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Bath-Naylor Funeral Home & Crematory
104 W Main
Weir, KS 66781
(620) 396-8266

Roberta Marie (Phillips) Nepple


1943 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Roberta Marie (Phillips) Nepple Obituary
Roberta Marie Nepple passed away Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at the Wildwood Ranch Specialized Living Center in Joplin, Missouri. Marie was born on February 18, 1943 in Great Bend, Kansas, the second daughter of James and Esther (Riedl) Phillips.
She spent her childhood and youth in several Kansas towns, living variously in Larned, Reading, Osage City and Burlingame. Marie graduated from Burlingame High School in 1961. With a strong desire to help and care for others, she entered Grace Hospital School of Nursing in Hutchinson, Kansas, graduating in three years.
She began her work life as an Registered Nurse in Topeka, Kansas, first at St. Francis' Hospital, then the Kansas State Psychiatric Hospital and finally, at the Veterans Administration Hospital. In January 1970, she transferred to the VA Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She held many positions there, working her way up to the job of head nurse in Admissions and the Emergency Room. She began taking evening classes and, in 1982, she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from Walla Walla College (Washington). Her night-time education continued and in 1985, she earned the Master of Nursing (MSN) degree from the Oregon Health Sciences University.
In December 1986 Marie was promoted to the position of Associate Chief Nurse at the Sepulveda California VA Medical Center. Then in October 1990, she was appointed Chief of Nursing Services at the VA Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. In 1999, Marie retired from the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System after 33 years of dedicated service.
Upon retirement from the VA, Marie moved to Columbus Kansas, following her long-planned goal to live near her sister, Nancy. However, too active to be "retired", she soon accepted a position at the Pittsburg (KS) State University Department of Nursing. After serving 5 years at Pitt State, she once again "retired".
However, she was not retired long when, in 2006, another opportunity arose to serve the people of her community, this time as the Ward 2 Councilwoman on the Columbus City Council. Applying her decades of experience in administration to the management of the city, she helped the city through both the mundane everyday decisions necessary to manage a city to the occasional crises that inevitably pop up in every institution. In April 2009, she was elected to the position of Mayor of Columbus and was re-elected in 2011. She thrived in this opportunity to navigate the city into the new decade. Having accomplished many of her mayoral goals, she chose to step down from city government in 2013, passing the torch to the next generation of leaders.
Over the years, Marie has generously donated her financial resources and her time to several local and national charitable organizations, including sitting as a director on the boards of the Family Life Center (currently the Spring River Wellness Center), Elm Acres Youth and Family Services and the Columbus Housing Authority. She was a faithful member of the Catholic Church, serving for a time as president of the Altar Society. She belonged to the Saturday Knitter's Group at the Columbus Library, Coterie Club, the Beta Sigma Phi sorority, and the Wednesday Afternoon Bridge Club.
She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Esther Phillips, her husband Don Nepple and her brother-in-law, Fred Evans. She is survived by her sister, Nancy Evans of Columbus KS, her sister/aunt, Donna Schroeder of Hutchinson KS, and brother, Jim (Nancy) Phillips of Omaha NE, along with nephews Phil (Neely) and Paul (Stephanie) Evans of Columbus KS and nieces Kelli (Scott) Brandt of Nebraska City NE and Julie (Terry) Frampton of Misawa, Japan, great nieces & nephews, Corbin Hamilton, Allie, Garrett, Haley, Madi, and Rylee Evans, and James Brandt, as well as special cousins Anita Weeks, Charla (Larry) Adams and Lisa (Lee) Gleason.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11 am Wednesday August 27, 2014 at the Mother of God Church in Oswego, KS with Fr. Larry Parker officiating. Graveside Committal Services will follow at 2:30pm the same day at the Park Cemetery in Columbus, KS. Rosary will be recited at 6:30pm Tuesday August 26, 2014 at the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home in Columbus, KS; family will receive friends following the rosary. Friends may call after 12:00pm on Tuesday. In lieu of flowers the family asks expressions of sympathy to be in the form of memorials to the Grace for the Journey (Cancer Support Group) and/or All God's Creatures Pet Rescue. Friends may drop off or mail memorials to the Bath-Naylor Funeral Home 522 S. Broadway Pittsburg, KS 66762. E-mail condolences may be left at www.bathnaylor.com. Arrangements and services are under the direction of Bath-Naylor Funeral Home of Columbus, KS.
Published in Morning Sun on Aug. 22, 2014
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