Lonesa Ann Wyatt, age 79, passed away peacefully at the Sabetha Manor Nursing Home on November 15, 2022. Lonesa had been fighting an unwinnable fight against Alzheimer’s for many years and decided it was time to go meet her friends and family in heaven.
Lonesa was born to Eldon (Jack) and Vera Wyatt (Thompson) in Norton Kansas on September 27, 1943. The eldest of four children Lonesa was fiercely independent and always looking out for those who she felt needed it, including farm animals. Occasionally some of the critters were snuck into the house to “care” for as she was growing up. Her siblings Linda Cohen, Deanna Rife, and Kent Wyatt to this day deny any role in these shenanigans.
Lonesa married Alan Loughry in Norton Kansas and shortly thereafter gave birth to the first of three children, Stephen Loughry. Her and Alan would have three more children, Gregory (deceased), Yvonne Holton and Mark. Lonesa dedicated her early years to raising her children. Lonesa’s marriage to Alan ended in 1972.
Lonesa began her career working with the disabled while living in Scottsbluff. She worked for most of the 70’s at the vocational training center for the disabled in Scottsbluff. As a single mother she often worked two or three jobs to make sure there was always food on the table and clothes on her kids back. She also took in many foster kids including some complete families of kids with no advance notice during that time.
In the early 80’s Lonesa relocated her family back to Kansas, living in Norton and then Hays. While in Norton she worked for the State Hospital once again drawn by compassion to work with the developmentally disabled. Many times, she would bring one of the residents of the hospital home to share a meal or holiday with her family. While in Norton Lonesa took in Ed Stamey as a foster child. Ed would remain with the family and was considered to be her fifth child.
Lonesa’s independent nature and entrepreneurial spirit took hold so she moved to Hays Kansas in the early 80’s to start her own business. Over the course of the next several years she owned and operated several businesses including professional cleaning services, rental management and in-home personal care service.
Once her children graduated from high school Lonesa went back to school herself. She obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts from Fort Hays State University, Magna Cum Laude, in 1988 and a Master’s of Science in Communications in 1990.
After receiving her degree, Lonesa went to work for Sunflower Electric doing Public Relations work. Some of her duties took her to other electric providers and even to Washington DC to lobby for cleaner technology at coal fired plants. One of her favorite things though was attending expos and educating people about how efficient coal fired power really was.
During her time in Hays Lonesa was involved in several volunteer organizations. She was very proud of her time as a volunteer director for The Helpline. But she was most proud of being one of the founding members of the Wild West Fest. She often commented about the economic impact and affordable community entertainment her and a group of other civic minded volunteers were able to accomplish.
In the late 90’s Lonesa relocated to Colorado Springs to become the program manager for a Christian radio program on the HCJB network called “Beyond the Call”. She also opened up a furniture and antique store in Colorado Springs. It was around this time she started noticing the effects of memory loss and started aggressively looking for ways to slow the progression of the terrible disease. She did much of her own research and worked with her doctor to be proactively battling the disease early. Knowing what was inevitably coming she closed her business in Colorado Springs and moved to Victor Colorado.
In Victor, Lonesa bought an old building and converted it into apartments and an antique/thrift store she named “The Wyatt House”. She was also involved with local government serving on the city council. In general, Lonesa was very involved with the local community and commented that it was her favorite place she had lived. As her Alzheimer’s progressed it became apparent she could no longer operate a business so Lonesa sold “The Wyatt House” and moved back to Norton Kansas where she was determined to live on her own for as long as she could.
In July of 2021 her declining health lead to her daughter moving her into a nursing home in Sabetha Kansas so she could be close to her. In the Fall of 2022 Lonesa’s independent nature took hold and she decided it was her time. She began refusing to eat, drink or take any medication and on November 15, 2022 she passed away quietly in her bed.
Lonesa is survived by Her siblings Linda Cohen and husband Alan of Riverwoods, IL, Deanna Rife of Medford, OR and Kent Wyatt and wife Rebekah of Siloam Springs, AR. Her children Stephen Loughry of Winnemucca NV, Yvonne Holton and husband Rob, her son Mark Loughry and wife Laurie of Basehor KS and her foster son Ed Stamey and wife Anna of Tennessee. Lonesa has six grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren that were the light of her life.
She was preceded in death by her parents Eldon and Vera Wyatt (Thompson), son Gregory Loughry husbands Alan Loughry and Kenneth Kline, very dear friend Jerry VanAllen and numerous other family members, pets and friends.
Lonesa was a daughter, sister, aunt, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. All of these things she was proud of. She loved her family without condition and would take in a stranger, or stray animal as quickly as a relative if she felt they were in need. When mentally healthy I doubt she ever did anything she didn’t want to. She loved telling stories and never let the facts get in the way of a good tale. Her family and those who knew her were all better off for having her in their lives. She will be missed.
At this time there are no services scheduled. Her family does intend to hold a celebration of life reception in the Spring of 2023 and a church service in Norton Kansas.