Ethel May (Gorgas) Imel, 94, devoted wife of the late A. Richard “Dick” Imel, passed away
peacefully November 24, 2020 at Garden Terrace of Overland Park due to complications of
Alzheimer’s disease and COVID19.
Ethel was born November 29, 1925 in Nickerson, Kansas to Opal Maude (Leslie/Lasley) and
George John Lincoln Gorgas. As a young child she had lived in Nickerson and Hutchinson,
Kansas, but by 1934, she and her brother Louis had tragically lost their older brother Ralph to an
accident and both parents to disease leaving them orphaned at ages 8 and 10 in the depth of the
Depression. After living with some relatives for a the next couple of years she was placed in an
orphanage in Hutchinson. Fortunately, at age 16, she was taken into the loving Hutchinson
home of Janet and Addison Meschke where she flourished. She was able to complete high
school and even attend Hutchinson Junior College. With further support from her foster parents,
she went on to complete a BS degree in Home Economics at Kansas State University where, as a
senior, she had the great fortune to meet Dick, the love of her life. They married on August 5,
1950 at the Meschke home. This last August, Dick and Ethel observed their 70th wedding
anniversary but, sadly, they were unable to share the occasion due to pandemic restrictions.
Although she had worked some outside the home, Ethel’s greatest joy was in being, as she
so often put it, a homemaker, making that warm and loving space her husband, children and
friends enjoyed for so many years. The house was often filled with the aroma of fresh baked
cookies and, during the holidays, her famous cinnamon roll Christmas trees. To her
grandchildren she was always that special loving grandmother everyone hopes to have.
Although she and Dick were active with travel and bluebirding after retirement, advancing age
was unkind to her and the last two decades of her life were progressively lost to the ravages of
dementia. We have all so missed that wonderful woman we knew.
Ethel and Dick were blessed with three children, five grandchildren and five great
grandchildren. Terry Lee (Marilyn) Imel of Lawrence, Kansas and their daughter, Lauren Imel
(Rod Smith) and children Olive and Arlo, and their son, Brian Imel (Christy) and sons Robert
and Henry; Junia Gail Imel of Denver, Colorado; and Marcia Linn “Marcy” (Randy) Johnson of
rural Concordia, Kansas and their son Alex Johnson (Ali) and daughter Charlotte, and daughter
Erica Johnson, and son Braden Johnson.
Ethel was preceded in death by her parents George and Opal, brothers Ralph George Gorgas
and William Louis Gorgas, half sister Etta Thatcher Leslie and, very recently, her loving
husband, Dick, with whom she was always so deeply connected.
A private family service and burial will take place November 27 at Johnson County Funeral
Chapel and Memorial Gardens in Overland Park. Memorials can be sent to Garden Terrace of
Overland Park, 7541 Switzer Rd, Overland Park, KS 66214 (attention business office and please indicate if you want the donation to activities or garden), or to The Alzheimer's Association - Heart of America Chapter
(https://www.alz.org/kansascity). Mom would be so honored to have those who knew and loved
her to support these important causes.