Hattie Lee Weber, 85, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 surrounded by her family. Born on August 23, 1931, in the Kearney area, she was named for her aunt, Hattie Hall. Her parents, Frank and Pauline Reynolds, couldn’t have known how perfectly the name would fit her; Hattie means “home leader” or “one who rules the home”. Throughout her life, she enjoyed operating a business, being involved in her community and church, traveling, and participating in charitable organizations, but her greatest joy was being at home with her family, friends and animals.
In 1938, at age 7, she met the man who would eventually establish that home with her. Rich Weber was visiting his grandparents near the farm where Hattie lived. While both were exploring the nearby countryside, they crossed paths on a bridge. Rich challenged Hattie to a foot race, which she quickly won. It was the last time he challenged her to something he wasn’t positive he could win, until he proposed in 1949. Luckily for both of them (especially Rich) his high school sweetheart said yes. They were married at the First Christian Church in Kearney on November 5, 1950.
After Rich completed his service in the United States Navy, he and Hattie returned to their beloved hometown, where they started a family and opened a real estate and insurance business. As a businesswoman, Hattie was organized, efficient and tireless. She was also thoughtful and caring; she loved welcoming new residents to Kearney, and helping them feel at home. During her lifetime, she mailed thousands of greeting cards, acknowledging birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings and other special life events. She was also a prolific letter writer. Although Rich was the more visible partner in the community, Hattie was the heart of Weber Real Estate.
Hattie was a member of the First Christian Church where she was appointed as its first female elder, an honor that she was deeply proud of. Rich was active in the Ararat Shrine in Kansas City, and in 1989 he was elected Potentate of that organization. He and “Lady Hattie” formed many lifelong friendships in the Shrine. Along with Rich, she was heavily involved in the planning, promoting and overseeing Kearney’s annual Jesse James Days.
Hattie was a world class “piddler”. Never able to sit still, she piddled around outside: digging in the dirt, planting flowers, and filling her birdfeeders. She also loved to piddle in her house: refinishing furniture, making scrapbooks and photo albums for her family, baking sweet treats and decorating for every holiday. She loved her Lord, her family, friends and community, animals, flowers, big band music, dancing, children, the elderly, Pepsi Cola and the color pink.
With the birth of two daughters, Renee and Leesa, Hattie found her passion. She delighted in being a mother, and as the girls grew up and made friends, she became a “second mom” to many of them. She was loving, selfless, nurturing, encouraging, and full of fun. The Webers moved to the country in 1973, on a 13-acre tract of land with a pond. Slumber parties were a common weekend occurrence, and while teenage girls giggled and feasted on Hattie’s signature brownies, the radiant lady who was “everyone’s mom” patiently, and without complaint, laundered piles of wet bathing suits and beach towels. She never refused a request for one of the girls’ friends to spend the night. Or a weekend. Or a month.
Years later, she would become “everyone’s Memaw”. With the addition of three grandsons, Tommy, Jonathan and Thomas, Hattie and Rich once again opened their home to large groups of young people. Mostly boys. Hungry boys. Hattie cooked huge pots of spaghetti, pounds of bacon, dozens of biscuits and vats of gravy for “her boys”. She baked cakes, cookies and cupcakes, kept the fridge full of soft drinks, the cabinets full of snacks, and loved those boys (and girls) as her own. And they loved her back. Her joy was watching these young people grow up and start their own families.
After her death last week, community members, friends, and many of “her kids” shared their memories of Hattie. A few recurring comments about her were “beautiful inside and out”, “kind”, “respected” “gracious”, “adored”, “amazing woman” and “a sweet lady”. Always humble, Hattie would blush if she had heard these descriptions. If asked, she would most likely say, “I just always tried to do the right thing.” That’s exactly what she did; Hattie Weber lived a full, successful and happy life by always doing the right thing. And that was enough for her. And more than enough for the rest of us.
She is survived by daughters, Leesa Weber Saunders and Renee Lawhun (Danny); grandsons, Tommy Saunders (Kacie), Jonathan Lawhun (Courtney), and Thomas Lawhun (Leslie); great grandchildren, Parker and Emerson Lawhun and former son-in-law, Thomas Saunders.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Rich, and her “adopted” brother, Herman Branstetter (Wanda).
Services will be held at the First Christian Church, 2151 South Jefferson, Kearney, Missouri. Visitation from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 29, 2017 and the funeral service Friday, June 30, 2017 at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Kearney Elementary Playground Fund. Checks may be made to Kearney Elementary School and mailed to P.O. Box 408, Kearney MO 64060
If you are so inclined, please wear a splash of pink to her services.
Arrangements are under the care of Fry-Bross & Spidle Funeral Home, Kearney.
Our Sincere Condolences
We are so sorry for your loss.
Richard and Tere Taegel
Renee: Our thoughts and prayers are with you and the entire family as you have had to say goodbye to your dear mother this week. We are so sorry for your loss. May all those wonderful memories give you comfort in the days ahead.
Love to you, Tammy and Rickie
Hattie was a “Special Lady” always with a smile and hello.
We bought our home 35 yrs ago in the same Country subdivision the Weber’s lived in at the time. We recall the big Shriner picnic/ Barb-B-Q we were invited to out in the country East of Kearney. Our sympathy to all the family.
Bob & Marlo Howard