Della Kathryn Toplikar

 

Della Kathryn Cumley Toplikar, 96, Gardner, Kansas passed away Wednesday morning, July 27, 2022 surrounded by her family at Wellsville Retirement Community, Wellsville, Kansas. Visitation will be 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Thursday, August 4, 2022, with a Rosary at 6:00, at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, 555 W. Main Street, Gardner, Kansas. Mass of Christian Burial will be 9:00 a.m. Friday, August 5, 2022 at Divine Mercy Catholic Church. Burial to follow at Resurrection Cemetery, Lenexa, Kansas. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul Catholic Church Capital Campaign Fund, 21650 W. 115th Terrace Olathe, Kansas, 66061. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com

Della was born March 31, 1926 in Kansas City, Missouri to Davis Lee and Anna (McTamney) Cumley. Growing up during the Depression, her father Lee sought work and moved the family to Horton, then Frankfort and then back to Kansas City. They finally settled in Olathe, where her father found permanent employment at the Olathe Creamery. Della graduated from St. John Memorial High School, Olathe, Kansas in 1943. Her first job was working after school, earning 35 cents an hour, typing funeral books for Julien’s Furniture and Undertaking, downtown Olathe. After graduation, she was a clerk stenographer for six years at the Johnson County Department of Social Welfare, where she did secretarial work for the social workers and director. She went on to work for four years at the former Olathe Naval Air Station where she did secretarial work for the base’s commander. She was so proficient at shorthand, she was called in for important tasks such as taking dictation of a court martial and transcribing it herself.

Della married Robert “Bob” Toplikar on June 21, 1952 at St. Paul Catholic Church, Olathe. She continued working at the Naval Air Station. In the evenings, she helped her husband and brother Ernest operate the B&E Delicatessen in downtown Olathe. After Bob left the restaurant business, Della turned her professional skills into becoming a homemaker and stay at home mother. Her natural organizational skills, flexibility, and perseverance made her exceptional at multi-tasking and juggling the ever-changing needs of a family that eventually grew into eight sons and two daughters. After raising 10 children of her own, she became something of a world class grandmother. Della enjoyed taking on babysitting duties for dozens of grandchildren over the years until she was well into her 70’s.

She and Bob celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in 2012. During the last 10 years of Bob’s life he developed a number of medical problems. Her organizational skills were called into play again. Della became a round the clock nurse for Bob, keeping track of his medical and personal care until he passed away in 2012.

Della’s Irish hospitality was legendary. Visitors were always treated to a meal, cup of coffee or a dessert and one of her old Olathe stories. She always baked a cake for every occasion, birthdays, baptisms, graduations, weddings and anniversaries. Della would not let visitors leave without sharing a piece along with some vanilla ice cream.

Having grown up during the Depression and having faced World War II with the rest of her generation, Della realized the two most important things to value in life are faith and family. Her life reflected those values as she treasured her Catholic faith, husband Bob, their children, grandchildren and other baby angels called home early. She was a long-time member of St. Paul Altar Society, Olathe and an active member of the Ladies of the Sacred Heart after moving to Gardner. She had a life-long interest in politics and previously served as a Republican Precinct Committeewoman in both Olathe and Gardner.

Della was preceded in death by her parents; husband Bob; sisters: Margaret “Goggie” Sheafer, Bette Jane Mahaffie, Shirley “Shug” Hutton; brother Harry Lee “Bud” Cumley; grandson Louis Trausch; great-granddaughter Jocelyn Donelson. She is survived by her children: Bob (Janet) Toplikar, Leawood, Kansas, Dave (Diane) Toplikar, Lawrence, Kansas, John (Dianne) Toplikar, Olathe, Kansas, Linda (Mike) Kirby, Olathe, Kansas, Pat (Millie) Toplikar, Springfield, Missouri, Jim ( Mary) Toplikar, Olathe, Kansas, Greg (Rosie) Toplikar, Olathe, Kansas, Joe (Kim) Toplikar, Edgerton, Kansas, Jean (Mike) Trausch, St. Mary’s, Kansas, Mike (Shawn) Toplikar, Gardner, Kansas; 43 grandchildren; 53 great-grandchildren; sister Joanne “Jo” Smith, Olathe, Kansas and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members