Donita Kay Ragan
July 12, 1940 - January 29, 2023
Donita was the first child of Don and Eva Ragan of Kiowa, Kansas. As a student at Kiowa High School, she performed as a percussionist in their band and on the violin for their quality orchestra – both under the direction of Gary Fletcher, Sr., whom she married and subsequently bore their children: Geoffrey and Gary, Jr.
Donita and Gary, Sr. ended up settling in Newton, Kansas. Eventually, Gary became Coordinator of Music for Newton Public Schools. Gary and Donita provided musical instruction to any child interested in instrumental music regardless of ability to pay as both understood that was the very best way to build a quality music program. Donita once taught in excess of 80 students per week to include string players, pianists, and percussionists. YIKES!
After nineteen eventful years of marriage, she and Gary divorced (both moving on successfully in their lives.)
She worked several years at Wichita State University. For three years, she played viola in the Wichita Symphony. Subsequently, a change of venue was in order, and she accepted a job as a transcriber for Social Security Disability Court cases in Los Angeles, California. After several years in that position, she decided to become an advocate to counsel and represent disability case applicants before the same justices/courts she had previously transcribed for. Donita continued musically and among her accomplishments played in a theatrical pit orchestra for Ray Price and was offered a position as violist for the world renowned Mantovani Orchestra. After three seasons, it became clear she’d be requested to travel throughout the world with very few breaks, and she became homesick.
After seventeen years residing in Fullerton, California, the passing of her mother, Eva Ragan, and additionally, the passing of her sister-in-law, Sharon Ragan, Donita returned to live out the rest of her days in her childhood town of Kiowa.
She continued involvement musically and more recently enjoyed Bridge Club (eight members strong.) Donita continued instruction of private music lessons and accompanied South Barber music students/groups at . . well . . . too many music festivals to reflect upon. Also, she started RED, WHITE, and BLUEGRASS – a group of young bluegrass fiddlers that played numerous functions in Kiowa and throughout Kansas.
Finally, most of you have known Donita for many years playing piano at Kiowa’s Community Congregational Church.
Donita is preceded in death by her parents, Don and Eva Ragan and her brother, Barry Ragan.
She is survived by brothers, Jim Ragan of Salina, Kansas, Craig Ragan of Hardtner, Kansas, and Phil Ragan of Winfield, Kansas, and sons, Geoffrey Fletcher of Haysville, Kansas and Gary Fletcher, Jr. of Kiowa, Kansas.
Service for Donita will be on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at Kiowa Congregational Church. Arrangements are by Lanman Funeral Home, Inc. of Kiowa. www.lanmanmemorials.com Facebook: Lanman Funeral Home Inc.
Memorials may be given to the church through the funeral home.
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