June 19, 2024

Mary Catherine (Strothman) Whisennand Obituary

Garnand Funeral Home

Mary Catherine (Strothman) Whisennand was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, April 29, 1944, and was adopted by Irwin and Frances Strothman shortly thereafter.  She died October 20, 2019, in Elkhart, Kansas. She graduated from Yarbrough public school in 1962. On November 7, 1964, she married the love of her life, James D. Whisennand.  To this union they had Tammie Ilene, whom was the pride and joy of both of them.  

Mary received a heart transplant on February 15, 1987.  She was the first women in the State of Kansas and the fifth person in Wichita, Kansas to receive such an extraordinary gift.  She never took this gift for granted and lived each and every day to honor the donor and their family. Her goal after receiving her heart was simple – she wanted to live long enough to see her only child graduate high school. She got to watch her finish high school and was her cheerleading sponsor and host of many get togethers, movie parties and end of the year yard parties.  She also got to be there for all her nieces and nephews, who thought of her as a second mom. Her next goal was to see Tammie marry her high school sweetheart, which she did. Then she wanted to live long enough to meet her grandchildren. She was blessed to see both Austin and Lance grow up and see each of them live life with their own personalities. Those boys where her heart and there is nothing she wouldn’t do for either one of them.  Tammie was a particiapant in the Transplant Olympics. Her favorite thing to do was host Ammie Camp with Austin, Lance, Jonna and any and all of their friends who wanted to come and camp out in the Fridge.

She gave back to her community as well.  You could always find Mary volunteering on some board or at a function.  She and Jim volunteered to run the VFW dining room, she was on the Hospital Board – which she was very proud of and the Lions Club.  Another of her joys was serving on the Duster Board and being a host family to many players from all over the United States. She loved each and every one of the summers she had with those boys.  Mary was also a participant in the Transplant Olympics.

Some of her hobbies included golfing, shooting trap, making jewelry, candle and lotions, and woodworking, going for Sunday coffees at Barnes & Nobel with Austin and watching Lance play football, basketball and baseball.  She especially loved watching him pitch and always wanted to hear of his outings. Anything she decided to do she did it whole heartedly. She also loved her job at the news office. What started as a place to help her friend out turned into the place that helped her out.  She loved going in every day, seeing all the people who came through the doors, taking pictures at all the school events and spending time with her friend. 

You could always see Mary with a smile on her face.   There was nothing she wouldn’t do for her family, friends or community.

She is survived by her daughter, Tammie and husband Brian Elsen; grandsons, Austin and Lance Elsen all of Madison, Mississippi; brothers, Dave and Ron Smevik; brothers-in-law, Joe and Jon Whisennand; sister-in-law, Darlene Strothman;  aunt, JoAnn Schneider; and many cousins, nieces and nephews, and a host of friends.

She is preceded in death by her husband, Jim; parents, Irwin and Frances Strothman; in-laws, Ernest and Alice Whisennand;  brothers, Dale and Melvin Strothman; sisters-in-law, Maxine Robedeaux, Phyllis Whisennand, and Ella Louise “Lou” Whisennand; and nephew,  Jon Daniel Whisennand.

Vigil and rosary service will be Monday, October 28, 2019, at 7:00 PM and funeral mass will be Tuesday, October 29, 2019, at 10:00 AM both at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Elkhart, Kansas, with Reverend Francis Khoi Nguyen officiating. Interment will follow at Elkhart Cemetery. Friends may call Monday, October 28, 2019, from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM at Garnand Funeral Home in Elkhart.  Memorial contributions may be given to Via Christi Foundation, for heart patient care support, in care of Garnand Funeral Home, PO Box 854, Elkhart, KS 67950. Condolences may be posted at www.garnandfuneralhomes.com.