Sylvia “Sue” VanWye

Sylvia Sue VanWye died Monday, April 1, 2013, 12:07 p.m. at Brookside Retirement Community, Overbrook, KS.  Cause of death was C-diff and Parkinson’s.

She was born on November 10, 1941 in Argonia, KS.  Sue grew up on a farm outside Helena, OK. 

Sue graduated from Wichita North HS.  She attended nursing school in St. Louis, married Rafael Cepeda, had two daughters and moved to Barranquilla, Colombia, before returning to Wichita and completing her nurse’s training.  After beginning her nursing career with Sedgwick Co. Health Dept., Sue married Ken Kallenbach in 1972 and had one son.  Sue received a BS degree from Oklahoma City University.  Her nursing career included psychiatric nursing at Central OK Community Mental Health Center in Norman, OK and public health nursing at San Diego Co. Public Health Clinic in San Diego, CA.  While at San Diego Public Health, Sue was involved in the initial awareness and education surrounding HIV-AIDS.  Sue’s nursing career ended back in Wichita with Sedgwick Co. Health Dept.

Sue enjoyed painting, gardening and growing orchids.  She was an avid tennis player, and enjoyed nature and the outdoors.  Sue took joy in being involved in the lives of her grandchildren.   She was raised Southern Baptist, and prayer and spirituality were very important to her.

Sue is predeceased by her father, Boyd VanWye.  She is survived by her mother Martha VanWye Welch, two daughters, Gina Lynn Cepeda (husband Richard Hill) and Martha Jane Cepeda-Backhus (husband Gregory Backhus), son Grady Kallenbach, three grandchildren Rachel DeVore, Thomas Ryan DeVore, and Warren Backhus, sister Beverly Kay (VanWye) Hughes (husband Jim Hughes), and two brothers Dick VanWye (wife Marj VanWye) and Bob VanWye (wife Zeta VanWye.)

A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 12, 2013, at 1:00 p.m. at Unity Church of Wichita, 2160 N. Oliver, Wichita. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Oxfam America, 226 Causeway Street, 5th floor, Boston, MA 02114 ( or National Parkinson Foundation Heartland, 8900 State Line Rd, Ste 320, Leawood, KS 66206 ( ).


6 Condolences

  1. Rick Schwebel on April 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

    To the family : my sincere condolences.
    There is no greater pain than the death of a loved one.
    Sometimes it seems almost more than a person can bear.
    Jehovah God helps us with this in His Word,
    He promises us that He will put a stop to all sickness
    and death will be no more (REV 21;3.4) Jehovah also
    shows His love for us through the ransom sacrifice
    of His beloved son Jesus Christ. What a wonderful gift to be given !
    Then the hope of seeing our loved ones again
    on this earth, transformed into a paradise. The Bible tells us
    this was Jehovah’s will when He created Adam & Eve.
    Please read:
    (Genesis 1:26,27; John 5: 28,29; Psalms 37:11,22,29).
    If you have any questions or comments,
    You contact me at:

  2. Phyllis G Fast on April 6, 2013 at 8:50 am

    I grew up in the same church as Sue and her family. She, her sister and mom were wonderful people wonderful role models and a joy to know each one.

  3. Jim & Eileen Dolbee on April 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Gina, Martha & Grady, We send our sympathy to you as you grieve the loss of your mom. Sue and I enjoyed working together at the SC Health Dept and Jim and I have fond memories of our yearly Christmas tree-trimming parties. We will miss her.

  4. Kathleen and Jerry Ligon on April 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Our sincerest sympathy to you, Gina, Jane and Grady. We remember many great times with your Mother, Sue: camping, playing tennis, and, of course, the Tree Trimming get togethers. She was always very kind, thoughtful and loving.

  5. Grady Kallenbach on April 10, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Thank you everyone for your comments. Sue had a beautiful death that really exemplified unity and peace. I cried a lot before she died, and have hardly cried since her death. I see that as connected to how much she suffered before, and how happy and free she feels now.
    I also want to ask Rick Schwebel how he knew Sue. Hi Rick, I’m Grady, Sue’s son. I was just wondering if you knew Sue, and if you did, how you knew her. Thank you.
    And thank you to the Universe and to my mom for all the wonderful and horrible things! I express my gratitude for all of life. Thank You

  6. Martha Jane Cepeda-Backhus on April 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Thank you all for your comments. It is wonderful to hear from friends and family from Helena, OK, as well as friends from Wichita. Yes, I too have many fun memories of the tree-trimming parties, as well as other activities Mom participated in with friends, while I tagged along. Thank you. 🙂 –Jane

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