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Martha Armbrister

January 10, 2019


Martha Marie (Keller) Armbrister died Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 at age 95 at Good Samaritan Society in Ellis, Kansas. Martha was born June 8, 1923 in rural Trego County, Kansas to Frank and Carrie (Wendling) Keller. She was the fourth of seven children. She attended schools in Ellis and graduated in 1942. She was a life-long member of St. John’s Lutheran Church rural Ellis.

After graduation, she worked as a clerk at the local grocery store. She married Joseph Armbrister on Nov. 1, 1945 at St. John’s. Together, they operated a farm and ranch northeast of Ellis. While they lived on the farm, Martha enjoyed gardening, sewing, and cooking and baking for her family. In 1950, Martha and Joe welcomed a daughter, Wilma Jean Armbrister. Five more children followed, with Wayne Joseph in 1951, Jeanette Kay in 1953, Darrell in 1957, Donna Mae in 1958 and Jean Marie in 1959. In 1977, they retired from farming and moved into Ellis. 

Martha also devoted a considerable amount of time to taking care of her mother, Carrie, with whom she remained close. Joe and Martha spent countless hours on a remodeling project of the kitchen at St. John’s. Joe passed away on Nov. 26, 1983, after which Martha enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren, singing in her church choir, and participating in the ladies quilting organization at St. John’s. She was active in the Ladies Auxiliary at the Veterans of Foreign Wars for many years as well as in Ellis High School alumni activities. Martha was best known for her baking, cooking and canning abilities. Her specialties were strudel, hemmitschwengers, chicken gravy, and dill pickles. Martha entered an assisted living facility in Hays in 2007, and moved into Good Samaritan in October 2012.

Preceding Martha in death were her children Wilma, Jeanette, Darrell, and Jean, and her husband Joe, her mother Carrie and father Frank, brothers Oscar and Arthur, sisters Freda, Irene, and Helen, and daughters-in-law Terry and Kimberly.

She is survived by her sister Minnie Keller of Ellis, son Wayne of Burlington, CO and daughter Donna (Tom) Benoit of Damar, KS, grandchildren Jonathan Armbrister of St. Louis, MO, Jennifer (Jason) Stallman of Hutchinson, KS, Matthew (Becky) Benoit of Damar, KS, Haley (Jeff) Gonzales of Monte Vista, CO, Molly Armbrister of Denver, CO, Rebecca Benoit of Wichita, KS, and Randall Benoit of Palco, KS, her great-grandchildren Emmie and Madalyn Stallman of Hutchinson, Tyler and Sophia Armbrister of St. Louis, MO, Brooke and Ryan Benoit of Damar, KS, and Hannah Leiker of Casper, WY, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be 10 AM Monday, January 14, 2019 at St. John Lutheran Church 394 St. John-St. Andrew Rd.  Ellis, KS. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be Sunday 5 PM - 7 PM at Keithley Funeral Chapel 400 E 17th in Ellis. Monday visitation will be at the church 9:30 until service time.

A prayer service will be 7 PM Sunday at the funeral chapel.

Memorial contributions can be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church.

Condolences may be left by guest book at or by email at

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