Donna Sue Gelvin

Donna Sue Gelvin, 93, of Lawrence, Kansas, passed away on Monday, January 27, 2020. Visitation will be from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, February 6, 2020, at First Christian Church, 1100 Kentucky, Lawrence, KS. Funeral services will be held in the sanctuary after the visitation. Interment will follow at Oak Hill Cemetery.

Donna Sue (Landrith) Gelvin was born in Cherryvale, Kansas to Garland S. Landrith and Nellie F. (Beamer) Landrith on December 10, 1926. She was the youngest of four children. Donna moved to Lawrence, Kansas in 1935 and attended public schools, graduating from Liberty Memorial High School in 1944. A fervent Jayhawk fan her entire life, she proudly attended the University of Kansas where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, graduating from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas as a registered nurse. Donna worked as a nurse in the Lawrence area for over 40 years before retiring in 1989.

Donna met Ralph H. Gelvin, Sr. on a blind date on Valentine’s Day 1947. He had returned from service in the Navy and Donna was scheduled for on-call surgery that night. Their date was delayed for several hours while Donna was called in to perform her nursing duties. They continued dating and were married on March 14, 1948, at Danforth Chapel in Lawrence, Kansas. Donna and Ralph were married for 70 years, enjoying yearly summer trips to Minnesota for fishing and family fun, attending countless KU basketball and football games, and being active in Masonic and White Shrine organizations. They were members of the First Christian Church in Lawrence, Kansas for over 50 years, where Donna served as a Deaconess. She filled numerous positions in the White Shrine of Jerusalem Organization including Worthy High Priestess and was a member of the Social Order of Beauceant.

Donna is survived by her daughter, Sharylyn Gelvin Lacey of McPherson, Kansas, her son, Ralph H. Gelvin, Jr. and his wife, Joann, of Lawrence, Kansas, four grandchildren: Jason (Skye) Lacey, Bryson Lacey, Alexia (Clark) Burgeson, and Matthew Gelvin; and five great-grandchildren, Scarlet and Eden Lacey, Ava, Eliana, and Wyatt Burgeson.

Donna was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Gelvin, Sr., her son-in-law, Philip Lacey, and her granddaughter, Susan Gelvin.

Memorials may be given to the First Christian Church or the Lawrence Masonic Organizations and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Donna’s family wishes to extend their sincere thanks to the staff of Pioneer Ridge Health & Rehab for their kindness and care of Donna during the past three years. They were always respectful of her and she made numerous friends among the staff and residents.

4 Condolences

  1. Reece Wiley on January 31, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Now, she and Ralph are together again, looking out after each other in God’s care. They were a wonderful couple with wonderful children.

  2. David Harrell on January 31, 2020 at 4:16 pm


    So sorry to read of your mother’s passing.

  3. Joan Stevenson on February 2, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    sorry to hear of Donnas death, however she certainly had a nice long life as well as your dad did. I know you will miss her and always think of wonderful times you all had.
    She was a great friend to me for many years and we worked together for long time.

    My sympathy to Sharylynn, Ralph Jr. JoAnn, and all the grandchildren. she will live forever in your hearts.
    Now your mom and dad can go fishing in heaven!!!! They so dearly loved being in Minnesota every summer.
    The best to all of you .

  4. Lisa Eitner on February 7, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Dear Sharylyn, Ralph Jr., Joann and Family,

    Donna was my mother Irene’s roommate at Pioneer Ridge since August 2019 and we had known Donna and Ralph Sr. as friends at the facility before that. We send our deepest condolences for the loss of your beautiful mother.

Leave a Condolence