obituary, Chesbro, Ottawa

Phyllis Ann Hart Chesbro, 95, passed away at her home in Lawrence, Kansas, on Jan. 7, 2021, due to complications from COVID-19.

A memorial service will be at a later date when gatherings return to normal and become safe again. Inurnment Highland Cemetery, Ottawa, will be scheduled later. The family suggests memorial contributions to Prairie Paws Animal Shelter or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation c/o Dengel & Son Mortuary, 235 S. Hickory, Ottawa, Kansas 66067. Family and friends are encouraged to post their condolences and memories on Phyllis’ Tribute Wall at

Phyllis was born April 26, 1925, at Ottawa, Kansas, the daughter of Phillip A. and Emma Fern (Laird) Hart.

She attended Hawthorne Grade School and Ottawa Jr. and Sr. High Schools, graduating in 1943. After high school, and during WWII, Phyllis worked at Sunflower Munitions Plant and attended Ottawa University, where she was a member of Pi Theta Chi and later Kansas State University where she pledged Delta Delta Delta sorority.

Phyllis was married on Dec. 29, 1946, to Vernon R. Chesbro, immediately following the war. They celebrated 63 years of marriage before Vern passed away in 2010. Phyllis and Vern spent their lives together putting family above all else, and Phyllis was definitely the heart of the family.

She was a wonderful mother to Scott (Linda), of Statham, Georgia; Susan Workman, of Silver Lake, Kansas; Linda Wedman (Larry), of Lawrence, Kansas.

During this time, she returned to school and in 1967 received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Ottawa University. She then taught school at Eugene Field Elementary School in Ottawa until her husband’s career began moving them all over the world. They left Ottawa in 1968 and moved to Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. Subsequently, they lived in St. Louis, Missouri; Bakersfield, California; Bellevue, Washington; Cairo, Egypt; and Atlanta, Georgia before retiring back to Ottawa, which was always considered “home.” Each time they were transferred, Phyllis tackled it with a positive attitude saying, “This will be an experience!”

Phyllis and Vern greatly enjoyed traveling and went on many wonderful trips with family and friends. She was a beloved grandmother to six grandchildren: Ben Waymire (Crystal), Jason Chesbro (Caroline), Dan Waymire (Megan), Sarah Campbell (John), Michael Wedman (Annie), and Scott Wedman. Later in life eight great-grandchildren brought her tremendous joy.

Phyllis was a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Ottawa and when living there volunteered regularly at the Episcopal thrift store. Over the years, as their travels allowed, she volunteered as a children’s reading tutor, as an election poll worker, and at the Guild House in Bakersfield. She enjoyed Entre Nous Club, Birthday Club, and several bridge clubs. She was active in her community and church and was an avid supporter of the Prairie Paws Animal Shelter. Their home was never without one or more four-legged family members.

Phyllis will be greatly missed by her family and friends.

Posted online on January 13, 2021