Arlie Ann Gilmore Seitz

1932 – May 7, 2018

OVERBROOK — Arlie Ann Gilmore Seitz was looking forward to hearing and sharing more family history, but instead slipped away peacefully in her sleep May 7, 2018. She was 86.

She was born in 1932, at Overbrook and lived in or traveled through more than a dozen countries as the wife of West Point graduate, LTC Robert Jordan Seitz (1928-2005). The mother of four children, she instilled confidence with her unwavering, unconditional support and love, as well as her lifelong dedication to hard work and community service.

She graduated from Overbrook High School in 1949 and attended Washburn University from 1949-1951, and was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. She graduated in 1961, from Monmouth College, New Jersey.

Her business acumen was equal to senior roles in the business world. She was an accountant for Bellows and Company, Colorado Springs, Colo., where she learned double entry bookkeeping. Later she worked for the Council for the Advancement of Small Colleges across the street from the White House in Washington D.C., where she developed her lifelong dedication to politics. Here, she attended the Senate Rackets Committee Hearings, chaired by Robert Kennedy whom she always said was more impressive than his brother, John. She was a fierce supporter of political causes, a moderate Republican who asserted she did not leave the party, it left her.

She moved with her family 18 times in 18 years to different cities throughout the country and the world. She applied her managerial skills to her husband’s career, her home and her many volunteer positions. She always made friends, created organized, beautiful homes, played bridge, entertained elegantly and assumed leadership roles across the country and around the world, including Red Cross Welfare Director, Episcopal church school superintendent and newsletter director, President of the Officers’ Wives’ Club in two locations, Zeta Tau Alpha president, Republican campaign worker and office manager, Republican Precinct Committee Woman (1980-1992) and election board director for several years.

The family finally settled at Topeka in 1972. Throughout this time period, her devotion to CNN and MSNBC and particularly to Rachel Maddow was well known. Only Antiques Road Show and the satire of Saturday Night Live would alter her news feed. She marveled at the historic significance of family treasures and she loved Alec Baldwin’s impersonations of Trump, whom she detested.

She always had time for friends, young and old who would visit her as she held court at her kitchen table. She visited each of her children’s homes and applied her vast talents when new grandchildren arrived, cooking, cleaning, and scheduling. She instilled great table manners (elbows off the table), good grammar (don't drop your i-n-gs), confidence (put a smile on your face, even if it isn't real, and pretty soon it will be) and pride in her daughters and son and grandchildren. She loved a good practical joke and had a wicked sense of humor. She thrilled to each opportunity to surprise and delight. She convinced her grandchildren she had eyes in the back of her head and would clandestinely hang pineapples in her granddaughter Katie’s tree to tease her for once believing that they grew there.
What a cook. Renown for her superior pies (berry, lemon meringue for brother Jack, rhubarb custard) and pecan tarts, parker house and cinnamon rolls at every single holiday, she never arrived empty handed. “Delicious, nutritious, makes me feel ambitious” she’d announce when some good treat pleased her. She loved music, too, especially the deep baritone of Jim Reeves.

She was a voracious consumer of biographies and history. She loved genealogy, spending countless hours researching family history and could recite all sorts of details going back generations. Even as her health declined with advancing COPD, she frequently announced that she was “Fine, just fine,” (also inscribed on her headstone, a fact she enjoyed announcing). It is true that she never had a thought she kept to herself and this could be a problem. (“You need to watch what you eat,” or "I’m fine. Do you have pain?”) She surprised people with her frank assessments and retorts. She was also generous with good deeds and dollars. Just ask anyone who knew her.

On her last day, she gazed in wonder at an array of family photos and asked, “How did all that happen? How did all that come from me?”

Her fierce love of family lives on in her adult children, Annette Collins (Bill), Susan Homsey (Trev), Jeannie Stroth (Scott) and John Seitz (Nicole) and her beloved grandchildren: “The Lovelies” Jenna Collins, Katie Baxter (Daniel) and Sarah “Miss Fritz” Collins, Pierce and Mason Homsey, Britt, Jack and Sam Stroth, and Sydney and Ava Seitz. Her devoted brother, Jack Gilmore (Jean), uncles, George and Harold Gilmore and her uncle, Jim Marshall of Topeka, also survive her, along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Britte Bowring and Anna (Marshall) Gilmore, her brother, Tom Gilmore, and sister Barbara Gilmore Magnuson.

A private service will be held 10 a.m. June 9 at Valley Brook Cemetery, Overbrook. A Celebration of Life will follow 4 to 8 p.m. at 2920 Harrison Ave., Lawrence.

In lieu of flowers or donations, please surprise someone with a good joke or offer a random act of kindness to a good cause or someone in need.

Cheerio, Arlie Ann. Onward and upward. Love you, loads.

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