Cover photo for Lorna Tovrea's Obituary
Lorna Tovrea Profile Photo
1938 Lorna 2017

Lorna Tovrea

January 11, 1938 — December 19, 2017

Lorna Gayle Gotchall Tovrea was born in Lebanon, Nebraska on January 11th, 1938, the third child of Alferd Vernon & Edna Frankie (Mays) Gotchall, the granddaughter of Albertus and Anna (Kincaid) Gotchall and Thomas & Minnie (Landis) Mays.  She moved with her family to Goodland, Kansas in 1941, where she attended public school, graduating in 1955.  While in high school, she enjoyed roller skating, drama, Kayettes, Methodist Youth Fellowship and all school social activities.  She was valedictorian of her class.

She was united in marriage to Leonard Barton Tovrea of Brewster, Kansas, on August 14th, 1955 in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Goodland.  They move to Manhattan, Kansas, where they both attended Kansas State College.  Lorna majored in English and Secondary Education but dropped out of school after the birth of their first son Gaylen Leon.

A year later they moved to San Antonio, Texas for Leonard to take pre-flight training for the United States Air Force; three months later they were transferred to Webb Air Force Base (AFB) in Big Spring, Texas for pilot training, after which Leonard was selected to remain as an instructor pilot.  Their second son Gregory Todd was born at Webb AFB hospital.  In Big Spring, Lorna began her interest in the Protestant Women of the chapel (serving as the President); began teaching Sunday School; sang with her husband in the chapel choir and was active in the Officers Wives Club.  She also starred in a community theater production of The Gazebo.

From Texas Lorna moved with her family to Bentwaters England where the family lived for almost two years.  There she was active in the chapel – teaching Sunday School, singing in the choir and attending Protestant Women of the Chapel activities.  She loved to go “antiquing,” to attend auctions and travel.  During their tour in Europe, she and Leonard traveled to Germany (where she learned to ski), Holland, Belgium, Denmark, France and Scotland.  Lorna fell in love with London and the wonderful English train system.

After the death of her husband in May 1966, Lorna returned to Goodland with her sons to await the birth of her third son.  Gavin Barton was born in Colby Kansas.

The family moved to Colorado Springs in 1968, where Lorna attended and graduated from Blair Business College with a degree in Advanced Accounting.  She married Air Force Sgt. Gerald Causley of Ontario, Canada in 1969; the marriage was later annulled.

Lorna preferred staying at home to be with her children instead of working outside the home, though through the years in Colorado she did work at various times for Gabel Advertising, CT Management Company, and as Protestant Christian Education Coordinator at the Peterson AFB chapel.  She was instrumental in forming and directing the Single People Living it Through (SPILIT) program at the chapel, as well as singing in the choir and attending Protestant Women of the Chapel.

Other hobbies she enjoyed in Colorado included dancing; singing with the ENTertainers (the Ent AFB and Peterson AFB Officers’ Wives Club singing group); and singing with the community show choir, the SongSpinners.

She was in drama productions with the Fort Carson Players including a starring role in Carousel, parts in Camelot and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Lorna married Jerry Snyder in Colorado Springs in 1973; the marriage ended in divorce in 1977.

She raised her sons while in Colorado, and she gloried in their achievements, attended their many plays, school activities and football games.  She cared for her mother during a period of failing health and was foster mother to great-nephew Travis Gotchall for a year and a half.

She returned to live in Goodland in 1989. Activities in Goodland included District President of the United Methodist Women, Certified UMC Lay Speaker, Church Librarian, serving on the Board of Trustees of the church, teaching Sunday School, Athena Club, and NW Kansas Singles dances.  Her life-long love of music and theater led to her becoming a member of the Carnegie Arts Council participating in the productions of Lovers and A Thurber Carnival.  Other hobbies included traveling, counted cross stitching, and jigsaw puzzles.

In Goodland, her love of writing bore fruit with the establishment of her newspaper column, “I Don’t Know About You, but…” which began in July 1995 and continued weekly for 10 years.

In 1996, Lorna was called to full-time Christian service and began a five-year Course of Study for ministry within the United Methodist Church.  She completed her studies on August 1st, 2002.  Her first and only appointment was to Conway Springs United Methodist Church where she was assigned from July 1997 to July 2010.  While in Conway Springs she attended the Chamber of Commerce and served as President of the Inter-Church Council.

In 2010 Lorna retired from the ministry and moved to Fort Walton Beach, Florida where her son Gavin, and family had settled.  While there, she joined a local women’s social group, was active in the Shalimar United Methodist Church and where she occasionally assisted the pastoral staff.  Lorna completed her life and faith journey at UAB hospital in Birmingham, Alabama on December 19th, 2017.

She is survived by her sons their and wives, Gaylen “GT” and Jeanie of Longmont, Colorado; Gregory Todd and Jennifer of Japan and Findlay, Ohio; Gavin Barton and Laurel of Shalimar, Florida; also seven grandchildren, Lauren (and husband Robby Busick), John (and wife Jessica), Christopher, Bryant, Honour, Alexa, and Faith; and five great-grandchildren, Evan, Drew, Ella, Von, and Rex.

Charitable donations may be made to:

United Methodist Commission on Relief
and may be left at the services or mailed to Koons-Russell Funeral Home, 211 N. Main Ave., Goodland KS 67735

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