Eva Belle GerstenbergerEva Belle Gerstenberger  (photo by reporter Diane Chrislip)

Eudora News and Information –

Today Eudora is a bustling town of over 6,000 residents that sprawls south past K-10. There are housing developments on the east and west edges of Eudora that were farmland just a few years ago. The town has a great education system, a recreation center that is buzzing with activity and a swimming pool with all the amenities.

I’ve lived in Eudora for over 35 years, and it’s a much different, larger town than when I first moved here. But I’ve often wondered what it was like 50 or 100 years ago. I decided to visit with some long-time Eudora residents who now reside at Medicalodges. I chatted with two women in their early 90’s, Eva Bell Gerstenberger and Dessie Williams, as well as 75-year-old Marvin Schehrer.

Eva Bell and Marvin were both born and raised in Eudora while Dessie moved here as a young married woman in 1951. Eva Belle and Dessie are widows while Marvin has always been single. They were each able to provide a glimpse of Eudora in days gone by.

Eva Belle’s early life was spent in Weaver Bottoms, a tiny community just a mile east and a mile north of Eudora. Flooding has long since wiped out the community. Even though Eva Belle’s home was in Weaver Bottoms, her family was very involved in the Eudora community and she attended EHS in her teen years.

She remembers Eudora as being a wonderful place to grow up. “It was clean and safe, and people kept their places up,” recalled Mrs. Gerstenberger. “People always helped each other out. My dad would help anyone who needed it.”

While businesses often struggle to keep going in downtown Eudora today, when she was young there were a variety of stores, restaurants, businesses and lots of activity. Families gathered downtown on Saturdays to buys supplies and to socialize.

“Going to town was a big deal to us country kids,” said Eva Belle. “Daddy gave us kids each a dime to spend when we’d go to town.”

What did a dime buy back in the 1920’s? “We could buy several things with ten cents, and we spent it all on junk food—candy, ice cream and soda,” laughed Eva Belle.

A lot of her family’s life revolved around events at the United Methodist Church, a church that is still active today. She remembers potluck dinners and fun times with friends at church.

“Eudora was a wonderful place to live,” Eva Belle reiterated. “Life is what you make out of it,” she added. “We tried to make the best of everything.”

Marvin Schehrer, born in 1938, grew up on a farm south of Eudora. He remembers simpler times when kids spent more time outdoors. For fun, he and his siblings would ride horses, swim in the creek, and hunt squirrels and rabbits. When asked if his family ate the game he hunted, he assured me that his dad cleaned them and his mom cooked everything he brought home. Occasionally he’d get to go to a movie at the theater in Eudora (Yes, Eudora did have a theater long ago!), which he thinks cost about a quarter to get in. That’s a far cry from the ten dollars or more it costs now.

Marvin’s family attended Holy Family Catholic Church when it met in the beautiful stone building that still stands on Church St.  Holy Family is now located on Birch St., and a brand new building is in the works.

As it was for Mrs. Gerstenburger, going into town was a highlight for Marvin, and he looked forward to the Saturday trips when he could see his friends and have some fun.

“My folks gave me a quarter every Saturday and I’d spend it on ice cream,” Marvin remembered with a laugh. (Apparently kids have always loved junk food!)

What does Mr. Schehrer think is the biggest difference in Eudora now than when he was a kid in the 1940’s? “Everybody knew everybody back then,” he said.

Dessie Williams came on the Eudora scene a bit later. She and her husband Clint moved to Eudora in 1951 and later built a house at 1120 Elm.

“It seemed like we were on the very edge of town because Highway 10 hadn’t gone in yet and there wasn’t much development to the south,” recalled Dessie.

Like the others, Dessie remembers a time when Eudora’s downtown was more bustling. There were two grocery stores in the 1960’s, one owned by Howard Wilson and the other by his cousin Glen Wilson. She worked at one of them, and enjoyed seeing many people local people each day. People tended to do all their grocery shopping right in Eudora in those days.

She thinks that as Eudora has grown it’s lost a little of the friendliness that she enjoyed so much. She said that years ago people tended to be more social, enjoying coffee or meals together regularly.

“We didn’t have much TV back then,” said Mrs. Williams. “People did more together instead of staying home and watching TV. People were more neighborly.”

She and her husband raised two boys in Eudora, and she thinks it was a great place to raise kids. All the neighborhood kids played in the Williams’ yard because they had a basketball goal. Some of the neighbors wondered how she could stand the sound of basketballs bouncing all day long, but she said she enjoyed all the kids and their noise, and she always knew where her boys were!

Dessie and her family were very involved in the Southern Baptist Church (now Eudora Baptist). She taught Sunday School for over 62 years, first to young married women and then to couples. Like Eva Belle’s and Marvin’s families, church played an important role in the Williams’ life.

I appreciate these three seniors giving us a little taste of life in Eudora’s history. While I’m grateful for all the things Eudora has to offer now, I would love to see a vibrant downtown that not only provides shopping opportunities but a place to hobnob with friends and neighbors. My hope is that Eudora will continue to attract business,`and that the community will support them so that even in these modern times we can be a bit more like “old Eudora.”



Delores Stiffler (right) along with her mother Doris.

Eudora News and

Medicalodges Eudora’s Director of Nursing, Delores Stiffler is retiring after having served the facility for 31 years.

Stiffler began her employment at Eudora Nursing Center January 13, 1981.  She started in the laundry department part time and also worked part time in the dietary department while in Nursing school.  She earned her BSN in 1985 at which time she began her nursing career at ENC.

Prior to working at ENC,  Stiffler worked at Hallmark in Lawrence as a quality checker for several years.  Delores was also a Certified Nursing Aide instructor for many years and several former and current employees began their nursing careers under her guidance and tutelage.  There are still two nurses at Medicalodges Eudora who were C.N.A students in Delores classes; Ashley Howton and Paula Bradley.

Stiffler is obviously a strong leader and mentor as her daughter, Michelle, is also an RN and is beginning the ARNP program.  She became the Director of Nursing at ENC in 2005.

Delores is a leader in the ongoing journey of resident centered care and culture change and is a staunch advocate for the residents at Medicalodges Eudora.  After her retirement, she plans to start a weekly book club with the residents at the Lodge so we will still have the pleasure of seeing her beautiful smile.

Delores and her husband Royce are long time Eudora residents.

To honor Sitffler for her many years of service, Medicalodges Eudora is holding their Spring Open House and a Retirement Party this Saturday, March 24th from 1-3pm at the facility. Those wanting to tour the facility and wish Sitffler well are invited to attend.


Medicalodges Eudora Administrator Donna Fox

Eudora News and

Medicalodges Eudora has been recognized as a 2011 recipient of the Bronze – Commitment to Quality, National Quality Award for its outstanding performance in the health care profession.  The award, presented by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), highlights facilities across the nation that have demonstrated their intention to pursue a rigorous quality improvement system.

“This award signifies a great commitment to quality care and an important step in raising the standards of sustainable, person-centered care and services,” says former Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL.  “We congratulate Medicalodges Eudora on their achievement.”

The award was presented to Medicalodges Eudora during the AHCA/NCAL’s 62nd Annual Convention and Exposition, September 18-21, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV.

Medicalodges, Inc. Regional Vice President Kathy Lantz states, “We are so very proud of each and every staff member of Medicalodges Eudora. Their commitment to the delivery of quality care for our residents makes it an honor and pleasure to be affiliated with such a wonderful group of people.”

Medicalodges Eudora is located at 1415 Maple, Eudora, KS 66025.


Eudora News and

Here’s a bonus for our late night and early morning readers.

Tomorrow on St. Patrick’s Day, Medicalodges Eudora will be hosting a Blarney Breakfast from 6:00AM to 10AM at their facility located at 1415 Maple St. in Eudora.

The breakfast will feature all you can eat pancakes, sausages and beverages o’plenty. The best part: It’s FREE!

Medicalodges will also have an open house going on which will include exhibits and door prizes.

Join Medicalodges as they salute the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day morning and feed you on your way to work or, more inportantly, your spot to watch all the NCAA Tournament action.


2010 Citizen of the Year Donna Freeland

Eudora News and

Donna Freeland has been named 2010 Citizen of the Year by the Eudora Chamber of Commerce. Freeland runs the Eudora Ministerial Alliance Food Pantry located at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Eudora.

“I’m very shocked.  It was a big surprise”  Freeland said.

Freeland, a 34 year resident of the city, has run the food pantry for four years.

The food pantry helps those that need without requiring miles of paperwork to obtain the assistance.  “Anyone who needs food can come and get it.” Freeland said.  The food pantry accepts donations of food or money and is always looking for volunteers to assist. If you are able to help out the pantry, you can contact Freeland at 542-3483.

Medicalodges Eudora

The Chamber of Commerce named Medicalodges Eudora as the 2010 Business of the Year.

Medicalodges Eudora, located  at 1415 Maple St., offers a continuum of health care options which include in-home services, independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing home care, rehabilitation, specialized care, outpatient therapies, adult day care, as well as services and living assistance to those with developmental disabilities.

Medicalodges Eudora was just named by U.S. News as one of America’s Best Nursing Homes. They received a five star rating from the news service.  Only 54 nursing homes in the state of Kansas received this honor.

Medicalodges Eudora is also one of the fine sponsors of