Laura Gayle Coon will celebrate her 80th birthday on July 6.

Friends and family are invited to a reception for her from 2 to 4 p.m. on July 6 at College Avenue Methodist Church, 1609 College Ave., Manhattan. Cards and greetings may be sent to her at P.O. Box 0103, Riley, KS 66531-0103.

Born to Gertrude and Lloyd Coon in Wamego, she grew up on a farm north of Zeandale, then attended Kansas State University, graduating in 1961 with a degree in music education. After teaching in the Wellington and El Dorado school systems, she graduated from Columbia Bible College prior to going to Venezuela, where she was a missionary for more than 30 years. Laura Gayle had worked as a student in Farrell Library at K-State, so while she taught music at a school for missionary children in Rubio, the principal also asked her to become the school’s librarian. Needing to know more about her duties, she returned to the U.S. and received her Master of Library Science from Emporia State University. Leaving Rubio in 2001, she served as librarian at an international school in Caracas. In 2004 she retired as a missionary and worked as librarian at Rio Grande Bible Institute in Edinburg, Texas for seven years. Once again retiring, she moved to Riley, and has been active in her churches, the Riley Public Library, and the Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale.

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