Theresa (Kandt) Lorson, 93, of rural Hope, died Wednesday, March 8 at Via Christi, Manhattan surrounded by family. She was born on the family farm in the Shady Brook Community, rural Herington, Kansas to Heinrich Victor Edward and Sophia (Stroda) Kandt. She attended the Union District 18 country school and graduated from Woodbine High School where she excelled in track, specialized in speech and journalism, and graduated as salutatorian, class of 1947. After graduation, she worked for six months as a maid in the Junction City Hospital, followed by working two years in payroll and merchandise accounting at United Utilities in Abilene.
On Oct. 15, 1949, she was united in marriage to Paul Lorson at St. John Catholic Church in Herington. He preceded her in death June 13, 2002. After marriage, they lived their entire lives on their farm near Hope. They were inseparable and loved to dance, fish, hunt and travel together. They also worked side by side in almost everything including fixing fences, planting, and harvesting crops, working with the sheep before switching to cattle. Paul was an electrician and together they owned and operated Lorson Electric where, for many years, they also manufactured Handy-Dandy welders and shipped them throughout the U.S. Manufacturing began in their farm shop where they worked every chance between farming duties and late into the night building the welders after putting the kids to bed. After moving the shop into Hope and hiring more help, she served only as the secretary and treasurer for the electric and welder business. They also raised registered black German Shepherd dogs for many years, shipping them all over the U.S., many for placement in sheriff and police departments. Theresa was a Tupperware dealer for five years, during which she was once named ‘Dealer of the Year.’ She drove a 45-passenger school bus for Hope Rural Vista School District 481 for 18 years, owned and operated the Hope Laundromat for 19 years and was a National Weather Service observer for 20 years. Lastly, from July 1991 thru December 2020, she was an assistant at the Carlson-Becker Funeral Home in Hope.
In December 1953, she was chosen to represent Hope on Bob Hope’s first television “Christmas Special” in Hollywood, California, along with four other young ladies from towns named Hope in other states. With all expenses paid by the JELLO company, Theresa, Paul, and three-month old infant, flew to Hollywood for a week to sightsee, have dinner with Bob Hope and his wife, Dolores, and prepare for attending the show, returning home in time for Christmas. At the time, the television dealer owned the only TV in Hope, Kansas, so anyone who wanted to watch the program traveled to friends’ and relatives’ homes elsewhere who had television sets.
Theresa was an active member of St. Philip Catholic Church, Altar Society, National Council of Catholic Women, Young Farm Wives and Hope Community Historical Association. She was one of the historians for St. Phillip Catholic Church and sang in the choir. In 1986, she co-compiled the more than 200-page book on the history of Hope entitled “A Century of Hope”. She also enjoyed various writing styles and opportunities ranging from creating readings presented by her children at school contests to articles for local newspapers. Through it all, Theresa’s family always came first.
Survivors are three sons, Phillip Lorson, Hope; Eric Lorson, Salina; Barry Lorson, Hope; five daughters, Rita (Joseph) Sutcliffe, Firestone, Colorado; Sheila (Lanny) Mai, Wichita; Denise (Rex) Sageser, Wichita; Diana (Dennis) Okruhlik, Topeka; Maria (Clyde) Harmon, Lenexa; two brothers, Keith (Elsie) Kandt, Lindsborg; Robert (Alicia) Kandt, Wichita; sister-in-law, Joan Kandt, Wichita; twenty grandchildren, thirty-one great grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews. Also preceding her in death were her parents, daughter-in-law, Debra, three brothers, Edward, Elmer and Kenneth Kandt, sisters, Berneice DeWitt and Arlene McWhirter, brothers-in-law, Dennis DeWitt and Eugene McWhirter, and sister-in-law, Alo Jean Kandt.
Following cremation, a rosary will take place at 9:45 a.m., Wednesday March 15 at St. Philip Catholic Church. Hope and Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 10:30 a.m., with Fr. George Chalbhagam and Fr. Peter O’Donnell officiating. Burial will be in St. Philip Cemetery, Hope.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Philip Cemetery, St Philip Catholic Church, Catholic Charities or donor’s choice.
Carlson-Geisendorf Funeral Home in Salina, Kansas is handling the arrangements.
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