Clara Katie Mary Beckmann passed away April 30, 2017, at age 88 in Smith Center, Kansas. She was born July 23, 1928, in a sod house, in Burdett, Colorado, to Maria Katharina (Grauerholz) and William Gemaehlich.
At age 5, her family moved to the Kensington, Kansas, area where she attended school. Clara was baptized and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kensington. She graduated from Kensington High School in 1946. Shortly after high school, she met Vernon John Beckmann; they were married at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kensington on November 2, 1947.
Clara and Vernon established their home on a farm south of Athol, Kansas. For 30 years, they devoted themselves to farming, ranching and dairy production. They raised three children and supported each through college. Always a hard worker, Clara worked alongside Vernon in milking cows, driving trucks during harvest and baling hay. One year she canned over 200 quarts of apricots.
In 1976, Clara and Vernon semi-retired and built a home in Kensington. Clara worked for 13 years at the Golden Fountain Restaurant and 8 years at the Country Corner. Clara taught Sunday School for many years and loved quilting, embroidery, puzzles and meeting with friends to play cards. An exceptional cook, she was known for her pumpkin pie and Vernon’s favorite, Burnt Sugar Cake.
Clara was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon, her son, Royce, daughter-in-law, Karen Beckmann; a sister, Leona Kuhlmann, and brothers LeRoy Gemaehlich and Kenneth Gemaehlich.
She is survived by daughters Nadine Marie (Roy) Hayden of Andover, Kansas and Beverly Jane (John) Smith of San Antonio, Texas, as well as 5 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother, Lloyd Gemaehlich of Osborne, Kansas.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at St. John Lutheran Church, Athol, with Pastor Dave Kramer officiating. Visitation will be from 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at All Faiths Funeral Chapel, Smith Center, and 9:00 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the church. Burial will be in St. John Lutheran Church Cemetery, Athol. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the church and can be sent in care of the funeral chapel.