Memorial Name List

Memorial Name List

Thank you for visiting our Memorial Name List, where we honor our Topeka Public Schools family members who have passed on. To have a loved one added to this page, please contact Dr. Aarion Gray at [email protected].

2023

July

Dennis Bernard Kelly69, Topeka, passed away Tuesday, July 4, 2023. Dennis graduated from Highland Park High School in 1972 and earned his BSE in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas in 1976. In 1991, he graduated from Emporia State University with his Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction. In 1976, he began his teaching career at Rice Elementary School until its closure, where he briefly taught at Chase Middle School. He then began teaching at Highland Park South Elementary School, later known as Ross Elementary School, where he remained until his retirement in 2016. In 1989, he was the recipient of the Teachers Make a Difference Award. In 2000, he was named Who’s Who Among National Teachers and in 2019, he received the Teacher of Influence - Kansas Governor’s Scholar Program. Click here to view more information.


May

Bryan Scott Hutton, 64, of Valley Falls, KS passed away May 19, 2023.  Bryan graduated from Washburn Rural High School in 1977 and proudly served in the United States Navy. He worked for over 30 years at Concrete Unlimited Company as Foreman for the wall crew.  He also worked for USD 501 as maintenance and landscaping.  Bryan spent a lot of time doing yard work and he planted over 88 trees with his dad, Elmer.  Click hereto view more information. 

Linda Steffe, one of our long-time substitute teachers passed away on May 23rd. she started subbing with us in August of 2007.  She subbed for us over 450 times!  She had been dealing with cancer and last subbed for us on February 15th of this year.  We will miss her and her dedication to the students in our district.

February

Paul Hemme, a beloved Resident Of Lawrence, KansasPassed Away February 18, 2023.   Paul J. Hemme passed away unexpectedly and suddenly in a way that was unanticipated. In the afterlife, he will be reunited with my father, and I have no doubt that during their time together.  Paul was a dedicated and beloved technology team member with almost 30 years of service to Topeka Public Schools.   Click hereto view more information. 

 

Dennis Lee Hower, 57, of Topeka, KS, formerly of Holton, KS, passed away tragically in Topeka. He was born December 29, 1965 in Holton, KS, the son Warren C. or Mary M. (Todd) Hower. Dennis graduated from Holton High School in 1984. He attended Highland Community College and 3 years at Emporia State University. He worked with Topeka Public Schools from  2006-2013.    Click here to view more information.

 

Dr. Olin Terrence "Terry" Sandlin, Ed.D., 79, of Topeka passed away on February 10, 2023. A lifelong educator, Terry began his career teaching science at Topeka West High School in 1968. He was named the Topeka Jaycees Outstanding Young Educator in 1973. He later became a counselor and Assistant Principal at Topeka West before becoming, successively, principal of McEachron, Highland Park North, State Street and Whitson Elementary Schools. Dr. Sandlin worked as an administrator for Topeka Public Schools before retiring as Associate Superintendent of Learning and Instruction in 2009 after a brief time as Interim Superintendent of Schools. He was also an adjunct professor of education at Washburn University and the University of Kansas and spent time teaching education at Yale University.  Click here to view more information.   

January

Frank William Walton, 81 years young, Topeka, Kansas, went to meet Jesus on January 8, 2023, after battling lung cancer for three and a half years. He was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, to Frank “Tiger” Walton and Ida Walton. Frank graduated from Beaver Falls High School in 1959. He went on to the University of Pittsburgh where he received his bachelor and master’s degrees. In 1964, Frank started teaching and coaching in the North Allegheny School District in Pittsburgh. In 1977, he moved his family to Topeka to teach and coach football. Frank was the football coach at Topeka West High School until 1992. He taught and coached football at Topeka High School from 1994 to 1999 and retired from teaching in 2003. Click here to view more information. 

 

 

On Saturday, January 14, 2023, Richard A. Smith, loving husband and father of two, passed away at age 63, surrounded by his family.  Self-titled “Patron Saint of Lost Causes and Protector of Children and Small Animals,” Rick was a student of life, always learning and ever curious about the world. This passion for learning led to a long and meaningful career as a coach and science teacher.   Rick was active in school activities his entire life. He spent a tremendous amount of time working with students before and after school, always wanting the best for them. He particularly loved teaching at Highland Park High School and it was a bittersweet moment when he retired in 2018. He touched the lives of so many people it was truly rare to visit a store or restaurant in Topeka without encountering one of his former students. He never forgot a name. Click here to view more information.  

 

2022

September

Beth Jeanette Myers passed away peacefully on September 10, 2022.   Beth began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at Burlingame Elementary School, the same school she attended as a child. After that she taught at The Topeka Education Center, Capper Foundation, and several schools within USD 501 Topeka Public School including Shaner and McClure Elementary Schools, and French Middle School.  She concluded her career in 2010 as a consulting teacher for both Topeka Public and Auburn Washburn school districts. 

Click here to view more information.

July

Willard George Bean, 62 of Topeka, KS passed away Tuesday, July 26, 2022.  Mr. Bean served for many years at several schools in the roles as a para, he was a long-term substitute at Chase Middle School and a football coach at Eisenhower.  He was a tremendous gardener and inspiration to all that knew him. Click here to view more information. 

June

Harley Paul Swanson was born June 16, 1971, passed away unexpectedly June 30, 2022. He attended and graduated from Chamberlain Schools before pursuing a degree in education at Black Hills State University as well as a Master’s at Washburn University. He later moved to the Topeka Kansas area where he taught at Lawrence Gardner High School and Capital City High School as a special education teacher for a combined 27 years. He was a true artist who had a passion for nature and capturing its beauty on his camera. Click here to view more information. 

April

Lois Ann Conklin, 78, passed away Thursday, April 21, 2022.  She graduated from Topeka High School in 1961 and earned a bachelor’s degree in Education from Washburn University in 1965. Lois taught elementary education and her love for teaching was recognized with the Excellence of Teaching and many other awards. Click here to view more information. 

March

Linda Marie Heine, 44, of Topeka, passed away Friday, March 25, 2022. Ms. Heine was employed by USD 501 for 24 years. She was also a member of the Topeka /Shawnee Kansas Special Olympics team. Click here to view more information.  

February

Robert D. Groves, 75, of  Topeka passed away on February 1, 2022. He grew up in Topeka and attended Highland Park high School. He was a custodian at Landon Middle School and was the kindest soul who formed a connection with everyone he crossed paths with in Topeka Public Schools. Click here to view his obituary. 

Ervina Eloice Grimes passed away February 1, 2022. she was a beloved long-term substitute at Ross Elementary, who made an impact on so many students and staff with her kind heart and smile. Click here to view more information.

January

Raymond John Dashnaw, 67, of Topeka, KS, passed away Sunday, January 2, 2022, at his home. Ray attended St. Matthew Grade School, was a 1972 graduate of Hayden High School and received an Associates Degree from Washburn University.  He served in the US Army Reserve for over 30 years retiring as MSgt.  Ray worked in various capacities for the State of Kansas recently retiring as a Computer Programmer for USD #501.  Click hereto view his obituary.

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2021

March

Joshua Jones, Topeka High School graduate and co-owner of Advisors Excel, passed away on March 5, 2021, at the age of 45. Click here to read his obituary. 

May

Steve Beitz,53, passed away on May 26, 2021, in Topeka. Steve worked in Topeka Public Schools for 13 years. He taught at McCarter Elementary and Eisenhower Middle School. Steve felt most at home as a coach. He coached football, wrestling, track, and basketball at French, Eisenhower, and Jardine Middle Schools. Steve also coached wrestling at Topeka West High School and football at Highland Park High School. Click here to read his obituary 

June

Marvalie A. Johnson, retired after 38 years of teaching with Topeka Public Schools, passed away on June 9th, 2021, at the age of 89. Click here to read her obituary. 

August

Lois Floe Anderson, retired after 31 years of teaching with Topeka Public Schools as a paraprofessional, passed away on August 23rd, 2021, at the age of 99. Clickhere to read her obituary. 

September

Robert "Bob" L. Campos,  spent his entire teaching career with Topeka Public Schools, teaching Spanish, before enjoying retirement, passed away September 1, 2021, at the age of 73. Click here to read his obituary.

Major General (Retired) Jack Strukel Jr., 89, of Topeka, passed away Thursday, September 16, 2021. Throughout his education career, he was teacher, coach, principal, and central office administrator and retired from USD 501 in 1991. Click here to view his obituary.

 

Melanie Kay Whitmore, 58, of Topeka, Kansas, passed away September 19, 2021. Melanie worked as an accountant in the USD 501 Business Office for Topeka Public Schools for 13 years. Click here to view her obituary.

October

Kristin L. (Krissy) Banman, 37, of Topeka, Ks, passed away Thursday October 14, 2021. Krissy graduated from Shawnee Heights High School in 2002. since 2002, Krissy had several part-time jobs including book packer at a local bindery, housekeeper (nursing homes/hotels) and grocery sacker at Brookwood Dillons. Krissy's favorite job, however, was Food Service Worker at Ross Elementary School - she adored the students and developed friendships with staff and fellow Food Service Workers. Click here to view her obituary.

November

Walter George Boyd, 62 of Wetmore, passed away on Sunday, November 7, 2021. Walt was a Special Education van driver for USD 501 Topeka. Click here to view his obituary.

Patricia "Pat" Joy (Logan) Blue, 69, of Topeka, passed away Saturday, November 13, 2021. Patricia went tp Topeka High School and graduated in 1970. She was employed by USD 501 for 38 years. She started as a cook and worked up to becoming a Special Education  Para Professional at Topeka High School. She loved working with children. Click here to view her obituary.

John Alan Keller, 39, of Topeka, Kansas, went to his heavenly home on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. He was a beloved father. a committed educator, and a devoted Christ-like servant leader. He taught psychology and coached wrestling at Topeka High School where he met his wife. Click here to view his obituary. 

December

Elena M. Dyche, 85, of Topeka, passed away Saturday December 18th. Elena loved her students and children. She taught for thirty years in the Topeka schools from 1958-1991, before retiring. Her first class was teaching kindergarten in what would become consolidated as USD 437 at Pauline East Elementary, and later in the area at Pauline South Elementary School with combined 1st-6th grade. In central Topeka, later known as USD 501, Elena taught at McCarter Elementary, Monroe Elementary 2nd grade in 1975, kindergarten at McEachron Elementary in 1976, Quincy Elementary summer school of art and Spanish in 1977, and was recognized with appreciation for teaching her third grade class to waltz at McCarter Elementary in 1991. Click here to view her obituary.

2020

May

Lorene Fort, grandmother to Erika Hall, Senior Communications Specialist for the district, passed away on May 9, 2020. Click here to view her obituary.

June

Rev. Donald Conrad, the father of former Topeka High teacher Anne Hageman, passed away on June 4, 2020. Click here for his obituary.

Ron Farrell, former HPH Teacher/Media Specialist and TPS Foundation Board Member passed away on June 14, 2020. 

Ron Farrell's Obituary

July

Linda Louise Rivera, 68, of Topeka passed away on Saturday, July 11, 2020. Lovingly known as the “voice of Topeka Public Schools,” she had been answering phones as a receptionist for District 501 for 22 years and until her retirement in 2011. To view her obituary, click here

August

Constance "Connie" Hillebert, 79, of Topeka, passed away Sunday, August 30. Connie worked as a secretary for the USD 501 school district for over 37 years where she retired at Chase Middle School. To view her obituary, click here

September

Gracie Avila, a professional therapy dog for Topeka Public Schools USD 501, sadly passed away on September 8 at almost 13 years of age. She worked at Capital City Schools, Highland Park High School, Landon Middle School, and throughout the district on crisis calls. Gracie's owner, Stephanie Avila, said of her dog, "She adored kids and staff. She was always loving. Always happy, but in true heeler form, she wanted order. She enjoyed the group therapy sessions with students and impromptu visits from staff. There couldn’t have been a kinder soul."

Helen Mosher, the grandmother to Kelly Mosher, passed away on September 11, 2020. Click here to view her obituary.

October

Faith Adams, a gifted teacher at Topeka High School for many years and retired in 2003, passed away on October 25, 2020. Click here to view her obituary.

Lenard Ramirez, husband of Gail Ramirez, district Technology Integration Specialist, passed away on October 25, 2020. Click here to view his obituary. 

Shirley Ann Billings passed away on October 29, 2020. She was an educator for Topeka School Districts for 34 years teaching over 1,000 elementary students retiring in 2005. Click here to view her obituary.

Theresa Galvan, mother of Whitson Elementary Office Para, Diana Camarillo, passed away on October 29, 2020. Click here to view her obituary.

November

Lynn Barnard, worked at various schools in the district, most recently as a paraprofessional at Whitson Elementary, passed away on November 9, 2020. Click here to view her obituary.

Merle Keeling, who worked for the district for 19 years as a police officer and retired in 2013, passed away on November 22, 2020. Click here to view his obituary.

December

Katherine McHugh, who was a counselor at Highland Park High School for 28 years, passed away on December 8, 2020, at the age of 86. Click here to read her obituary.

Wilfred "Willie" Nicklin, legendary Topeka High School Hall of Fame Basketball Coach and the namesake of the basketball court at THS, passed away on December 10, 2020, at the age of 92. Click here to read his obituary. To know more about his life you can read this Capital-Journal article or this WIBW article.

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