Sandra Louise Dudley

Monday, July 17, 2017
Sandra Louise Dudley

Sandra Louise Dudley, 82, of Fort Scott, passed away Friday morning, July 14, 2017 at her home following a sudden and short-lived battle with cancer.

Sandra was born in Mercy Hospital on Burke Street, Jan. 22, 1935, the daughter of Lester Nathan and Marian (Talbott) Dudley, and resided at 306 Arthur St. She attended Miss Mary’s kindergarten class and all the public schools in Fort Scott.

In 1953, Sandra graduated from Fort Scott High School as president of the class and also as girls’ vice president of the school. She won the girls’ high school tennis singles championship in 1952 and won the girls’ city singles championship in 1953 even though tennis was not offered as a sport for girls at that time. Through high school, Sandra (Sandy) taught swimming lessons, worked at the local swimming pool, and cashiered at Whitesides’ grocery on Market Square. Upon graduation, Sandra attended one semester of junior college before working at Western Insurance in the IBM and accounting departments.

On April 15, 1954, she married Robert Dale Eshelbrenner in the First Methodist Church in Fort Scott, and they had three children: Derek of Havana, Kan.; Rama of Coos Bay, Ore.; and Dale Robert of Prairie Village, Kan. As the children began school, Sandra returned to school to receive her A.A. Degree at the community college in 1970 and her B.S. degree in 1972 from Pittsburg State College. She was hired as senior English teacher at Fort Scott High School from 1973 to 1977. She and her husband were divorced in 1982, and she returned for her Masters’ Degree at Pittsburg State in 1983.

When Mrs. Lucile James became ill in 1985, Sandra assumed part of Mrs. James’ class assignments while also working in the M.I.L.L. at the community college. Upon Mrs. James’ death in 1985, Sandra was hired to take her place full time as English and Literature instructor, and she continued in that position until her retirement in 2000.

Among the many rewards of the fulfillment of teaching youth, she edited the literary magazine “Market Square” for five years and was one of the sponsors of Phi Beta Kappa. During those years at the community college, she received the Teacher Recognition Award from the University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for the years of 1995-96 and 1996-97. She received the NISOD Excellence Award in 1998; her biography was published in the fifth edition of Who’s Who Among Teachers in 1998, an in 1994 she was a semifinalist in the edition of poetry in “Echoes of Yesterday.”

Upon her retirement in May of 2000, Sandra cared for her mother and published two novellas, “Ding Dong Bell” and “Midwest Anecdotes, Superstitions, and Remedies,” and in 2005 wrote the brochure entitled “The Buried Roots of African-American History” for the Kansas Humanities Council Grant for the Gordon Parks Center at the Community College.

Sandra‘s later years were spent playing ball with neighbor kids and finally welcoming two grandchildren, Tyler James and Hattie Louise, who kept her in joy and rapture full time.

Survivors include her two children, Derek and Rama; her daughter-in-law Sara Bultman Eshelbrenner and two grandchildren, Tyler and Hattie; and one surviving Whiteside cousin, Phyllis Whiteside of Manhattan, Kan. Those preceding her in death were her father, Lester Dudley, March 18, 1989; her mother, Marian Dudley on Feb. 4, 1995; her sister, Norma Campbell on July 30, 2015; and her son Dale on Aug. 27, 2016.

At Sandra’s request, there will be a private family burial service at Evergreen Cemetery under the direction of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home. Memorials are suggested for Mercy Hospice in Fort Scott or the Fort Scott Community College Endowed Scholarship Fund in Memory of Sandra Dudley, and may be left in the care of the Konantz-Cheney Funeral Home, 15 W. Wall St., P.O. Box 309, Fort Scott, KS 66701. Condolences and words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at

Sandra Dudley's wishes were for a private burial and no funeral service. However, in honor of her free and unbridled spirit, it is the request of her children, Rama and Derek, that friends, family and former students gather at El Charro Restaurant, 2503 S. Main St., anytime between 4:30 and 7 p.m. Thursday to share their fondest memories and stories.