|Birth: ||Jan. 26, 1917|
|Death: ||Feb. 3, 2013|
Iona May Pratt Westphal
Iona celebrated her 96th Birthday on January 26, 2013 with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She peacefully passed away, just one week later, on February 3, 2013, at her home at 305 W. 6th. Street in Hays, Kansas.
Iona was born on January 26, 1917 at St. Anthony's Hospital in Hays. The winter had been very cold, with much snow. Iona's parents and her two-year old brother, Derrill, lived on a farm, north of town on the Saline River. Iona's father, Herman G. Pratt, was a bit nervous about the impending birth, so, at the beginning of January in 1917, they travelled by horse and buggy to the home of his mother, a midwife, who lived on 8th Street in Hays. Safe in town, Iona's mother, Luella Iona Baumer Pratt, stayed there until the new baby, Iona May, was born on January 26th.
Iona has been a resident of Hays since she was 12 years old and lived much of her life in the family home on 6th Street, which was purchased in 1929, with money her mother, Luella, had earned selling turkeys, chickens, and eggs from their farm near McCracken, KS. Iona's values helped her to always be a good neighbor. Throughout the years, she was an active presence in the neighborhood, and, when the beautiful old homes were not cared for well, she became an advocate for neighborhood improvement. She was an instrumental force in the creation of the "Hays Neighbors" organization long before it was actually 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 that it is important to actively work toward making the area around the university a beautiful and wonderful place for, students, residents and faculty, alike.
Iona is one of the oldest members of First United Methodist Church, and has been a member longer than anyone in the congregation! She joined the church in June of 1931, nearly 82 years ago, and served her Circle and many other committees throughout the years. Iona is also a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Colonists, and the VFW Auxiliary, and the Hays Sewing Club. She has served as a proactive member of the Hays community, as historian, storyteller of the old days, and self appointed caregiver, always reaching out to care for others.
Iona was a designer of memorial monuments and worked for Memorial Art Company for 43 years, creating monuments, markers and memorials; her artwork in granite. Her roles as friend and grief counselor endeared her to many whose sorrow at the death of a loved one was made better because of Iona's sensitive and caring ways. Since selling her car and retiring at the age of 90, she would say, " I am just trying to grow old gracefully, and it isn't easy."
Iona graduated from Hays High School in 1935. She attended Fort Hays State College during the Depression, and was forced to suspend her studies of Art and Interior Design when she began working in Downtown Hays in order to help her family during financially hard times. She worked at Webster Jewelers until she was recruited to work in "ready-to-wear," by Mr. Shearer, the owner of Shearer's Dress Shop. She excelled in her job, became a "clothes horse," and was a model for the beautiful clothing sold at the store. After her marriage to Verne Ellsworth Westphal on April 4, 1942, she continued to work "Downtown" during the years he served in Germany, France and England during WWII.
Iona is survived by a son, Donald Allan Westphal, and his wife, Martha Puyear Westphal, Belleville, Kansas, two granddaughters, Amanda Westphal, Lenexa, Kansas, and Laura Westphal Hobson, Laura's husband, Stephen Hobson and great granddaughter, Madison Hobson, all of Olathe, Kansas. Also surviving is her daughter, LaVetta Lou Westphal-Rolfs, Topeka, Kansas, granddaughter, Rachel Rolfs, Topeka, and LaVetta's partner, Verne Brien, Topeka. In addition, Iona is survived by cousins, many nieces and nephews for whom she has been a "second mom" and numerous friends of all ages and stages of life for whom she has served as friend, adopted mom/grandma and role model.
Preceding Iona, in death, were her parents, Herman Gillette Pratt and Luella Iona Baumer Pratt, and her brother, James Derrill Pratt. In addition, she was preceded in death by her grandson, Micah Seth Rolfs, son of LaVetta.
There will be a Celebration of Iona's Life beginning with Visitation on Friday February 8th at Hays Memorial Chapel, 1906 Pine, Hays, Kansas. Visitation will begin at 4 p.m., with a more formal time of sharing for family and friends from 5 – 6 p.m. and then another open visitation time from 6 – 7 p.m. The funeral will take place at First United Methodist Church, 305 W. 7th. Hays, Kansas at 11a.m. on Saturday, February 9. Photos and memorabilia of Iona's life will be on display before the service, beginning at 10 a.m. The Burial Service is scheduled for 2 p.m. in Ellis, Kansas.
Herman Gillet Pratt (1882 - 1967)
Luella Iona Baumer Pratt (1877 - 1956)
Verne Ellsworth Westphal (1918 - 1960)
James Derrill Pratt (1915 - 1989)*
Iona May Pratt Westphal (1917 - 2013)
Mount Hope Cemetery
Maintained by: James Pratt
Originally Created by: Connie Schwindt Rumold
Record added: Feb 04, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104641314
Added: Oct. 29, 2014
Added: May. 3, 2013