Mary Ellen Ash Rixey of Fairway, Ks., passed away on Friday, March 8, 2019. The family will receive friends from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2019, at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, KS.. Funeral Services will follow the visitation, beginning at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be in the Johnson County Memorial Gardens after the service.
Mary Ellen was born July 22, 1929, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Dr. John Louis Ash and Mary Edith Cloyd Ash. She was the namesake of her Great-Aunt Mary Ellen (Winston) Raymond Davis, of Girard, Kansas.
After her graduation with honors in 1947 from Muskogee Central High School, Mary Ellen attended Oklahoma State University, graduating again with honors in 1951 as a member of Phi Theta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi Honorary. She was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.
While attending the university, she was nominated by her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma and the University to represent Oklahoma State at the 1950 American Royal Queen Contest in Kansas City. Mary Ellen was crowned Queen of the American Royal, as Kansas City celebrated its centennial year.
During her reign as queen, she received many special honors, including the Key to Kansas City, and driving the 1,000,000th Ford car manufactured off the assembly line. Mary Ellen met Mrs. James A. Reed, owner and president of Donnelly Garment Company, during a tour of the Nelly Don factory. She also was honored to meet Loula Long Combs, during her stay in Kansas City, who was a frequent American Royal exhibitor. Upon her graduation from college, she returned to Kansas City, and worked at Nelly Don in advertising and sales promotion for several years.
Mary Ellen married Norton B. Rixey, a longtime area cattleman, on February 14, 1953. She volunteered at the Crippled Children’s Nursery at Children’s Mercy Hospital, the KU Medical Center Preschool for Deaf, and taught a Sunday school class at Village Presbyterian Church. After her two sons entered school, Mary Ellen became active in the PTA, receiving an honorary life membership in the PTA for her work.
She developed a keen interest in genealogy, and was a member of the Mission Hills Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution. In 1965, Mary Ellen was named the Outstanding Jr. DAR Member in the State of Kansas. She had traced many of her family’s ancestry to the Revolutionary War era and always felt that it was not who they were but how you found them, that was so intriguing.
In time, she returned to school and graduated first in her class from the former Research Medical Center of School of Medical Record Technology. She then earned a Master of Science degree in the field of education from Kansas State University.
Mary Ellen worked for many years at Shawnee Mission Medical Center and was awarded an Outstanding Employee Award in 1975, for her work in Quality Assurance. She later worked at St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza, then at Kaiser Permanente as a specialist in the legal use of a patient’s medical record. She was a registered health information technician and a member of the state and national chapter of the A.H.I.M.A. or American Health Information Management Association.
A longtime member of the Village Presbyterian Church, Mary Ellen was also a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, the Mission Hills Chapter of the D.A.R. Chapter G.I., and the P.E.O. Sisterhood.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 46 years, Norton B. Rixey, and her son, Robert J. Rixey. She is survived by her son, Norton B. Rixey, his wife Annie and their son, Jeff Rixey; Robert’s wife, Mary Rixey and their daughters, Allison Burns Rixey, Caroline Marie Rixey, Amanda Leigh Rixey and Caitlin Pauline Rixey.
Village Presbyterian Church
6641 Mission Rd., Prairie Village KS 66208