Thula Mae Duitsman, 96, died Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Leavenworth.

She was born Oct. 3, 1921, in Topeka to Walter and Dea Muchow. She attended Kansas State University.

She married Bill Duitsman on Sept. 21, 1941. He preceded her in death. She was the star partner in a sterling agricultural career which included 28 years of service at the Kansas State Agricultural Experiment Station in Hays and later State Secretary of Agriculture in Topeka. She was a homemaker, master gardener and accomplished artist. Throughout her life she was gracious to the thousands who entered her home, whether in the large groups she hosted or in one-on-one chats. They all left with lifted spirits by her warmth, kindness and tasteful hospitality. This precious God-given spirit was with her until the day our Lord took her home.

She was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Hays and served in many capacities contributing to the spiritual and physical growth of the congregation. She was a member of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, the Kansas Cowbelles Association, and strong community supporter and leader in 4-H.

Survivors include four daughters, Cheryl Caracci and husband, Joe, Jean Schmidt and husband, Tom, Peggy Pera and husband, Jeremy and Mary Gieseke and husband, Chad; a sister, Mary Kay Stevenson; 13 grandchildren, Tammy Engel, Wendi Engel, Kevin Schmidt, Kelly Schmidt-Ladrigan, Nathan Pera, Aaron Pera, Dan Schmidt, Tim Pera, Saul Gieseke, Greta Gieseke, Charlie Gieseke, Jacob Pera and Jonathan Gieseke; and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and a brother, Robert.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Zion Lutheran Church, Linn; burial in Zion Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5 to 6 p.m. Thursday at R.L. Leintz Funeral Home, Leavenworth.

Memorials are suggested to Messiah Lutheran Church, 2000 Main, Hays, KS 67601.