Jill E. (Jennings) Lathen, 64, passed away on March 27, 2014, at her home after a prolonged battle with multiple sclerosis (MS).
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She was born Oct. 19, 1949, in Pasadena, Calif., to Rev. James and Jewell (Harper) Jennings. Jill married James Lathen on Aug. 15, 1969, in Delta Junction, Alaska. Together, they celebrated 44 years of marriage and raised two children, daughter Erin Lathen and son Travis Lathen. They added a daughter of the heart to their family, Myrna (Bunton) Bethards, during her teenage years.
Jim and Jill have made their home in Halstead since 1973, where Jill has been an active member of the community. Over the years she has been involved in PTO, Community Vacation Bible School, American Legion Post 231 Auxiliary, as an elder with the Presbyterian Church, painted billboards for the Halstead Recreation Department, Book Club, and the Scarlett O'Hatters.
Jill attended Dodge City Community College and Wichita State University, obtaining her masters as a speech-language pathologist from WSU in 1985. Prior to completing her degrees, she held jobs with Halstead City Hall as the assistant city clerk, Halstead Public Library as its librarian, running an arts and crafts business (The Peddler's Cart), and Hertzler Clinic in the billing department.
As a SLP, she worked for Hutchinson Public Schools, Aegis Health Care, and Wichita State University's Speech & Hearing Clinic supervising graduate students. In 1998, she participated in a professional exchange program with People to People International, traveling to South Africa. She retired from working in 2009.
Jill was preceded in death by her father, Rev. James Jennings.
She is survived by her husband, Jim Lathen of Halstead; daughter, Erin Lathen of Halstead; son, Travis Lathen of Halstead; daughter, Myrna (Jim) Bethards of Halstead; mother, Jewell Jennings of Marysville, Wash.; brother, Jed (Ann) Jennings of Everett, Wash.; brother, Jonathan (Jo Ann) Jennings of Spokane, Wash.; sister, Jane (Gary) Tolman of Lake Stevens, Wash.; brother, Timothy (Gail) Jennings of Anchorage, Alaska; brother, Mark Jennings of Owensville, Mo.; brother-in-law, John (Joanne) Lathen of Copeland; sister-in-law, Generia Hawkins of La Vista, Neb.; brother-in-law, Jeff (Judy) Lathen of Meade; and her grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday, March 31, at Kaufman Funeral Home, Halstead. The family will be present from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 4, 2014, at the First Presbyterian Church in Halstead, with Rev. Tony D'Olio presiding.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Halstead Public Library or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in care of Kaufman Funeral Home, Halstead.
Jill's family would like to express their deep appreciation to the Harden Hospice staff who helped to maintain her life in her home as her illness progressed over the past few years.
Kaufman Funeral Home Inc
418 Chestnut St Halstead, KS 67056
Published in The Kansan from Mar. 29 to Mar. 31, 2014