sent to the funeral home. The family will share contributions with various organizations that were important to Iona. Send condolences and memories to the family at www.haysmemorial.com.

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