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ELSIE MAY CRITZ FRY(1913 - 2013)

Elsie May Critz Fry, 99, of Prairie Village, Kansas, traveled through a century of personal and global change guided by faith, hope, and love. A beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, she loved her family dearly. Determined to make a difference in the lives of others, her beliefs gave her strength to meet challenges. She died October 22, 2013, of acute myeloid leukemia at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Elsie was born on Christmas Day, 1913, in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to John Walker Critz, Sr. and Lillie Constance Stepzinski Critz. She graduated from Shawnee High School and continued her education at Oklahoma State University, where she excelled in her studies and graduated with a B.S. in education with a concentration in math. While there, she joined Pi Beta Phi sorority and served as treasurer. One of her many engaging stories revealed that the Pi Phis would push back the furniture, roll back the carpet, and invite the young men to come dance at the sorority for a half hour every evening. It was during one of these dances that she met her future husband: Vene D. Fry, Jr., a member of Sigma Nu fraternity, an honor student, and a golf letterman. He graduated from Oklahoma State University with a B.S. in mechanical engineering. Elsie May Critz and Vene Daniel Fry, Jr. were married on September 1, 1937, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Shawnee, Oklahoma. During the early years of their marriage, while Vene worked for Fairbanks Morse, they lived in Joplin, St. Louis, and Kansas City in Missouri and Pomona in California. When they settled in Prairie Village, Kansas, they decided to stay there with two young daughters, Connie and Cynthia. Vene started his own company as a manufacturer's representative for pumps, motors, and electrical equipment, and Elsie was a devoted mother, homemaker, and an active part of the community. They joined the Village Presbyterian Church in 1949, just two months after its inception. Elsie remained a member until her death. Elsie loved being an involved mother. While her daughters were young, her volunteer work focused on being a Sunday school teacher, PTA vice president and treasurer, as well as being active in the Girl Scouts and her daughters' other activities. She was also active in Pi Beta Phi, a docent for Wornall House, an officer of P.E.O., and the Tomahawk Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (holding offices as regent, vice president, treasurer, and secretary). She volunteered until well into her 90s. An avid bridge player, she continued to play bridge until her last emergency trip to the hospital. An activity she and Vene savored was participating in the architectural design process of the home that was built expressly for their family. She lived in this home until she left for the hospital before her death. She met the challenge of caring for her husband Vene, who died of lung cancer in 1966, after battling esophageal cancer for the previous three years. She fought her own battle with breast cancer, a cancer she overcame more than 25 years ago. Through difficulties, she remained strong and showed her love by tending to practical details of life and providing enduring wisdom, meaningful involvement, constant caring, and curiosity. She was preceded in death by her parents Lillie and John Critz, her husband Vene Daniel Fry, Jr., her sister, Margaret Bollman, and three brothers: Edward H. Critz, Robert G. Critz, and John Walker Critz, Jr. Elsie is survived by her daughter Constance "Connie" A. Zuck (Gary) of Prairie Village, Kansas; her daughter Cynthia A. Gunn (John) of Palo Alto, California; four grandchildren: Michael V. Zuck of Prairie Village, Kansas; Matthew D. Zuck (Monica) of Palo Alto, California; Matthew D. Gunn of Chicago, Illinois; Lisa C. Gunn of New York City, New York; two great grandchildren: Eliza B. Zuck and Vivian A. Zuck of Palo Alto, California. Our beloved Elsie (a. k. a. Mother, Nana, Nana Elsie) modeled her belief in Christ's teachings in her love of family and friends and her strength by being there, a loving giving presence and symbol of strength in our lives. She will live in our hearts and minds forever. Her life exemplified what the Beatles expressed so well, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make." The family thanks her good friends, the Village Church community, Elder Care of Kansas City (including each caregiver and staff member), St. Luke's Home Health Care, and the doctors and nurses of the University of Kansas Medical Center for all their care and concern for Elsie. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2013, at 3:00 PM at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, Kansas, 66208. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Village Presbyterian Church or the .



Published in Kansas City Star from Oct. 30 to Nov. 10, 2013
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