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Mary Rhea Waller, 86, of Lenexa, KS passed away June 18, 2014. Mary Rhea was born on November 10, 1927 in New York City to Marion and Foster Rhea Dulles. She spent her childhood in New England before moving to Columbus, Ohio where her father taught American History at Ohio State University. The family continued to spend summers in Vermont, a connection that lasted throughout her life. After graduating from Smith College with a degree in American Studies, Mary Rhea worked for Scribner’s Bookstore in New York City. She met John Waller, the brother of her roommate. They were married on Mary Rhea’s 24th birthday. They lived in several mid-western towns as John learned the glove business before settling in Kewanee, IL. They had three children. In 1965 the family moved to Overland Park, KS. Mary Rhea was home while her children were growing up. After she and John were divorced in 1980 she worked in the ophthalmology office of Thomas Duckett and Dee Bell, until her retirement.
Mary Rhea was an avid gardener–there was always room for one more plant in her garden! She volunteered with the Johnson County Services for the developmentally disabled for many years. Her interest in family extended to genealogy and became a passion. In a scholarly manner she researched and documented the family history back for several generations, tracking down unknown and missing relatives. She volunteered in the Genealogy Department of the Johnson County Library and at the National Archives. She participated in many charitable organizations involving her children and her community. It came naturally to her to help and lend support. Her optimistic and positive nature was a constant trademark that endeared her to all who knew her.
Mary Rhea is survived by her sister Connie Weems of Montpellier, VT, three children, Marion Paulette of Prairie Village, KS, Sally Wetzig and husband Mark of Castle Rock, CO, and Peter Waller and wife Kim of Parker, CO, nine grandchildren, Jenny Wetzig, Peter Waller, Jr., Rhea Paulette, Andrew Wetzig, Kyle Waller, Amy Harrison, Carrie Paulette, Sara Waller and Lisa Wetzig, and one great grandchild, Mason Wetzig.
Services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers please make contributions to the American Cancer Society and Crossroads Hospice.
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