Dennis Langley – Obituary

0717 obit langleyDennis Langley, member of Lake Quivira, was born in El Dorado, AR. Dennis was a loving grandfather, father, son, brother and husband.
Dennis moved from state to state during his formative years, traveling with his mother and father.
Dennis found enjoyment in scholastic debate while at Haven High School, a small country school near Hutchinson, KS. He was successful and won many tournaments against significantly larger schools. Following high school, Dennis attended Hutchinson Community College, where he won the national championship in both Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speaking. Dennis was awarded a scholarship to Catholic University in Washington D.C. for speech and communications. As an undergraduate, he was given the position of debate instructor for the University. Under Dennis’ leadership, Catholic University was nationally recognized as one of the top debate programs in the country.
After his graduation from law school, Dennis became a staff member for the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee and the chief speechwriter for senator Joe Biden. Dennis became a friend and advisor to many Senators and House members during his time on Capitol Hill. In Hutchinson, Dennis built a home with his wife Judy and opened a law practice.
Soon, an opportunity presented to purchase a natural gas pipeline. Dennis served as founder and CEO of the Kansas Pipeline Operating Company. During this time, the first female Governor of Kansas Joan Finney was elected and asked Dennis to be State Democratic Party Chairman. This was the start of a prolific career in Democratic leadership. He served as chairman of the Midwestern Region of the Association of State Democratic Chairs and the third longest serving member of the Democratic Party’s National Executive Committee.
The personal and political intertwined in his life. He also created NATURE and Four Directions to promote repatriation of artifacts, protection of cultural and environmental resources on tribal land.
In addition to his two children, Sean and Erin Langley, his family grew with his wife Lyn and her children, Quinton, Leslie and Tanner Shaw, whom he loved as his own. He was also given two grandchildren, Tre and Jalyn Shaw who were everything to him. His heart was as big as his personality, and he gave love and affection to his mother, his wife, his children and their spouses and his grandchildren unceasingly. The memories he created with his grandchildren will live in their minds for the remainder of their lives.
Dennis passed away in the afternoon on June 13, at Menorah Medical Center in Kansas City from complications from a fall he took while enjoying his favorite pastime, pruning trees at the family estate. His family remains in mourning, but enjoys smiles and stories of a man who was larger than life.
He leaves behind his business interests, a strong family presence and a workforce of reliable and thoughtful individuals who will rally around one another in coming days. Burial and graveside services for family were held at Harper Springs Cemetery in Huttig, AR, on June 17. A celebration of his life and friendships will be held at Spirit of Avalon at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial donation be made to The United Aid Foundation that helps orphaned children in Romania: Romanian Kids – United Aid Foundation CO Elizabeth Alex, 1420 West 73rd Street, Kansas City, MO 64114 support-us/

Welcome! By Aline Zimmer

0717 welcome sizedDoug and Susan DePew had been living in Leawood for eight years when they decided it was time to both downsize their primary residence and acquire a second home on a lake. They hadn’t known about Lake Quivira until they saw the results of a search for lakefront property. In a flash, they realized they could have one home on a lake close to work, and rightsizing replaced downsizing. They purchased 506 Lakeshore, but once they sketched out their renovations, the 18- to 24-month estimate was longer than they had anticipated, so they switched gears to buy a house in move-in condition. As Doug said, “We’re not getting any younger.” The original home is currently on the market.
The couple hail from California and moved to Kansas because of its business-friendly climate. Doug is an executive with Team Thrift, which manages and operates thrift stores for non-profit organizations, specifically City Union Mission and Disabled Veterans of America. He works with stores across the country and specializes in real estate and contract negotiations, as well as charity relations.
Susan home-schooled their three children, who are now young adults. Shannon is 28 and lives in California where she is raising two sons, ages six and seven. Shelby is 26 and attends the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where she studies Animation and Visual Effects. Brennan, 21, attends the Savannah College of Art and Design, where he majors in Dramatic Writing with a minor in Acting.
The DePews have two dogs. Kenyon is a lab they fostered for Guide Dogs of America until he was dropped from the program for elbow dysplasia and became a permanent member of the family. He is now a therapy dog who visits seniors weekly at Shawnee Gardens Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, and is also part of a program where kids who are hesitant to read can improve their confidence and skills by reading aloud to a dog. Their other canine, Beau, was rescued from a shelter where he would have been put down due to problems stemming from abuse.
Doug’s interests include cars–Porsches in particular–while Susan is learning to play bridge and enjoys reading and scrapbooking. Doug has joined the investment club, and Susan has joined a book club. They are glad to have found the community, which they have found friendly and welcoming. Please continue to welcome Doug and Susan to the Lake!

Early on, new GM switched sights from pro tennis to club management—and hasn’t looked back

Geary Goss, General Manager, Quivira, Inc.
Geary Goss, General Manager, Quivira, Inc.

By Lisa Phlegar
There’s a new face at the helm, steering the course for Q. Inc. and Lake Quivira Country Club, General Manager Geary Goss.
On May 16, Geary started his new adventure at Lake Quivira following the retirement of Dennis Nighswonger. Geary brings with him over 26 years of club management experience. He has managed private, semi-private and resort clubs. Previously, he served as the general manager of The Country Club of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, LA. He has also held general manager positions at Firerock Country Club in Fountain Hill, AZ, and Lochinvar Golf Club in Houston, TX. Even though each club was unique, Geary operated under a common mandate of attaining the highest possible member and guest experience while utilizing the club.
In his role as a General Manager, he has successfully developed budgets, marketing and membership platforms, short and long term strategic plans, and policy and procedure reviews, as well as operating principles, utilizing the club’s mission statement, vision and core values as a foundation. Additionally, he has extensive experience in golf course agronomy, golf operations, tennis operations, planning and implementing capital projects and programs designed to increase member use of all clubhouse facilities. Furthermore, Geary has experience managing large and small homeowner associations.
Q. How did you first get into the club industry?
Geary chuckled a little and then started talking about how, back in the day, he had aspirations of becoming a professional tennis player. However, that dream was squelched after a 20-minute tennis match and a loss of love and 1 with an All-American Tennis Professional. That tennis match provided Geary with the insight that being a professional tennis player was not in his future.
So, Geary changed his future when an opportunity arrived to manage Bear Creek Golf Club in Dallas, TX. That is where Geary got “hooked” as he says and found his passion; being able to provide a great experience to members and guests.
Q. How has the club industry evolved since you began your career?
“Back when, a club would promote a great maître d to the position of managing a 2-4 million dollar club. Unfortunately, clubs failed,” Geary said. He continued describing how the industry moved towards hiring professionals. Through the years more and more business professionals were being hired in all aspects of staffing. After five years with Bear Creek, Geary decided to return to school and earn an accounting degree with a minor in economics. He determined these degrees would help enhance his skills and qualifications in the industry where he discovered his passion.
Q. What do members want out of their club?
“Biggest thing . . . a safe place where family and friends can have a quality time and a great experience,” Geary stated.
Q. What lessons have you learned throughout your years as general manager?
Geary mentioned how he has found that staff wants to do a good job, but they need tools, resources and training to be successful. Therefore, it is important to be pro-active in developing the staff, as this can result in big benefits to the club.
Q. What do you like to do for fun?
For fun, Geary enjoys spending quality time with his family. He mentioned how family is his number one priority. Geary and his wife Susan have three children; one son and two daughters. Their children have blessed them with four grandchildren; three boys and one girl. His children and grandchildren are located in Oklahoma City, OK, Fort Worth, TX, and Houston, TX. Fortunately for Geary and Susan, living in Kansas will provide them easier access to their family, thus increasing their time together.
Geary also enjoys the thrill of heading down the road on his motorcycle, visiting new and interesting places. With Susan on the back, they have ridden up into the beautiful Arizona mountains. Additionally, they have ridden through the Grand Canyon and visited interesting ghost towns along the way. One of Geary’s favorite places to visit is Sedona, AZ—“one of the prettiest cities out there!” Recently, he purchased a 2017 Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra motorcycle and plans on christening it on the roadways of Kansas.
Additionally, Geary enjoys hunting. I asked him what he hunts, and he said hunting is a fairly new sport for him. He is however, captivated by the turkeys he saw this morning by the house. He went back into the house to rummage through an unopened moving box to find his turkey call. His plan is not to hunt them, but rather just enjoy their presence.
Geary is excited to be the new General Manager of Lake Quivira Country Club. He is looking forward to Lake Quivira’s future and elated with the vision the members have conveyed through the Strategic Planning Committee.
Please stop by the Clubhouse to meet Geary during his Welcome Reception on Tues., June 6, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Why do we need a quarantine?

By John Nelson
Approximately six years ago, based on information provided from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and other State and Federal agencies, the Lake Quivira Board of Directors implemented a strict quarantine requirement for all watercraft entering our lake. This rule was enacted to stop the chance of infesting Lake Quivira with zebra mussels, which have infested lakes throughout most of the Midwest and East Coast. In most states, it is illegal to knowingly release zebra mussels into any waterbody. Additionally, many states on the West Coast have implemented border checkpoints for the examination of all watercraft being brought into their state. If any evidence is found, the vessel must immediately be taken to a decontamination/quarantine area.
First identified in 1988 in the Detroit River, it is believed zebra mussels were brought into the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway in the ballast water of ships from the Black and Caspian Seas in Europe. Once initial infestation had occurred, the spread of zebra mussels occurred rapidly throughout the Midwest and East Coast. With females laying thousands of larvae at a time, they will quickly overcome any body of water. The primary cause for further contamination of additional waterways occurs from the transport of the zebra mussel larvae in contaminated recreational boats and bait buckets between lakes and rivers. Once a lake is infested, a noticeable sign is the presence of crystal clear water, which many individuals identify as a healthy lake condition. In actuality, the opposite is true. Zebra mussels feed by filtering water, rapidly removing all the plankton and nutrient particles from the water. These particles are what cause the cloudy appearance in lake water and provide nourishment and protection for fish and other aquatic species necessary for a healthy lake and ecosystem. They also significantly reduce the oxygen levels in the water which enhances the growth of blue algae.
Today, over forty lakes and almost all major rivers throughout Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri are contaminated with zebra mussels. They are ranked as one of the top three aquatic invasive species threats to Kansas waters by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Most recently, the City of Lawrence has identified zebra mussels in parts of the city water system. Additionally, a small lake near Paola, KS, is now contaminated simply because they purchased and moved used dock flotation materials to the lake from Lake Lotawana in Missouri. The Lake and Residential Committee, working closely with Midwest Lake Management, tests Lake Quivira on an annual basis for the presence of zebra mussels. This year, the testing will also include certain areas upstream from Lake Quivira.
Lake Quivira rules are very specific relating to the control of zebra mussels. All watercraft, new or used, including, but not limited to, pontoon boats, motor boats, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and all boat trailers must go through a two- week quarantine period at our Lake Maintenance Facility located at 4600 Renner Road. Additionally, all boat and dock site equipment, including outboard motors, paddles/oars, foam knee boards, swim floats, and dock materials including ladders and flotation materials must be reported and undergo the same quarantine period prior to being brought into our community. No live bait can be brought into the lake unless it was purchased from Minnesota Bait or Cabela’s and brought to the lake in the original bag with proof of purchase. Guests are not allowed to bring any bait to the lake.
In 2016, additional rules were implemented related to the use of sand for dock site construction purposes. In that most of the local construction sand comes from the KAW River, a contaminated river, all sand used for dock site construction or beaches must be kiln dried (heat treated) and purchased from an approved vendor. Verification of such purchase is required by Lake Quivira Security. Currently, the Lake and Residential Committee is in the process of implementing new rules concerning the use of only new encapsulated foam flotation materials for all floating dock construction or refurbishment. Violation of any of these rules would be subject to a fine and loss of lake privileges.
At times these rules may seem onerous. However, the health of our lake and golf course (lake water is used for irrigation) is of utmost importance for our future enjoyment and property values. Everyone is asked to do their part in controlling the spread of zebra mussels into Lake Quivira.
Please remember if you are intending to use that new water toy for your upcoming 4th of July party, it needs to be placed in quarantine by June 15. For further information, please feel free to contact Gary Anderson with LQ Lake Maintenance or any member of the Lake and Residential Committee.

Welcome! By Aline Zimmer

Marcia and Dick Rippey
Marcia and Dick Rippey

They’re baaack . . . with cool cars and all that jazz

After ten years away, Dick and Marcia Rippey have returned to live at Lake Quivira. Dick lived here for 45 years and Marcia for 13, so they know the community well.
Dick grew up in Wisconsin and has always been around lakes. Now retired, he was District Manager and then Regional Manager at Armstrong in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Marcia, born and raised in Kansas, was an anesthesiologist for 34 years. After they married they moved into Marcia’s Cape Cod house on Lakeshore Drive, which quickly felt too small given Dick’s collection of “play” cars. A six-car garage with a house at Lake Winnebago lured them away.
But the garage provided happiness for a brief period. After a while they missed their friends, the golf course and the friendly atmosphere. Marcia kept her eyes and ears open, and when they found their current house, complete with a spacious garage and lots of windows, they jumped on it.
Marcia has a son who recently moved from Prairie Village to Dallas, a daughter in the Denver area and two granddaughters. Dick has three children, two of them in the Kansas City area. Richard is an engineer, Catherine works for Medicare and Ted is a Dean at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
The couple have a multitude of interests. Dick enjoys hunting, fishing, golf and tennis, and raced cars for eight years. Among his collection of autos is an Austin Healey from 1967, the last year they were manufactured. Marcia enjoys painting watercolors and is learning to play the dulcimer. They also run a jazz record business that dates back to 1947, and they travel to jazz festivals in Wisconsin and other states.
The Rippeys say it is nice to be back home, where they’ve picked right back up with traditions such as Fred Braun’s clean-up day. Friends have welcomed them with phone calls, visits and loaves of bread.
Welcome back to the Lake, Dick and Marcia.

JoAnne Ruth Degan – Obituary

JoAnne Ruth Deegan, 87, of Lake Quivira, KS, died May 14, 2017.
She is survived by her two children, Tim and Anne, and Anne’s husband, Gary. She is also survived by her two grandsons. She is preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, James E. Deegan.
She worked for many years at Hallmark Cards in Purchasing until her retirement. She enjoyed traveling and cooking. Visitation will be at 1 p.m., followed by service at 2 p.m., on Sat., June 3, at Merriam Christian Church, 9401 Johnson Drive, Merriam, KS.

Jeanne Louise Shafer Blessing – Obituary

0617 blessing obit photoJeanne Blessing passed away peacefully at Lakeview Village in Lenexa, KS, on May 9, 2017, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout her illness Jeanne was a beacon of love and strength, as she was all her life, to those who knew her.
She was much beloved by her family, including her husband of 63 years, Roger Francis Blessing Jr.; two sons and their wives, Bill and Anne Blessing of Leawood, KS, and Craig and Monica Blessing of Princeton, NJ; and four grandsons, John, Joe, Lucas, and Michael. Her kind, patient and practical life philosophy was embodied by her recent favorite phrase, “Do the best you can with what you’ve got.”
Jeanne was born March 18, 1929, in Great Bend, KS, to Lloyd and Kathryn Bell Shafer and grew up there with three siblings. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 1952, where she was an Alpha Chi Omega. After working as a physical therapist in Kansas City, MO, and Fort Belvoir, VA, she became a full-time homemaker in Overland Park and Lake Quivira, KS. She was praised by clients when she returned to providing in-home physical therapy services through the Visiting Nurses Association.
She and Roger were active volunteers in the community and enjoyed extensive travels together. The family has held a private memorial service and no larger event is planned. No flowers are necessary, but any memorial gifts may be directed to the Lakeview Village Foundation, Inc., 9100 Park St., Lenexa, KS 66215 or online at

Marilyn Sue Block – Obituary

0617 obit blessingDecember 23, 1947 – May 02, 2017

Marilyn was born in Enid, OK, on December 23, 1947. She met her husband Ernie in Santa Barbara, CA, where they married and had two children. She was a 33-year resident of Lake Quivira.
As partner in Ernie Block Studio, co-founder and officer of The Crossroads Community Association and Merriam Elementary PTA President for four years, her life was dedicated in the service to others. Her final challenge was in spreading joy to those she touched at KU Cancer Center.
Her determination, dignity and acceptance of all people defined her life. The love and dedication for her family had no boundary with grandsons Cooper and Desmond the light of her life. She loved coconut cream pie and lemon cookies.
Marilyn is survived by her husband, Ernie; daughters, Erika and Tina; grandsons, Cooper and Desmond; her mother, Betty Dundas; siblings, Mike, Pat and Michelle, and Danny and Cindy Dundas; extended family Patrick Alexander.
Remembrance and visitation were held on May 28 at the Lake Quivira Clubhouse.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to The University of Kansas Health Systems to benefit Women’s Oncology.