Gala Jean Groening, age 67, died June 10, 2020, at Garden Valley Retirement Village, Garden City, KS, after a brave and courageous battle with Huntington’s disease.
Gala was born in Hillsboro, KS, on November 30, 1952, the daughter of Francis and Martha (Wiens) Groening, who both preceded her in death.
Gala received Jesus as her savior and was baptized in 7th grade at the Hillsboro Mennonite Church. She later attended the First United Methodist Church in Satanta, KS, with her family where she was heavily involved in children’s and music ministry.
Gala graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1970 where she was very invested in music, playing the clarinet, the piano and singing in choir. She also worked as a waitress in high school and college at the Guest House. She graduated from Tabor College, Hillsboro, KS, in 1974, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. Gala taught elementary school at Peabody, Sublette, Satanta, and Moscow, KS. She earned her Master’s Degree in ESL in 2001, from Newman University, Wichita, KS. She was thrilled that she graduated the same year as Andy from Kansas State and Cody from Satanta High School. She moved back to Hillsboro in 2010 and worked as a para for the school system in McPherson, KS, for Special Education until 2015. She married Randy Liebelt in 1974.
Gala is survived by her two sons: Andy (Laura) Liebelt and grandchildren Zion, Eve, Michal, Israel and Judah Garden City, KS and Cody (Robyn) Liebelt and grandchildren Cohen and Gibson of Anthony, KS. Gala was very active in her sons’ lives, attending many sporting events and other activities. She was very proud of her family and they brought her tremendous joy.
Gala and her two sisters, Connie (Don) Hendrickson, Brownsdale, MN, and Sheryl (Don) McDaniel, Holton, KS, loved to spend time with each other. She was a fun aunt to many nieces and nephews and their children, and a wonderful cousin to many. Cousins preceding her in death were Phil & Mary Classen and Jan & Cindy Wiens.
She moved in with family in January, 2015 and then to Garden Valley Retirement Village in January of 2016, until her passing. Gala will always be remembered for loving the Lord, her family, touching students’ lives, the beautiful flowers around her home, constant hugs and strong values. She remained strong until the very end. We will join her again one glorious day.
A Celebration of Gala’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, June 26, 2020 at the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, 300 Prairie Pointe, in Hillsboro, Kansas. Burial will follow at the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church Cemetery. There will be no calling hours. Her family suggests memorials be given to Hereditary Neurological Disease Center in Wichita, KS in care of Garnand Funeral Home.