Mary Elizabeth Ward Gilmore

Mary Elizabeth Ward Gilmore December 8, 1922 ~ May 19, 2021

Mary was born in Highland, Kansas to Charles Edgar Ward and Addie Idella Noll Ward. She grew up in Highland and after graduating from Highland Junior College completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Kansas University in Lawrence. While at KU majoring in journalism, she continued her life-long love of music by playing the piano for her friends and sorority sisters at Alpha Delta Pi. She even accompanied the New York City Rockettes when they toured in Lawrence during WWII. After graduating from KU in 1944, Mary moved to Los Angeles to work at Douglas Aircraft in the photograph reconnaissance laboratory.

Following the end of WWII, Mary returned to Highland to marry her fiancé, Byron Harold Gilmore who was also born and raised in Highland. The young couple moved to Topeka so that Byron could complete his college degree at Washburn. Having been a pilot during the war, Byron elected to continue flying as a member of the newly formed United States Air Force after graduation, and Mary began her new career as a military wife and mother making a home for her family wherever they went. While moving was challenging, it also offered opportunities including visiting many historical sites in Turkey, southern and western Europe, and northern Africa. After living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania for over 20 years following Byron’s retirement, they decided to return to Kansas and moved to Brandon Woods in Lawrence in 1996.

In addition to a talent for music, Mary had a green thumb and enjoyed inviting the wild birds to her garden and arranging the flowers she grew for which she won numerous ribbons. She also loved cats and playing bridge belonging to several clubs at a time.

Mary is survived by her sister-in-law, Helen Marie Gilmore Boyd of Missoula, Montana; her daughter, Patricia Louise Raby of Spokane, Washington; her son, Charles Byron Gilmore of Lawrence, Kansas; a grandson, Gordon Gilmore Raby and a granddaughter, Victoria Elizabeth Raby both of Spokane, Washington as well as her nieces and nephews.

Interment will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, May 24, 2021 at the Highland Cemetery in Highland, KS. Memorial services will be held at a later date at Brandon Woods.

Memorial contributions may be made in Mary’s ’s name to The Lied Center in Lawrence, KS and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

1 Condolence

  1. Gay Melissa Anderson on May 22, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    Sadly, I did not know Mrs. Gilmore. Seldom have I read about a life so well-lived. It was her name that led me to this attempt to contact you. My grandmother, Ruth Miller Royer Smith had a very close friend – Elizabeth Ward-Meade. I have held onto Elizabeth’s letters-dozens of them.. Please email me? Or contact me at 785-221-6435.

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