Dr. Burney (Bailey) Mendenhall, 93, of Topeka, passed away Thursday, September 2, 2021.
She was born January 14, 1928, in, Concordia, Kansas, the daughter of Lawrence Rae and Catherina Ladena (Boucher) Bailey. She graduated from Concordia High School. In June 1950, she graduated from Washburn Municipal University. She continued her education and obtained her Doctorate in Medieval Spanish from the University of Kansas in June 1964. She, also, worked on a Masters Degree in Latin and Greek studies. Dr. Mendenhall , also, completed an extension program in Theological Education.
She taught as a professor at various universities including the University of Puerto Rico and Central Missouri State University. She started teaching at Kansas State University in 1965 and was a tenured professor. She expanded her language expertise to science, veterinary and pre-medical students at Kansas State by teaching Latin for scientists.
Burney was very involved in her passions and community. She supported academic excellence, advancement of women and international students activities. At different time during her life, she was active with Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Kappa Gamma (for women in education), AAUW (American Association of University Women), Sigma Alpha Iota (National Music Honorary for Women), Philomathean (club through Grace Episcopal church whose object is educational advancement), and PEO.
After retirement, she was very active in family genealogy research and with the Daughters of the American Revolution, Colonial Dames, Daughters of American Colonist, and the 1812 Society.
Burney and her husband, Rev. Elborn Mendenhall traveled around the country. It was a big part of her life. She took students around the world (South America, Europe, and Spain). She became an active member with K State and Washburn University with their International Students. She spoke Spanish. Self-taught herself Italian. She knew French and some Hebrew along with Latin and Greek.
She was an absolute amazing organist. She was a member of the Topeka Organ Guild for a long time. She played at local churches in the Topeka Area and provided musical support at the all-faiths chapel at the Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center. When she wasn’t playing at local churches are the chapel at the VA, she would play at her past students' weddings.
In what free time she had, she cherished her family and enjoyed working crossword puzzles and grooming her dogs. She and her husband, Elborn followed the K State Wildcats to various bowl games beginning with the Independence Bowl in 1982 and continuing under the Coach Bill Snyder era. She will be greatly missed by all of those who cherished her, both family and friends.
Burney married Hector Manuel Vazquez in 1949, they later divorced in 1963. He passed away in October 2017. She later married Elborn Eugene Mendenhall on July 20, 1972 in Manhattan, Kansas. He preceded her in death on January 28, 2021.
Survivors include her sons, Brian (Teri) Vazquez and Sheldon Vazquez; grandchildren, Thomas James Vazquez, Molly (Cameron) Vazquez, Jennifer Vazquez, Bailey Vazquez, and Lorna Vazquez. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Elborn, daughter-in-law, Cindy Vazquez, and sisters, Merridy King and Eleanor Watson.
The family will greet friends during a visitation from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 at Penwell-Gabel, 1321 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS. Burial will take place at Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Concordia, Kansas.
Memorial contributions may be made to Philanthropies - Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, One Tunnel Road – Asheville, NC 28805.
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