Sara Lawrence Dunne, 86, loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and friend, died on November 3, 2022.
Sara was born to George W, and Grace (Allan) Lawrence on July 10, 1936 in Wellington Kansas. She was one of three daughters: Martha (Lawrence) Rose and Virginia Lawrence.
She began her lifelong faith journey at home with her parents, her sisters and her grandfather. The family moved to Lawrence, Kansas where she witnessed her parents’ strong work ethic and perseverance, and their loyalty and care for one another. Sara built a foundation of faith in God that would guide her and that she would share with others for her entire life.
Sara graduated Lawrence High School in 1954 and received her degree from The University of Kansas in 1958. Sara began a career in physical therapy in Kansas City. Soon thereafter she met and fell in love with Bob Dunne. They were married on April 23, 1960 at Danforth Chapel in Lawrence, Kansas. They began their life together in Wichita, where Sara quickly traded her career in physical therapy for the career for which she was born. She became a homemaker, a mother, and a community volunteer where she demonstrated her true gift of giving and caregiving. In 1961, she and Bob welcomed their first son Edger into the world. Soon after came Georgia, then Katie, and in 1973 Allan was born. Their family was complete. Their life was full. They were blessed with many gifts. They also faced many challenges in their marriage and family. Sara met every challenge head on with prayer, grace, hope, determination and tenacity. And with laughter. Sara had a wildly quick wit and a wickedly funny sense of humor.
Throughout her life, she worked hard and cared deeply about creating a beautiful and welcoming home for her husband and her family. She enjoyed gardening and created a landscape that showcased all the seasons. She enjoyed entertaining and sharing meals with friends. But her grace, hospitality and caregiving extended well beyond family. In fact, it knew no bounds. Sara welcomed all into her home. She made it her purpose in life to make sure people knew they were cared for; knew they were loved; knew they were safe and always welcome in her home. Her adult children have all experienced that moment when someone recognized that Sara Dunne was their mother. The phrase “Your mother is a saint,” most often followed.
As her family grew with grandchildren, so did her prayer life, her tenacity, her humor, her loyalty to family and her abundant capacity for love. It was with grandchildren that her nickname really took hold – Saramom. It was a perfect name. She became Saramom to all.
To all who knew her and loved her as Saramom, she was fiercely loyal and protective. She was compassionate but truthful, strong but gentle. Always present in a time of need.
Sunday Family Dinners were a weekly affair in Saramom’s home. Sometimes discussions were lively, sometimes repetitive, but always an opportunity to build relationships and trust, and practice forgiveness, love, encouragement and laughter around the table sharing a home cooked meal. She taught her family the value of showing up for one another. She taught it in the times of extraordinary challenge, and she taught it at every ordinary Sunday dinner.
She loved having her grandchildren for sleepovers. Her grandchildren loved it more. She taught them card games, prepared the best breakfasts to order, taught them a thing or two about ping pong and often found her way to the local Sonic Drive-In with them for a treat. She gave the best “tickleback” to settle them in at bedtime. As they grew older and beyond sleepovers, she arranged her own vacations with Bob so that her children and grandchildren could join them. She loved her family.
Sara developed many friendships and contributed countless volunteer hours through The Junior League of Wichita. She supported Starkey, Inc., Fundamental Learning Center and she volunteered for Special Olympics. She remained active in Kappa Kappa Gamma her whole life and treasured the friendships made there. Sara served her church in more ways than we can list, from Vacation Bible School, Sunday School and Youth Camp Cook to Deacon and Elder. She loved serving God through Eastminster Presbyterian Church. She loved serving God in everything she did. She shared God’s love in all her relationships. His love poured through her.
She was an avid reader and appreciated a deep thoughtful conversation about a book with her book club, and she also enjoyed a simple lighthearted read about people and places she would like to know. She appreciated art and loved the opportunity to visit with artists and learn about them. She loved fly fishing and always looked forward to an annual fishing trip with her husband and their fishing group of more than 50 years.
Sara spent her active years giving of her time and resources to support so many organizations and groups in the community. Her most lasting gift, though, was her gift of friendship. As her activity slowed, her interest in friends did not. She continued to make deliberate efforts to connect with people. Whether it was a phone call to catch up, a fireside conversation over a cup of coffee in the morning, or a little visit at the cocktail hour, Saramom’s door was always open to her friends.
Saramom lived 62 exciting years with her husband Bob. They were a good team together, Saramom and Bob. Through their years of marriage and partnership, they grew to understand each other, to accept one another just as they are. They came to laugh together every single day and they never, ever stopped loving each other. We all had the privilege of watching their love grow stronger over the years. Their love and respect for one another was otherworldly, and it remains with us all.
Sara was preceded in death by her husband, Bob; her parents, George and Grace Lawrence; her sister, Virginia; her daughter-in-law, Liane Emmons Dunne; and her son-in-law, Johnie C Frank.
She is survived by her sister, Martha Rose of Lawrence Kansas; her children: Edger (Becca) Dunne, Georgia (Patrick) Ahern, Katie Frank, and Allan (Nicole) Dunne, all of Wichita; her twelve grandchildren: Bo (Megan) Dunne, John (Parrish) Dunne, Miles Dunne, Toren (Kristen) Droge, Jake (Ali) Droge, Gracie (Conner) Smith, Johnie Frank, Ellie Frank, Megan Ahern, Bobby Ahern, Charlie Dunne and Darcy Dunne; her ten great-grandchildren: Natalie, Liam and Charlie Dunne, Kate, Wes and Annie Droge, Jack Leslie, George and Clyde Smith, and Declan Droge; and countless beloved nieces and nephews.
Memorials have been established with: