Thelma M. Canaday, 99, of Independence, KS, formerly of rural Topeka died Thursday morning at her Eagle Estates home. Born Thelma Maxine VanDyne to Harry and Florence (Kennedy) VanDyne at their Drum Creek Township home April 8, 1922, she was fourth of 10 children. She was educated at Harmony Valley, a one room school and graduated from Montgomery County High School in 1939 and from Independence Junior College in 1941. She obtained her teaching certificate from Pittsburg State Teachers College in 1943 and began teaching at Lone Elm one room school in Montgomery County for a year. Thereafter, she worked for TWA in Kansas City for two years before returning to Montgomery County to work in the Clerk of the District Court's office in Independence. In 1948, she married Reese Canaday of Sycamore, a decorated WWII Marine veteran, and moved with him to the location of his pipeline job in Cody, Wyoming, where they set up housekeeping in a travel trailer. Subsequent moves with the pipeline were to Tribbey, OK and Elmont, KS in North Topeka. They had four children, all surviving: Nancy Shoyer (Phil) of Colorado Springs, Ralph (Margo) of Oklahoma City, Russell (Bev) of Independence, and John (Sally) of Elizabeth, CO. Thelma returned to school at Topeka's Washburn University and in 1963 earned her Bachelor degree in Education. She returned to teaching at Silver Lake Grade School and later Topeka's Sumner Elementary School retiring in 1979. For the next 10 years she worked during the Kansas Legislative session as a secretary to various state representatives. Upon Reese's retirement they traveled widely and enjoyed their retirement together until his 2003 death. She relocated to Independence in 2009. Thelma relished her family, immediate and extended, and her church. She had 8 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren at the time of her death. She enjoyed playing the piano and was church organist for twenty plus years at Fairlawn Nazarene Church in Topeka. Besides her children she is survived by three sisters, Frances Whitehorn, Bartlesville, OK Helen Norcross and June Brannum, Independence. Viewing will be Friday, June 18 from 1 to 7 at Potts Chapel, Independence. Family visitation also at Potts from 5 to 7 that day. Services at Independence Nazarene Church, Saturday, June 19 at 10 a.m. Internment Saturday, June 19 at Prairie Home Cemetery northwest of Topeka at 3 p.m. Memorials are suggested in her name to Independence Nazarene Church.
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