Lorene Martha (McKee) Colyer, 93, finally reunited with Jim, her husband of 67 years on January 3, 2020. They toured in their Foretravel motorhome for 100,000’s of miles. Now they meet in Heaven for their everlasting journey, happily together again. Lorene passed away surrounded by her family in Kansas City, MO.
Lorene, a 4th generation Kansan, was born August 17, 1926 in “Hays America” to Zita I. (Bissing) and Cecil W. McKee. Lorene grew up during the Dustbowl and graduated from Girls Catholic High (1944) in Hays. She worked for her father at The Sweet Shop near Fort Hays and at his vending machine business on airbases for 13 cents an hour. She was a musical prodigy in the Bissing and Hinshaw families’ tradition. She was invited by Rudolph Ganz to attend the Chicago Conservatory. But growing up in an era of limits and world war, she had to continue her education at Fort Hays State where she loved the mathematics of harmony. Her passion for music extended from Clair de Lune to taking her kids to see the Beatles at Red Rocks. She kept a white piano by her side even at age 93.
Lorene met the love of her life, James Daniel Colyer, as a high school freshman and wrote to him faithfully when he fought on Peleliu in the Pacific. They married in 1947 and settled in Hays where Jim practiced dentistry from 1955-85. She was the financial and accounting brains of their successful practice and marriage.
Lorene’s children were her highest priority even when they were naughty. Her Catholic faith guided her throughout her life. She taught everyone that the strongest person was not the loudest but the most tenacious, loving, and faithful. She loved music, anything pink (especially her pink gingerbread house), playing bridge, needle-pointing Christmas stockings, spending summers in Steamboat Springs and Cedar Bluff lake, leading Scouts, and her numerous critters. She and Jim visited all 50 states and more than 70 countries. During the Cold War they even explored the USSR and China. They later lived in Scottsdale, AZ and Olathe, KS. She beat lobular breast cancer twice, 35 years apart.
Lorene and Jim have two daughters, two sons, and 12 grandchildren: Linda (and Rodney) King (Dennis, Jonn, Annette, Michael) of Gilbert, AZ; Dr. James (and Toni) Colyer (James III, Kelli, Chris, Kami) of Paradise Valley, AZ; Diane Colyer (Bria) of Aurora, CO; and Governor Jeff (and Ruth) Colyer, M.D. (Alexandra, Serena, Dominique) of Overland Park, KS. They have 21 ½ (and hopefully more future) great-grandchildren. She is the last McKee or Colyer of her generation, preceded in death by her husband Jim (2015), son Jim (1999), her brother James McKee and her sisters, Aileen Nightingale and Roseanne Cechman.
Funeral services were held on Monday, January 6, 2020 at St. Michael Catholic Church, 14251 Nall, Leawood, KS. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to https://internationalmedicalcorps.org/colyer