Lola Mae Weik was my aunt that I never got to meet because of her early death. My father Merle Otto Weik idolized her and always spoke about her with fondness. She was the fifth child born to Ruby Jemima Pultz and Otto Richard Weik on May 24, 1912, in Riley, Kansas.
Lola Mae was raised as a farmer’s daughter and all of her siblings had a job to do to make the farm sustainable. On the 1920 Census, the family lived in the Wildcat Creek area of Riley County renting a farm. In 1929 she was attending Manhattan High School. By the time the 1930 Kansas Census came around the family had lost their father Otto to an injury from a horse in which he never recovered and died. It was more important than ever now that everyone help work the farm.
As with most farms in Kansas, the harvest time which begins in May/June is always a busy time. My father shared many stories about how people came together to help others get their crops out of the field. In 1930 it was no different when things needed to be done everyone pitched in to see that it was done. Lola meant Vern Paige when he was doing work for her grandfather John Edward Weik who lived in Fairview.
The 1940 Kansas Census shows Lola was working for Daniel and Oliva Casement in Manhattan, Riley, Kansas as a servant she was now twenty-seven years old. On October 15, 1940, she married Vernon Elvyn Paige in the Cathedral area of the Casement home. It was interesting to me that I never knew my father Merle Weik sang, but as listed below he sang “I Love You Truly” for his sister.
It must have been a happy time for Lola Mae and her family to share this event with family and friends. I remember my father telling me that they were not exactly happy that she and Vern were going to move to the east coast. He never told me what his concerns were but because it was so far away he probably thought they would not see each other as often or ever again.
Then in 1942 two years after getting married and traveling to New Jersey Ruby Weik received the devastating news that her daughter had died of bronchial pneumonia. My father was crushed and so was the rest of the family. The family had lost their father in 1926 and now a sibling. She was the first sibling to die in this family so the community gathered around them in their time of need.
Lola Mae Weik Paige was buried in the Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan, Riley, Kansas. She was just thirty years old.
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