Kathleen Toalson Bartley
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Kathleen Toalson Bartley, 97, of St. Joseph, MO, died peacefully and with God on Monday, August 12, 2013, at Vintage Gardens North Assisted Living, where she had been a resident since April 2008. A visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 3, at 12 PM, at Greenlawn Funeral Home South (441 West Battlefield in Springfield); funeral will follow at 1 PM, with burial following in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
Kathleen was born to Ella and Shell Toalson in Aldrich, MO, the youngest of nine children in the family. After graduating from Aldrich High School, where she played running center on the girls' basketball team, Kathleen taught in one-room schools in southwest Missouri. Between teaching terms, she attended what was then Southwest Missouri State University (SMS), eventually graduating with an elementary education degree in 1941. There, she met her future life-long companion, fellow teacher, and husband, Imon Bartley. He preceded her in death in March 2002. The two married on November 15, 1939, and spent their honeymoon at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel in St. Louis while attending the Missouri State Teachers Association annual meeting. Kathleen took a hiatus from public school teaching to be homemaker for the couple's three children: Ann Olander of Alta Loma, CA; Jane Frick of St. Joseph, MO; and George Bartley of Waltham, MA. An accomplished musician, Kathleen played the piano and organ for church services when the family lived in Unionville, MO, where Imon was the school superintendent. During those years she taught her children many songs, directed a children's church choir and created several children's musical programs. She participated in several community musicals. With enthusiastic zest, Kathleen liked to organize parties and games.
Kathleen returned to elementary school teaching after the family moved to Des Moines, IA, where Imon taught at Drake University. In 1966, the couple moved to Springfield, MO, where Kathleen taught 2nd and 4th grade at Springfield's Bingham and Sunshine elementary schools, while Imon served as the university's graduate dean until his 1976 retirement. Post-retirement, the couple loved to attend SMS basketball games in Springfield and to travel-visiting Egypt, Israel, Europe, Canada - and every state in the Union at least once.
Passionate about learning and staying active, Kathleen had the Scrabble dictionary memorized, and could quickly make "five" combinations in dominoes to be competitive in both games. In addition, her competitive skill in croquet and card games became legendary. She loved gardening, journaling, and reading—for herself and to her grandchildren. Appreciating flowers, she shared this passion with others. Throughout her life, Kathleen liked cats and dogs, and they liked her.
In addition to Ann Olander and her husband Farley, Jane Frick and her husband Lyman, and George Bartley and his wife Marina, Kathleen is survived by seven grandchildren: Andrew Olander of Antioch, CA; Kathryn Olander of New York, NY; Douglas Olander of Seattle, WA; Michael Bartley of Boxborough, MA; Elizabeth Hagan of Seattle, WA; David Frick of Boulder, CO; and Christopher Frick of Antioch, CA. There are eleven great grandchildren: Andrew and wife Erica's son Lars; Kathryn's daughters Isabelle and Nathalie Gendron; Douglas and wife Courtney's son Jay; Michael and wife Peishan's daughters Evelyn and Lauren; and son Nathaniel; David and wife Meghan's sons Eli and Leo; and Chris and wife Priscilla's daughters Mackenzie and Camryn.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Brentwood Christian Church, 1900 E Barataria Street in Springfield, MO 65804, where as a long time member, Kathleen formerly played in the bell choir and taught Sunday School.
Greenlawn Funeral Home South - Springfield
441 West Battlefield Springfield, MO 65807
Published in the News-Leader on Sept. 1, 2013