Laura Elaine (Getty) Casper

January 16, 1939 ~ May 30, 2022 (age 83)


Laura Elaine Getty Casper was complex. Rooted in small town Kansas, she was the sixth child born into a household of seven. The place, Downs, Kansas, is a speck of a town just off Highway 24, where everyone listened on the party-line and knew what an ornery and impetuous Elaine Casper was up to—even before her doting father and stern mother found out—unless they too were listening. The community was tight knit and so were the Gettys. It was this environment that shaped her loyalty to family and a consciousness that kept her anchored and resilient during her most difficult life challenges. Elaine was musically trained in both the saxophone and piano, entered College at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) with aspirations to teach, become a sorority girl with Delta Zeta, and maybe find a husband. She fulfilled all of her aspirations. It was at FHSU where Elaine met Jim Casper on the steps of Sheridan Hall. She was neither impressed or interested in going for coffee with Jim. When he declared that she would marry him one day, Elaine laughed and walked away. His dogged persistence eventually won her over. Their 54-Year marriage was one of devotion, negotiation, confrontation, teamwork and love.
Elaine could see herself in all of her children—the good and the complicated. She knew how to push all of their “buttons” which often resulted in her end-goal—to manage the chaos created by equally ornery and willful children. An often-heard declaration when she was at her breaking point: “Wait until your father gets home.” She learned this well from her mother and watching the world from a younger sibling vantage point. Elaine did become a teacher but left the profession for an equally noble career as Mom. She was her children’s first and best teacher, educating them in the basics (reading, writing and arithmetic) and guiding them to navigate the world with humility, humanity, resilience and introspection. She was stern and yet soft, intensely loyal and awed by the intellectual curiosity and adventure inherent in her children and grandchildren. Her six children, (with their mother) have been an eclectic cabal, fiercely loyal to each other and to the larger Getty/Casper family. With Elaine’s passing the family has lost its anchor and its haven.
When she was Elaine, she was a funny, sarcastic, irreverent, moody and a curious aficionado of whodunnits. When she was Laura, she was intellectual, well-read, observant, an attentive listener, steeped in good etiquette, and a thoughtful caregiver. Her best self was when her Laura and Elaine merged together—which was most of the time. She was wonderfully, amazingly, frustratingly, complex.
Laura Elaine was preceded in death by her parents, William and Hazel Getty; three sisters, Jeannie, Helen and Liz; her beloved husband Jim, and grandsons Nicholas and John Patrick Short. She is survived by brothers, Bill and Steve Getty and sister, Patricia Steen. Elaine’s legacy is her six children: Stephanie Grinage (Richard), Sarah Short (John), Timothy Casper (Jennifer), Todd Casper (Julie), Suzanne Steele (Walter) and Thomas Casper (Heidi). She was smitten with her grandchildren Katherine and Alaura Short and Jaxson and Rylinn Pross; Andie Stalder (Garrett), Allie, Abigail and Charlie Casper and Gracie and Ayden Crozier; Matthew Casper (Shannon); Sturling Steele (Tara); Trisha Schumer (Scott); Hannah Bradbury (David), Sophie, TJ, Sadie, Michael, William and Drew Casper. Elaine’s great grandchildren Shiloh and Silas Stalder and Brytnee Berthot; Lyla Steele; and Wilkes Schumer were her joy. Elaine
influence extended to her nephews Scott Hesse (Anne) and Greg Hesse (Trish); Brent (CJ) and Marc Getty (Angela) and niece, Lynne Getty.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 3rd, 2022, at 3:00 PM in the St. Peter's Episcopal Church with Father Dave Jenkins and Father Ryan Willis officiating. The service will be live streamed on our website ( through Laura Elaine’s obituary page. The Family requests that no flowers be sent to the home or memorial service. Memorial gifts honoring Laura Elaine may be made to the Short Fine Arts Scholarship held at the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, 100 South Broadway Street, Suite 100, Pittsburg, Kansas 66762 or to the Casper Family Education Scholarship honoring both Jim and Laura Elaine, held at Fort Hays State University Foundation, One Tiger Place, Hays, Kansas 67601. Arrangements are under the direction of the Brenner Mortuary, 114 E. 4th St., Pittsburg, KS 66762.

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Memorial Service
June 3, 2022

3:00 PM
St. Peter's Episcopal Church
306 W. Euclid Street
Pittsburg, KS 66762

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