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Della Wray Blythe

By The Mercury

Della Wray (Smith) Blythe died Sunday in Manhattan.

The family provided some of the following information.

Della Wray Smith was born Sep.  9, 1921 at Elkhart.  She was the daughter of Albert Lawrence Smith and Mary Edith Eversoll Smith.  She attended schools in Elkhart and Holiday Kansas, Colorado and Texas.  She graduated from high school in Dalhart, Texas.

She was married June 25, 1944 to John Kermit Blythe at the Blythe home in White City.  They are the parents of three children: son Holly John, and two daughters, Jeri Kay and Jana Beth.

Della Wray supported her husband with farm work at Parkerville and with his work with the Kansas Farm Bureau at Manhattan.  She accompanied him on many of his job-related trips.  She was active in the church and the community.  She was President of the United Methodist Women at White City.  She served as President of the Morris County Extension Council.  John and Della Wray moved to Manhattan in 1968.  She was active in the First Christian Church in Manhattan, serving as a Church Trustee, Chairman of the morning group of the women’s organization, and President of the Christian Women CWF. 

Della Wray was recognized as an Outstanding Woman of the Month by the Manhattan Area International Women’s Commission for her activity with the Republican Central Committee, legislative chairperson for the Christian Church women and the Kansas Livestock Association Cowbelles.  She served in the Native Daughters of Kansas as treasurer in 1977, secretary in 1978, vice president in 1979 and president in 1980.  She was appointed by Gov. Bob Bennett as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on the Environment, serving from 1977 to 1981.  She was presented the Riley County Republican Henry Otto Award in 1983.  She served as Republican Township Committee Woman in both Morris and Riley Counties.  She served on the Riley County Republican Committee as vice chairman and as secretary and on several candidate campaigns.

Della Wray was a volunteer for the hospice organization in Manhattan. She was a member of the Riley County Genealogical Society serving as president.  She spent many enjoyable hours collecting stories, statistics and pictures into family genealogies, which were compiled in book form.  This information was also preserved in computer form and included in the Personal Ancestral File in Salt Lake City.

Della Wray is survived by her husband John; their son Holly and wife Mary; his children, Kurt, and his wife Sarah, and Erin and her husband Al Harris; their daughter Jeri Bothwell; and their daughter Jana and her husband Marc Elkins, their children, Jeff and Jeni, all of Kansas City .  She is also survived by great-grandsons Kane Everett Harris and Roan Massimo Harris; great-granddaughter Blythe Eloise Harris and numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Memorial Services for Mrs. Blythe will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Chapel with the Rev. Ben Duerfeldt officiating.  Private Inurnment will be at White City Cemetery, White City.

The family will greet friends during a visitation from 10 a.m. until service time at the funeral home on Thursday.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

Memorial funds are suggested to the First United Methodist Church of Manhattan or to the White City United Methodist Church.  Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home.

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