Waneta Louise Pendergraft, 90, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas, passed away peacefully on November 2, 2020, at the Chase County Care and Rehabilitation Center. Waneta was born on August 6, 1930, in Kansas City, Missouri. She was the oldest of three children born to Martin H. and Alvina Gerken (Voskamp). After graduating in 1948 from South East High School in Kansas City, Missouri, she attended Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and Speech Pathology. On July 28, 1963 she married Harry Calvin Pendergraft, Jr. at Messiah Lutheran Church, Emporia. She was briefly employed by TWA, and then worked as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the Emporia School District. Waneta was also a member of the staff of the Institute of Logopedics of Wichita. She operated the speech correction center, which at the time was one of only twenty such centers in Kansas. After several years, Waneta and Harry (Junie) moved to his family’s farmstead in Cottonwood Falls. There she worked alongside Harry performing the endless chores of running a farm, until their joint retirement in 2017.
Growing up, Waneta attended Immanuel Lutheran Church and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, located in Kansas City. After moving to Cottonwood Falls, she became a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Strong City, Kansas. Waneta was always highly involved in her church and community. She taught Sunday School for many years, participated in the local Extension Unit, worked as Superintendent at the Chase County Fair, was a former member of the Garden Club, served as president of the Lutheran Women in Mission, and was very active in LWML.
She was preceded in death by her father in 1966, her mother in 1987, her brothers-in-law Jack Sparks and James Caffey, nephew Robert Wheeler Sr., grandnephew Robert Wheeler II, and sister-in-law Ruth Mary Gilbert (Pendergraft). Waneta is survived by Harry Pendergraft Jr., her cherished husband of 58 years, sister Joan Caffey of League City, Texas, sister Dorothy Sparks of Overland Park, Kansas, nieces and nephews: Carla Jo Gilbert, Belinda Wheeler (Gilbert), Jim Caffey, Mark Caffey, Cheryl Rollen (Caffey), Debra Cullen (Caffey), Lori Zimpfer (Sparks), Jackie Sparks-Lecki, and Johnny Sparks. She is also survived by sixteen grand nieces and nephews: Sara Andrews (Wheeler), Tyler Gilbert, Aaron and Rachel Zimpfer, Cody and Derek Caffey, Ian, Michaela, and Jack Lecki, Blake and Cole Rollen, Casey and Brody Cullen, Mira, Matilda, and Isadora Sparks, and her beloved kitty Isaac.
Memories of Waneta will be highlighted with her vast knowledge on many subjects like gardening and healthy living, her advice and mentorship, her strong breathtaking hugs, her famous homemade rolls, her love of family, and, most importantly, her great love and devotion to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Waneta was a small woman of big faith who was loved so very much- she will be missed by all.
Graveside services will be 1:30 p.m. Saturday, November 7, 2020, at the Bazaar Cemetery, Bazaar, Kansas, with Reverend Clifford Winter officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials to Grace Lutheran Church or Hand in Hand Hospice, in care of Brown-Bennett-Alexander Funeral Home, PO Box 220 Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845. The family wishes to thank the Chase County Care and Rehabilitation Center for their exemplary and loving care over the past week.
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