Graveside services for Virginia Powell Conard, 86, Lawrence, KS will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Fairview Cemetery in Greensburg, KS. The family will greet friends from 5-7 p.m. Friday, April 26, 2013 at the Warren-McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence. A Celebration of Life service in Lawrence will be announced later. She died in Lawrence on Monday, April 22, 2013.
She was preceded in death by her husband, John J. Conard, on October 12, 2007, and by her oldest son, Joseph Harvey Conard, age seven, on May Day 1960. She is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law; James P. and Diana Conard, of Olathe, KS, Spencer D. and Cheryl Conard, of Charlotte, NC, John J. and Jan Conard, of Lawrence, KS, eight grandchildren: Isaac and wife Kris, Lauren and husband, Drew, Risa, Jessalyn, Emily, Libby and husband Josh, Katie and Spencer; one great-grandson, Ayden John, and two great-granddaughters, Avilyn June and Auryn Jane.
Virginia was the youngest of eight children of James Osborn and Maude Amber Powell. She was born in the Powell family farm home in Johnson County, KS, south of Olathe at what is now 183rd and Lone Elm Road. Her parents and seven siblings have preceded her in death.
She was a 1944 graduate and valedictorian of Olathe High School.
John and Virginia met at the University of Kansas while Virginia was an undergraduate student and John was a graduate student in Political Science. They were married on September 13, 1947, at the Methodist Church in Olathe with Rev. C. Fosberg Hughes of the Plymouth Congregational Church officiating.
Two years later, they moved to Paris, France, where John was a Rotary Scholar at the University of Paris (the Sorbonne) and Virginia began work with the United States Foreign Service in the Marshall Plan economic recovery program.
One of Virginia’s bosses was Mr. John M. Carmody, who had been in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cabinet as Head of the Rural Electrification Administration.
They lived in Paris for five years. Two sons, Joseph Harvey and James Powell, were born there during that time. In 1954, they moved from Paris to Chevy Chase, MD., where John worked for the U.S. Government and Virginia taught in private business colleges in Maryland.
In 1956, they moved to Greensburg, KS. During the next 14 years, they owned and operated two country weekly newspapers, “The Kiowa County Signal” and “The Havilland Journal”. For a while, they also owned “the Mullinville News”.
Sons Spencer and John Jr. were born in Greensburg, in 1960 and 1963 respectively. They moved to Lawrence in 1970.
Virginia won many state and national awards for her writing. She was twice chosen “Kansas Woman Journalist of the Year”. She served a term as president of the Kansas Press Women and a term as vice-president of the National Press Women.
Since 1968, she has been active in interdenominational prayer and Bible study groups. Over the years, she has conducted Conversation Prayer sessions in the Mid-West.
Virginia was well-known in the area for her costumed portrayal of famous women’s lives such as: Fanny Crosby (famous hymn writer), Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Susanne Wesley (the Mother of Methodism), and Clara Booth (co-founder of the Salvation Army).
She wants to be remembered for her love and commitment to her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; and to her family and friends.
The family suggests memorials in her name to the Lawrence Salvation Army and may be sent in care of the mortuary.