Catherine (Gilsdorf) Orth Wahlmeier

Catherine (Gilsdorf) Orth Wahlmeier, 89, Hays, died Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, at Good Samaritan Society. She was born Dec. 21, 1930, in Hilbert, Wis., to Joseph and Martha (Leonhard) Gilsdorf.

She married Harold Orth on Nov. 12, 1952. He preceded her in death in 1974. She later married Robert Wahlmeier on Aug. 2, 1975. He preceded her in death in 2011. She received her nursing diploma in 1951 in Fond du Lac, Wis., and began her nursing career in Hays with the Agnesian Nuns at St. Anthony Hospital. After she married she became a full time mother and homemaker but she always kept her register nurse license current.

She was a fierce defender of the unborn. She became active in the Right to Life movement serving on the board of Right to Life of Kansas and speaking out against Planned Parenthood. She participated in more than 25 annual Marches for Life in Washington D. C. She daily prayed the rosary in front of the local Planned Parenthood in Hays whose doors finally closed in 2014. She was awarded the Guardian of Life Award from the Diocese of Salina in September 2008. She wrote a pro-life article entitled “Time for Life” in the Ellis County Star from 1974 to 1989.

She served on Ladies’ Auxiliary that helped raise funds for Mary Elizabeth Maternity Home.

She was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and a daily communicant, made countless holy hours and sang in the choir. She was a member of Christian Mother’s, the Third Order Franciscans, and Perpetual Adorers. Catherine also volunteered her time praying the rosary and singing in nursing facilities throughout Hays. She recently started a prayer group in her home that continued while living at Good Samaritan Society.

She enjoyed dancing, baking, and sewing. She was a skilled quilt maker and made hundreds of quilts for weddings and births of family and friends and donated quilts to the Samaritan House for the homeless population in Denver.

Survivors include three sons, Joseph Orth, Bellevue, Ky., John Orth and wife, Ginger, Loyal, Wis., and Michael Orth, Jefferson, Ga.; seven daughters, Joan Holt, Wright City, Mo., Maggie Cosner and husband, John, Gillette, Wyo., Mary Burks, Stone Mountain, Ga., Martha Ervin and husband, Vince, Clemson, S.C.,Maureen McDaniel and husband, Bob, Rogersville, Tenn., Judy Berry and husband, Jason, Denver, and Jacinta Gosbeth and husband, Dan, Sahuarita, Ariz.; four stepsons, Mark Wahlmeier and wife, Julie, Catoosa, Okla., and Thaddeus Wahlmeier, Tulsa, Okla., Camillus Wahlmeier and wife, Dorrene, Wamego, and Nathaniel Wahlmeier and wife, Elizabeth, Noble, Okla.; six stepdaughters, Rose Poner and husband, Bob, Sherman, Texas, Joan Wahlmeier, Longview, Wash., Germaine Wahlmeier, of The Colony, Texas, Roberta Valdez and husband, Ed, Ogden, Utah., Cordelia Stephan and husband, James, Melissa, Texas and Bibianna Maddox and husband, Jason, Austin, Texas; two brothers, Joe Gilsdorf and wife, Rosie, Wisconsin, and Leo Gilsdorf and wife, Diane, Decatur, Ga; three sisters, Mary Pable, Wisconsin, Margaret Keij and husband, Kris), Doraville, Ga., and Therese Stogner, Atlanta; 56 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; three daughters, Mary Catherine Orth, Margaret Rose Orth, and Mary Frances Orth; a stepson, Silverius Wahlmeier; and a brother, James Gilsdorf.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Hays; burial in the St. Joseph Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday and from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, both at Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory, 2509 Vine, Hays, KS 67601.

A Franciscans prayer service will be at 5 p.m. and a vigil at 7 p.m. both at the funeral chapel.

Cards can be sent to the family in care of Margaret Cosner 1615 Country Club Road, Gillette, Wyo., 82718.

Memorials are suggested to Kansas Right to Life. PO Box 12044, Wichita, KS 67277-2044.

Condolences may be left by guest book at or by email at

Posted online on August 15, 2020