Cover photo for Mary West's Obituary
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1949 Mary 2021

Mary West

July 16, 1949 — October 15, 2021

On October 15, 2021, Mary Irene West passed peacefully at Newton Presbyterian Manor at approximately 7:00 am. She was 72 years old.

Mary Irene Topping was born on July 16, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri. She travelled home with her parents Richard Topping and Genevieve Palmer, to be reared with her brother, John Topping, on their family farm in Lawrence, Kansas. It was there that she learned to drive a truck to and from the fields at 14, received a ’66 Mustang for her high school graduation, and was unknowingly fed her favorite cow, Pesky.

At 20, Mary married her best friend and adversary, Michael T. West. They moved to Illinois where Mary bore their only child, Michele, and the family soon packed up and moved to Indiana for 5 years. Missing home and family, they then returned to Kansas and settled in Augusta, Kansas.

Mary’s favorite and primary role was caretaker. Of everyone. First and foremost, she was a wife and mother to Mike and Michele, respectively. When Michele grew and became more involved in school, Mary took a brief job as a paraprofessional in Augusta Public Schools and later spent 20 years as a preschool teacher at First Baptist Pre-School in Augusta. After Michele had left for college, she and Mike relocated to McPherson, Kansas where she enjoyed retirement and continued her caretaking duties, seeing her mother and Mike’s father safely to their eternal rest.

When Mike fell ill, they moved one last time to live with Michele and her family in Newton, Kansas, where she has lived for the past ten years. Mary and Mike spent invaluable time at their lake house in Council Grove, Kansas, and she was an integral part of her grandchildren’s life as a multigenerational family living under one roof.

Mary is preceded in death by her parents, Dick and Jenny Topping, and her dear husband, Mike, just shy of their 50th wedding anniversary.

She is celebrated today by her brother, John, her daughter and son-in-law, Michele and Corey Janssens, and her beautiful grandchildren, Julian and Ellie Marshall.

Godspeed Mary, Mom, and Nana. Tell Minnie, Molly, Hildy, Harley, Gunny, Mei-Li, and Heine hi for us.

All are welcome to join us in remembering Mary graveside on October 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm, Memorial Park Cemetery, 1517 East 15th, Lawrence, Kansas. Reception following at the home of Karon and John Stevens.

Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Southern Poverty Law Center on-line at or by check to the family directly or through Broadway Colonial Funeral Home in Newton, Kansas.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mary West, please visit our flower store.


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