Cleone Frieda Kauffeld was born April 19, 1926, at Kodaikanal, Tamal Nadu State, British India, the third of five children of the Rev. Paul and Clara Kauffeld. Her father was a missionary with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Cleone and her mother were evacuated from India in 1942, on the U.S.S. Wakefield, due to threats of Japanese invasion of India. They settled in Winfield, KS, where Cleone’s two older siblings, Norbert and Ethel, were already attending St. John’s Lutheran Academy. Her baby sister, Lillian, had died at age 2, at Alleppey, Kerala State, India. Her father returned from India after the end of WWII. At St. John’s, Cleone met her future husband, Donald Edward Neff, from the Menno Community in Kearny County, KS. They were married January 18, 1948 where they settled in Lakin, Kansas, and were blessed with 69 years together.
For many years, Cleone was very involved in volunteer work. She was a founding member of the Pride Commission of Kansas, under Gov. Robert Docking, and also served on the Kansas Water Quality Board. She was Conservation Chairman for three terms and then President for two terms of the General Women’s Federated Clubs of Kansas. She was a founding member of the Lakin Budget Shop, the Kearny County Council on Aging, and the Senior Center. Cleone was also President for two terms of the Kansas Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, held other state offices with the LWML, and was always active in her local congregation, Immanuel Lutheran. In between all that, she worked with her husband on the farm, raised a garden, canned, sewed and kept a cozy home.
She is survived by her loving husband, Donald Neff, her daughter, Kathleen Neff, her grandson, Athelred Davis and his wife, Brittin, her great-grandson, Ayrton Davis, her youngest brother, Eugene Kauffeld and his wife, Julie, and numerous nephews and nieces and their children. In these last years, she sank into the twilight of Alzheimer’s, and finally left us November 5, 2017, for Heaven.
Funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Lakin with Pastor Patrick Gumz officiating. Burial will follow at the Lakin Cemetery. Friends may call from 4:00 p.m. on 8:00 p.m. on Friday at Garnand Funeral Home in Lakin. The family suggests memorials given to Immanuel Lutheran Church in care of the funeral home.