Edna Mae (Heath) Rymph, 93, of Newton, Kansas, passed away on September 10, 2022, at Paramount Community Living and Rehab in Newton, Kansas.
Visitation will be at 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, September 13, 2022, at Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N. Main, Newton, and will be open prior to the funeral service at the church.
Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 14, 2022, at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, 1200 Boyd, Newton, with The Rev. Donna Voteau officiating. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery, 1100 E. 1st Street, Newton. Arrangements are by Petersen Family Funeral Services. The family has stipulated that masks will be required (except for preschool children) at both the visitation and the funeral.
Edna Mae (Heath) Rymph was born on November 5, 1928, outside of Aurora, Lawrence County, Missouri. She was the sixth child of Cornelius (“Neal H.”) and Ethel Catherine (Bradley) Heath. As a child, she was “river baptized” by the pastor of the Methodist Protestant Church in Aurora. After graduating from Aurora High School in 1946, she became the first of her family to attend college, when she was offered a scholarship and work grant to study at National College for Christian Workers in Kansas City, Missouri. She received her B.A. in Christian Education in 1950. After graduating, she worked as the first Conference Director of Children’s Work for the Central Kansas Conference of the Methodist Church and traveled to work with Methodist congregations through central and western Kansas.
Through her work with the Central Kansas Conference, she met a young man, who was studying to be a Methodist pastor in the conference. She married that man, Albert James Rymph, on September 28, 1952, in Aurora. After marrying Pastor Rymph, Mrs. Rymph resigned her paid church-work position and began her unpaid “career” as a pastor’s wife. Together, Pastor and Mrs. Rymph had and raised four children — son Bradley Budd, daughter Carol Ann, daughter Karen Jeannine, and son Alan DeWayne. With her husband and children, the family lived in multiple Kansas communities — Copeland, Clay Center, Wichita, Kingman, Russell, El Dorado, Beloit, Dodge City, and Ulysses.
While living in Russell, Mrs. Rymph worked as a part-time librarian at the Russell Public Library. In 1981 and 1982, while living in Beloit, Mrs. Rymph studied and became a Licensed Practical Nurse. After passing the Kansas state board exams at age 52, she worked in the Long Term Care Unit of the Beloit Hospital until she resigned in anticipation of her husband being assigned to a church elsewhere in Kansas. After her husband retired from the ministry in 1989, Pastor and Mrs. Rymph moved to the Friendly Acres (later renamed Asbury Park, and now Paramount) Retirement Community in Newton, where they each lived until their deaths. As the couple aged, Ms. Rymph was able to use her skills learned as an LPN to help manage the medicines and care for her husband. Pastor Rymph died at Asbury Park on February 16, 2019.
Mrs. Rymph is preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and four sisters and one brother — Mary Eleanor Heath, Charles Edward Heath, Wilma Jenette Heath, Frances Pauline (Heath) Bennett, and Rama June (Heath) Robertson. She is survived by her children, Bradley Budd Rymph (José Verzosa Baquiran) of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; Carol Ann Rymph Carlson (James Wayne Carlson) of Bellevue, Nebraska; Karen Jeannine Rymph Smarsh (Thomas G. Smarsh) of Colwich, Kansas; and Alan DeWayne Rymph (Lisa Kay Jackson Rymph) of Wichita; ten grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren, with one more on the way.
Memorial donations may be given to Trinity Heights United Methodist Church, Newton, and the Hospice Care Foundation of Good Shepherd Hospice, in care of Petersen Funeral Home.