Wanda Jean (Deges) Thyfault-Thummel of Hays, Kansas died Monday, July 12, 2021, at age 72, at the Santa Marta Plaza Health Services in Olathe, Kansas. She was born March 2, 1949, to Leonard and Dorothea (Engel) Deges and grew up on the family farm by Grainfield, Kansas. She married Clarence Thyfault on August 8, 1972 in Grainfield, and from this union their son, John Phillip was born. Clarence preceded her in death on May 28, 1979. Then Wanda married Ralph Thummel on June 5, 1987, in Hays, Kansas. He preceded her in death on March 4, 2021.
Wanda graduated from Grainfield Rural High School in 1967, before earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology and elementary education in 1971, graduating with honors from Marymount College in Salina, Kansas. She then obtained a master’s degree in elementary education in 1972, from Fort Hays State University Hays, Kansas.
Wanda had a 34-year career as an elementary school teacher in both 3rd and 5th grade. She began her career as a 3rd grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Parochial School in Hays where she taught from 1971 to1973, before moving to Plainville where she taught 5th grade from 1976 to 2005, (except one year of 3rd grade). Mrs. “T”, as students called her, possessed excellent teaching skills, knowledge and experience which were recognized when she received the Teacher of the Year Award in Plainville in 1989, and by regularly being nominated for honors by former students. She was the favorite teacher of many students in Plainville and was regularly thanked by her former students for changing their lives. Mrs. “T” had a passion for teaching that was unmatched, caring deeply for each child, and striving to coax the most out of each child’s unique abilities. She combined toughness and high expectations with love and sincerity in a manner that helped students blossom.
After retirement Wanda enjoyed outings with her friends, spending time with family (visiting and playing cards), reading current events and novels, knitting and completing numerous counted cross stitch projects. Wanda loved her family very much and was a textbook of family history and facts. Also, Wanda enjoyed sharing highlights about her son’s biomedical research accomplishments. In addition, Wanda enjoyed watching her grandsons Miles and Lincoln grow up, particularly tutoring them over the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wanda and Ralph made monthly trips to see their grandsons and lavished them with love and attention. Although a fantastic teacher, Wanda’s favorite passion was being a grandmother.
Survivors include her son, John Thyfault and wife, Jessica, Shawnee, KS; two grandsons, Lincoln and Miles Thyfault; one sister, Eileen Curl and husband, Don, Beaumont, TX; and Wanda’s brother’s wife, Trudy (Thyfault) Deges, Damar, KS; and special aunt, Esther Weber, Salina, KS; surviving members from the Thyfault family include sisters-in-law, Pat Sis; Trudy Deges; Cathy Smee and husband John; and Mary Engel and husband Ron; surviving members from the Thummel family include brother-in-law, Mark Thummel and wife, Melinda; four sisters-in-law, May Munk; Betty Striggow; Sister Mary Joe Thummel; and Theresa Kriley; also Wanda is survived by many nieces, nephews and friends.
Wanda was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard and Dorothea Deges; one brother, Virgil Deges; and her husbands’, Clarence Thyfault and Ralph Thummel; and their parents.
A funeral service will be held at 2:00 P.M. Friday, August 6, 2021, at Clines-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:00 P.M. at the mortuary. A meal will follow at the Hays VFW at 3:30 P.M. followed by an inurnment at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Plainville, Kansas at 5:30 P.M.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the “Wanda Deges Thyfault Thummel Elementary Ed Scholarship at Fort Hays State University which will support elementary education majors dedicated to teaching in Kansas.
To give to the scholarship go to https://foundation.fhsu.edu/give/; then in the “Designation Area” use the drop-down box to choose “other” and in comment box type in, “Wanda Deges Thyfault Thummel Elementary Ed Scholarship” or make payable to: Fort Hays University Foundation send in care of Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays.
Condolences can be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or can be left at guest book at www.keithleyfuneralchapels.com
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