Lillian Frances Galle was born at the Galle household in Valley Center, Kansas on March 5, 1933. She was delivered by her Aunt Helena Schmidt, who was a nurse. She was the fifth of the seven children of Oswin Karmie Galle and Sara Schmidt Galle. She grew up in Valley Center, and, with her family, attended church in Wichita. Their Dad built an extra bench in the back of their 1934 Ford so that they could all ride together from Valley Center to the Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church every Sunday (and more), where they regularly participated in the life of the church. She graduated from Valley Center High School in 1950 as Valedictorian of her class. After working a year at St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, she enrolled in Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas in the fall of 1951. During her sophomore year, she was chosen by the Bethel College Student Council to represent Bethel at the “Teacher’s Training College at Wupperthal Germany under the Foreign Student Exchange Program. She spent the 1954-55 academic year at Wupperthal, and returned to Bethel after that, graduating in the spring of 1957.
Lillian spent the next four years in Wichita as a social worker, before going on to the University of Chicago, to gain her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Her schooling was paid for by the Illinois Children’s Home and Aide Society, with the proviso that she work for them after graduation for at least a two year period. She worked for them a substantially longer time, quitting that job to move back to Newton, Kansas in 1976 to accept a social work job at Prairie View Hospital. From that time until April of 1998, she worked at a variety of social work jobs in the Newton area, culminating in becoming Head of the Social Work Division of the newly organized Newton Medical Center when Axtel Hospital and Bethel Deaconess Hospitals merged. While in this position, she was named Kansas Medical Social Worker of the Year in 1997. She resigned her position at Newton Medical Center in 1998.
After her resignation, she spent a large portion of her time in a variety of volunteer activities in the Newton area, working at the Bethel College Library Archives, helping organize the Life Enrichment program at Bethel College, working at the Newton Public Library, assisting the Big Brother/Big Sister project and a number of other places. In addition, she began to care for her older sister Lorraine, who had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
The two of them had always enjoyed travelling together (three trips to Europe) especially visiting their brothers and sisters and the children of their siblings.
Lillian died on Sunday, February 24th, 2019, following years of loving care from the staff of Presbyterian Manor. She was preceded in death by her parents Oswin and Sara (Schmidt) Galle, sisters Marianna (Gene) Hall, Kathryn (John) Vogt, Lorraine Galle, and her brother Karmie Galle. She is survived by two siblings, Darlene (Ted) Wynn and Omer (Zona) Galle, sister in law Edna Galle, and many nieces and nephews whom she and Lorraine had always doted on.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate Lillian’s life at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, February 28th, at Petersen Funeral Home Chapel. Memorials are suggested to The Mennonite Library and Archives at Bethel College and may be sent in care of Petersen Funeral Home.