Mary Katherine Messamore, second child of Kenneth Warren and Joan Rose (Renner) Messamore, was born on May 16, 1947 in Colby, Kansas. Mary attended school in Colby, graduating in 1965.
Starting at the age of 13 Mary worked at many different jobs. She was a housekeeper for a couple of families, cooked meals for another, and was a bookkeeper for her family’s incorporation and for D.E.Sroufe Oil. Mary attended Sydney’s Hairdressing College in Hutchinson, Kansas, graduating in 1968, then started her career in Garden City before opening her own salon in Colby after a couple years.
On February 19, 1979, she went to work part-time for the Colby Police Department as a communications officer. On April 1 of that year, she went full time as she felt she had really found her calling, and began only working at her beauty shop part time. Mary continued working at the Police Department, working up to Chief Communications Officer. She also worked as the 9-1-1 Director for Thomas County. She and Scot Ekberg addressed Thomas County, getting it ready for Enhanced 9-1-1. Mary continued working for Colby until 1994 when she accepted a position with Butler County Kansas to establish Enhanced 9-1-1 for them.
In 1996 Mary moved back to Northwest Kansas and went to work for Sherman County where she was hired to consolidate their Enhanced 9-1-1. She stayed in Sherman County until 2005. When she worked in Goodland, Mary was also appointed Emergency Management Director for Sherman County. She and her dad were the first Father-daughter certified managers (CEM) in the state of Kansas.
She then took a position in Hutchinson where she became the Director of Hutchinson-Reno County Communications Center (HRCEC). She retired from Hutchinson in 2011. She moved to Marion after retirement to be close to her greatest accomplishment: Katie J. Messamore Rahe as well as to be near her son-in-law Rob Rahe, and her three grandchildren Shayla Michelle, Justin Tyler, and Jarred Lee Rahe.
Besides her family, Mary had a great love for the communications organization that she belonged to for over 40 years. She joined the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) in 1979. She served as chair for all offices of the Kansas Chapter except secretary. She then served as the chapter’s Executive Council Representative for over 10 years. She was privileged to be named a Life Member to APCO International, an honor held by 223 people out of an organization of over 35,000.
Being involved with APCO allowed her to travel to many states, by 2019 she had been to 48 of the 50 states. Mary also traveled to China in 1988 with a group of APCO members. Mary loved traveling and was lucky enough to travel with many of her brothers and sisters and some of her nieces and nephews. She was able to visit; China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Germany, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Jerusalem, Bulgaria, the Greek Islands, Spain and the Caribbean.
She also spent time in her daughter’s classroom as a volunteer for many years; the students affectionally called her Grandma Mary and she loved them all dearly.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents Kenneth W. and Joan Messamore; her grandparents James Robert and Genevieve Messamore, and Peter and Emma Anna Renner; numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
Mary is survived by her siblings; Ken (Diane) Messamore Buehla, Colorado; Beth (Jack Leatherman) Wieck Parker, Colorado; Jane David, Janet Messamore, Bill (Debbie) Messamore Wichita, Kansas; and Margie (Jay) Bartlett Springfield, Missouri as well as by numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews and cousins on both sides of the family.
She is also survived by her daughter Katie (Rob) Rahe, her granddaughter Shayla, Marion, Kansas; her grandsons Justin (Jaden) Emporia, Kansas, and Jarred, Overland Park, Kansas.
A graveside service will take place at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Beulah Cemetery, Colby. Memorial contributions in Mary’s name maybe directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or to the Cancer Center of Kansas. Baalmann Mortuary, Colby is handling the arrangements. For information or condolences visit baalmannmortuary.com