My wife’s aunt, Faye Irene (Moler) Pohl, passed away on July 18, 2017, in Wichita Kansas. She had gone there for surgery, an extensive surgery for one who was 90 years old. She didn’t survive this, passing away less than a week later.
I first met Faye in October, 1975. I was dating Lynda at the time, things were getting a bit serious between us, so I was obliged to make the trip to the hometown and meet the family. After a late arrival and a night’s sleep, we walked the two blocks from my (then future) mother-in-law’s house to Faye’s. Her husband was in the midst of remodeling a large home in Meade. I didn’t see a lot of Faye on that trip, as there was much to do and many people to see. But we ate Sunday dinner at her house, and I could clearly see she was a gracious hostess and a good cook.
Over the years, I’ve had many chances to be with and see Faye, always at family times. We made trips to Meade, she and her husband Leonard made trips to where we were, and I got to learn much about her. Her gifts as a hostess I saw demonstrated many times, in meals large and small. She always had a nicely set table, a balanced meal fixed, and desserts at the ready. She also always urged second or third helpings on me. Yet, I’m not going to blame my lingering though shrinking obesity on her. I did that all on my own.
Faye’s life was spent mostly in Meade County, Kansas. She was born in Meade, the county seat, but the family soon moved a few miles north of town to the silica mine, where her dad, Millard Moler, was the crane operator. Her first seven years of school were at the Artesian Valley School, a one-room, rural schoolhouse. The family moved back to Meade in time for Faye’s 7th grade year. She lived in Meade, or on a family farm south of Meade for most of the next two decades. Briefly the family moved to Colorado then Idaho, but was back in Meade by 1973, stayed there until the late 1990s, when Leonard retired and the moved to Hutchinson Kansas. After Leonard’s death in 2005, Faye moved back to Meade for the remainder of her live.
For those of you who don’t know the Kansas high plains, it’s bleak, dusty, and windy. Part of the so-called “Great American Desert”, it’s devoid of trees except where the town folk plant and nurture them. It’s farming country, traditionally for winter wheat, though more recently for corn, always with other crops mixed in. If you aren’t a famer or farmer’s wife, you are working to somehow support agriculture. The land isn’t quite as flat as you might think. It’s gently rolling, with a fair amount of true flatland. Farmers have done some major earth moving and flattened miles and miles to make the land more suitable for easy farming. Despite the bleakness, I fell in love with the Kansas prairies a long time ago.
That was an aside to say that Faye learned to be prepared for weather on the prairies. I remember stopping at a cemetery in Spearville, Kansas, at Faye’s request. We were taking her from Meade to Hutchinson sometime after her husband died. She and Esther had an uncle buried there, who had died as a boy in an accident with some horses, before the family moved to Meade. She wanted to see his grave, which she hadn’t seen for a long time. We found the cemetery, on the prairie north of Spearville. The minute we got out of the car that wind hit us hard—not a storm; the wind just blows constantly. I noticed that Faye already had on a clear-plastic rain hat, to protect her hair from the wind. She must have pulled it from her purse and put it on before leaving the car. Yes, she was well prepared for what the prairie would throw at her, that time, and every time.
Faye was active in her husband’s accounting business in Meade, as well as on the farm for the years they lived there. She was a life-long member of the Church of the Nazarene, teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir, and taking various positions of service within the church. Faye demonstrated the heart of a servant in all she did. Her ministries extended beyond the local church. She served as treasurer of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, and was active in Country Gospel Music Association events, singing with other family members.
Faye will be missed much. She enriched the lives of those she met and interacted with. She lived her last twelve years as a widow, and survived cancer during that time. She’s now singing the old hymns and choruses in the celestial choir—with maybe a little country gospel mixed in.