Mary Agnes Rothers

Born: Sep. 11, 1905 in Nemaha County, near Corning, Kansas in an area called the Coal Creek Community. Died: Nope - still going strong in 2010, soon to be 105 years old. Her father was Bernard Henry Rothers. Her mother was Teresa Nolte. She was married July 3, 1931 to George Truman Ward. They had three children together: 1934 Janet Joy Ward 1935 George Gene Ward known as "Gene" 1939 Ward Lee Ward known as "Lee" Mary Agnes Rothers was born on a farm in the Coal Creek community, southwest of Corning, Kansas. The photo above was taken in 2005, when Mary was 100 years old. She was the second of their four children and the only girl. Her brothers Alvis, Philip and Larry preceded her in death. With the early death of her mother, in 1910, she and her brother Alvis were moved into the home of their paternal grandparents, on the parallel near Soldier, Kansas. Her younger brothers went to live with the Nolte grandparents in their home near Seneca, Kansas. Mary first attended the Anderson County School, then transferred to St. Peter and St. Paul Catholic School before attending Soldier High School, where she was graduated with the class of 1926. With her Normal Training Certificate she became a teacher at Anderson school, where she had begun her education, and taught there for two terms. She attended Emporia State Teachers College, and in the fall of 1928 she took a position as a teacher at Eureka School, south of Netawaka, Kansas. She married George T. Ward on July 3, 1931 in Emporia, and they made their first home in Goff, Kansas, where George worked as a printer's apprentice on the Goff Advance. The photo at center was taken in her home in Topeka in 1983. They had three children: Janet Joy Ward George Gene Ward (known as "Gene") Ward Lee Ward Gene passed away in 1979. During the Second World Ward Mary worked at an Ordnance Plant near Parsons, Kansas, where the family had moved when her husband went to work for Commercial Publishers. After the Korean Conflict broke out she continued to work there, although the family had moved to Joplin, Missouri and it was a 60-mile commute. After the war she worked at St. Francis Hospital in Joplin, then when the family moved to Topeka, in 1956, she worked for Stormont-Vail Hospital, until her retirement in 1972. She and her husband, George, purchased a home in Topeka in 1957, at 1104 West 32nd Street, where she continued to reside until 2006. George worked for the Topeka Capitol until he passed away in 1981. Mary became a member of the Countryside Methodist Church in 1958, and was active in the Women's Circle there. She was a member of the Women's Auxiliary #37 of the International Typographical Union, and of the Sigma Alpha Sorority of the Kansas Chapter, which she served as treasurer. She was an excellent seamstress, sewed for all of her grandchildren and made hooked rugs as gifts and afghans for family members and especially for her great grandchildren. She gardened and canned every year of her life and tomatoes were her specialty. In 2003, at the age of 98, she harvested enough tomatoes from two plants to fill several quart jars. The photo at bottom right shows the beautiful wall-hanging that Mary made at age 75 for the 1981 wedding of her grand-daughter, Sarah Shamim Asbury Sherman. She was proud of her German heritage and recalled that her Rothers grandparents came to the United States in 1892 when her father was sixteen years old. Her "Granpa Nolte" entered the U.S. in Louisiana and came up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, where he met his bride-to-be. She was only 16 years old, so he homesteaded in Seneca near the railroad tracks and then went back and got her later. They had a simple one room house with a dugout for a basement. He worked as a mason before the family became farmers. Because of her gratitude to the Capper Foundation, for financial aid given when their daughter Janet underwent corrective spinal surgery, she became a life-long contributor to that and many other worthy causes. Here is Mary's autobiography. Here are links to photo collages created by grandson Jefferson Ward Asbury: Photo Collage A. Photo Collage B. Photo Collage C. Photo Collage D. Genealogy HOME Search Tool.