Meet Our Residents: Ione Toevs
Bethel Hospital in Newton was where Brad and Clara Conner became the proud parents of Ione Jean Conner on September 3, 1927. Her father worked for the railroad and both he and Clara later in life became residents of Kansas Christian Home, living on campus and transitioning to the healthcare center.
Ione shared the interesting information that upon her father’s death the mortuary gifted Clara a small evergreen that has become the huge tree outside the Campus Home Care Office. It was designated as “Brad’s tree.”
Ione’s relationship with Horace Toevs began when she was a sophomore and Horace was a senior both attending Newton High School. Upon his graduation in 1943 Horace enlisted in the US Navy and, although he completed pilot training, he chose to serve on the “Wingéd Arrow”—a troop transport ship. Through regular mail exchanges Ione and Horace nurtured their connection with one another.
Although Ione was prepared to go to California to meet Horace upon his arrival and discharge in 1946, her mother would not consent to the trip; she had to wait to reunite with Horace when he returned to Newton. Both pursued work experiences while anticipating their marriage in November 1950. However, due to the influx of returning service men and women suitable housing was not plentiful.
Fortunately for them, they eventually settled into their first house that Horace’s uncle, Irvin Toevs, had constructed for them. They became parents of two daughters: Denise, an educator/principal of a small K-12 school in Montana, and Connie, who works in the Dallas Cowboys organization. Each daughter has parented two daughters who, in turn, have blessed the Toevs with two great-granddaughters and two great-grandsons.
Throughout Ione’s home are numerous pictorial and framed testimonials of the many accomplishments and travels that she and Horace had experienced in their life together.
Horace passed to life in the Spirit in 2016. No doubt, over the years and challenging times, the fact that Ione and Horace as well as their parents were supported and strengthened by their family, friends and faith community at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) here in Newton.
A visit with Ione Toevs reveals someone who holds out her gratitude for what was and her quiet hopes for what’s to come.