Turi Elizabeth Rogers Melichar (76), a beloved woman most often remembered for her kind smile and infectious laugh, passed away Monday, February 6th, 2023 in Caldwell, Kansas ending a 14 year courageous battle with Alzheimer’s.
Turi was born July 26th, 1946 in Holton, Kansas and was the oldest daughter of Lyle Rogers and Alta Mae Justis Rogers. She was the second born of 8 siblings. When her father unexpectedly passed and while still a child herself, Turi took over many household responsibilities including caring for her younger siblings as her mother returned to work. Her siblings give credit to Turi for doing her best to keep the family together during this difficult time and the years that followed. Turi had a special bond with each of her siblings and was so proud to be their “sister friend”.
Turi graduated from Fairview High School in Fairview, KS in 1964. She continued her education at the Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia, KS, receiving a teaching degree in physical education and later a degree in elementary education. Turi earned her master’s in education from Southwestern College in Winfield, KS.
While attending a dance in college with her older brother, Kent, she caught the eye of Albert Melichar and he asked her to dance. A few years later when they began dating Al will tell you when Turi asked to be “his girl” all he could think was I want you to be “my wife”. Al and Turi were united in marriage on July 5, 1968 in Fairview, KS and were wed for 54 years. They had two children, daughter Amy Lee and son Tad Melo.
Turi began her teaching career in Horton, KS while Al completed basic training with the United States Army. They then moved to Anthony, KS where both continued teaching. Al and Turi eventually made the decision to return to the family farm in Caldwell, KS to focus on farming. Following the birth of their children, Turi left the classroom to remain home with them while also supporting Al on the farm learning to drive tractor, hauling loads of wheat to the elevator, cooking and taking countless meals to the fields during harvest and always praying for rain.
Turi was a devoted mom to Amy and Tad and spent many hours driving to and from their varied activities, attending all volleyball, basketball and football games and would often work as the official score keeper just so she could have the “best seat in the house” to cheer them on. One of her most cherished moments was seeing her son Tad play football for the K-State Wildcats where he proudly wore the #57. This would eventually become a special “sign” from Tad following his passing that brought Al and Turi peace anytime they saw it. Amy would tell you that for not one moment of their lives did they ever wonder if they were loved and adored because they knew they were. Turi made sure of it.
Turi would eventually return to the classroom when her children began school and taught for 32 years at Caldwell Elementary School before her retirement and undoubtedly touched many lives. She was a devout Christian and shared her faith and love for Jesus spending much of her life teaching Sunday School, volunteering for Vacation Bible Camp and serving for 18 years as a youth group leader.
Turi loved being a mom but would no doubt tell you her favorite role was that of “MaMa” to her grandchildren Isabella (Isa Bear) and Gianni (G). She read aloud countless books, loved sleep-overs, took many walks to the playground and shared lots of special moments together during her time with them.
Turi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 and mourned the death of son, Tad, in 2010. However, rather than letting this be the end of her story she and Al chose to make it a new beginning. They began traveling the United States for several years finding places to explore and returning to those that held special meaning until Al knew it was time to keep Turi closer to home. He remained her faithful caregiver, husband and best friend until she took her final breath. Turi’s life and love story was one for the ages and those of us who were lucky to be a part of it or simply a witness can clearly see Alzheimer’s didn’t win…LOVE did!
Turi is survived by her husband of 54 years Al Melichar of Caldwell, Kansas; daughter Amy (Santo) Scavuzzo of Overland Park, Kansas; grandchildren Isabella Turi and Gianni Santo; siblings Lyla Edelman, Brad (Marie) Rogers, Joyce Meyer, Nila (David) Swett and Dal (Diane) Wenger
She was preceded in death by her son Tad Melo; parents Lyle Rogers and Alta Mae Rogers Wenger Tomson; siblings Kent Rogers and Butch Rogers; in-laws Melo and Helen Melichar; and many other beloved family and friends.
Memorial services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 18, 2023 at the Caldwell Presbyterian Church with Pastor Shane Spangler officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Sunflower Cottage or to the Alzheimer's Association and sent in care of the mortuary.