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Della M. (Poland) Garrison

November 6, 1926 ~ August 6, 2018 (age 91)
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Della Poland Garrison


91, passed away on Monday, August 6, 2018 at her home in Oxford, Ohio with family by her side.  Born Della Mae Poland on November 6, 1926 in Junction City Kansas, she was the daughter of Ralph Poland and Lillian Staatz Poland.  She grew up on the family farm near Lyons Creek and Lyona Valley on the northwest edge of the beautiful Kansas Flint Hills. It was there that her love of big skies, expansive landscape, geography and nature began. Della once wrote, “In the geographical center of the Universe is a magical land called Kansas where great winds blow and the skies are not cloudy all day. Sunsets there are so awe-inspiring that even the grasshoppers are brought to their knees.”


       Della grew up on the site of a log cabin in which her father has been born, and her early years revolved around family, the farm and its seasons, and her beloved Lyona Methodist Church community. Her chores and fun overlapped and included driving teams of horses in the fields, helping with livestock, 4-H, and attending Fairview School, a one room school house through grade eight. Della graduated from Dickinson Community High School in Chapman, Kansas in 1944 where she was active in music, theatre, journalism and debates. Those interests followed her to McPherson College where she was editor of the newspaper and on the debate team. Della transferred to Kansas State University and graduated in 1948 with a major in Home Economics and Nutrition with a minor in Chemistry. It was on her first day at K-State that she met the love of her life, Roy Charles “Chuck” Garrison, from Hutchinson, Kansas, who was recently home from WWII where he flew “The Hump” in the Himalayas as a cargo combat pilot. They married on September 9, 1947 and were together for 60 years until his death.


      Love of family was first and foremost in Della’s heart and throughout the many chapters of her life: living in France when her husband returned to service during the Korean War; becoming a pilot herself in the early 1960’s; careers in education and real estate; community work at Wichita Art Museum and League of Women Voters; opening her own antique and quilt trading business in the late 1970’s in the historic district of Savannah, Georgia; and in her later years, PEO and volunteering for flood and hurricane relief with the American Red Cross. Della had a keen understanding of business and finance, was creative and artistic, and contributed those talents to all her endeavors.  


       Her husband’s international marketing career in aviation found Della raising her family not only in Wichita, Kansas but also in Winnipeg, Canada; Geneva Switzerland; Brussels, Belgium; Chagrin Falls, Ohio and Savannah, Georgia. She embraced the people, art, architecture, language and local cultures of these many hometowns and countries and created excellent adventures of learning and travel with her family. In 2013, Della moved from Wichita, Kansas to Oxford, Ohio where she made many wonderful friends at The Knolls of Oxford Retirement Community.


       Della had many lifelong hobbies and passions including reading, writing, bridge, spiritual and religious studies, music, piano, quilts, decorating, travel, and she absolutely loved games of all sorts. Della was a lifelong learner and never lost her wit and sense of wonder. She was loved for the way she made people feel valued and at ease. About her grandchildren she wrote, “They shine like the energy of the sun!” and she reminded them often that “You are a unique and unrepeatable gift from God!” They, in turn, often marveled at their Grandma Della and how she was ahead of her time and young at heart.  


       Della was preceded in death by her husband Roy “Chuck” Garrison, parents Ralph and Lillian Poland and brother Marvin Poland, all of Junction City, Kansas, and her sister Phyllis Whitman, of Vashon Island, Washington. She is survived by her sister Joyce Poland Scheuerman (Robert) of Lacy WA; her children Ralf Garrison (Betty) of Denver, Colorado, Ann Garrison Whelpton (John) of Oxford, Ohio; and Karen Garrison McNickle of Stockton, California. Della is also survived by her five beloved grandchildren: John Ross Whelpton of Frankfort, MI; Leigh Whelpton, Washington D.C.; Kari McNickle, Stockton, CA; Kelsey McNickle, Oakland, CA and Anna Brit Engblom- Garrison, Denver, CO. Della also leaves behind her many precious nieces and nephews and their families, and her extended Osoba family children.


       Della’s family extends their heartfelt thanks to family and friends near and far for their steady stream of support and prayers for Della during her illness these past months. A Celebration of life and burial and luncheon will be held at 12:00 Noon on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Lyona Methodist Church, 1850 Wolf Road, Junction City Kansas.  A reception and short service will be held at The Knolls of Oxford in Oxford, Ohio in early Fall. 


Condolences may be sent to the family at:


In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial tributes may be sent to one of the following:

* Lyona United Methodist Church, 1850 Wolf Road, Junction City Kansas  66441

(785) 257-3474 MethodistChurch/

* Unity of Garden Park, 3581 West Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, Ohio  45239

(513) 385-8889,

* National Sports Center for the Disabled, 1801 Mile High Stadium Circle, Denver, CO 80204

* Friends of Horses Rescue and Adoption, 6351 South Peoria Street, Centennial, CO 80111   (303) 649-1155,


Donations may be made to:

Friends of Horses Rescue and Adoption
6351 South Peoria Street, Centennial CO 80111
Tel: 1-303-649-1155

Lyona United Methodist Church
1850 Wolf Road, Junction City KS 66441
Tel: 1-785-257-3474
Web: MethodistChurch/

Unity of Garden Park
3581 West Galbraith Road, Cincinnati OH 45239
Tel: 1-513-385-8889

National Sports Center for the Disabled
1801 Mile High Stadium Circle, Denver CO 80204

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