Iola loses biggest ‘cheerleader’

Register file photo
Donna Talkington, shown here at Thrive Allen County’s annual meeting last November with former Moran Manor Administrator Jennifer Fox, died Saturday morning. She was 77.

Donna Talkington, a cheerleader for everything Iola, died Saturday morning after several years of illness.
Talkington, 77, was the wife of former state senator Robert V. Talkington.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church in Iola. Visitation will be from 7 to
9 p.m. Tuesday at Waugh -Yokum & Friskel Memorial Chapels in Iola.
She was involved in many local, regional and state boards and organizations.
She was a ham on the stage, stealing the show as Miss Hannigan in “Annie” and as the queen in “Once Upon A Mattress,” in Iola Community Theatre productions.
She served many roles in her service to First Presbyterian Church, including that as an elder, Sunday school teacher, children’s choir director and a member of its bell choir. She was given the church’s “Gift of Women” award in 2008.
She served as chairman of the boards of Allen County Hospital, Iola Public Library, Allen County Community College Endowment Association and the Bowlus Fine Arts Commission. She also served on the boards of Friends of the Bowlus, United Fund, Republican Women, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Jaycee Jaynes and Iola Tourism.
She was a charter member of the board of the REACH Healthcare Foundation of Kansas City.
Because of her community involvement, Talkington was the inspiration for the “Donna Award” by Thrive Allen County in 2008, established to recognize other people’s dedication to their hometowns.
Talkington served in many capacities with Chapter L, P.E.O., including as its president. The club will present a service at her funeral.
She was a strong advocate for Iola schools, serving on an advisory committee for a new high school. She was a P.T.A. member for 21 consecutive years, a room mother 10 times, a substitute teacher and as a chaperone for many events. She also served as a judge for forensics competitions and for high school plays.
She was born Oct. 16, 1931, in Halstead to Dr. Lyle Schmaus and his wife, Leora. The family moved to Iola in 1933.
She studied pre-nursing at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, from 1949 to 1952. It was at KU that she met her husband of 58 years, Bob, who survives at the home and continues to practice law.
They have three daughters, Jill and Dave McCaskill, Cypress, Texas, Jacki and Bob Chase, Iola, Lisa and John Dreasher, Hutchinson; two sons, Jim and Staci Talkington, Iola, Tom and Sherlyn Talkington, Prairie Village; and 11 grandchildren.
Preceding her in death were two children, Jeanne Ann and Donald Patrick, and two brothers, Jim and Dr. John Schmaus.
Memorials may be made to Friends of the Bowlus, First Presbyterian Church and Iola Public Library and left with the funeral home, which is in charge of the arrangements.