CHETOPA — Blanche A. North, 92, of Chetopa passed away at 4:57 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at Freeman West Hospital, Joplin.
Blanche Ann Lancaster was born on March 7, 1928, to William Oliver and Lula Candace (Holt) Lancaster in rural Chetopa. Following graduation from Chetopa High School, Blanche married Jim Hoggatt, a musician from Coffeyville. Blanche, who was always a striking beauty, was known to glide across many a dance floor. Blanche and Jim raised sons Jimmy and Randy, who also became musicians in Coffeyville. Blanche eventually returned to her beloved Chetopa and was a well-known fixture in the community.
“Blanchie” had a green thumb, a creative eye and a love of secondhand treasures. She worked at Duncan’s Florist Shop in the early years and Dottie’s Flower Shop before eventually running her own flea market/flower shop, which brought her great joy. What Blanche loved most was connecting with people and she usually gave away more “treasures” than she sold.
She also loved pecan groves. Throughout her life, she picked and sold pecans to support herself until she was 85 years old when a ruptured aortic aneurysm sidelined her. Ever the survivor, Blanche miraculously recovered and lived independently with family and friends’ support. Although she disliked having to slow down and life was never the same for her, she was thankful to remain in the game and grateful for family and friends’ help. Blanche filled her time not by working non-stop, but by staying connected with friends, old and new; looking out for her family; caring lovingly for her pets; and by continuing to walk miles all over town, rain or shine, looking for secondhand treasures. She said walking kept her young — that, and Ponds Cold Cream.
Hats off to you, Blanche Ann Lancaster. You gallantly weathered many a storm; you were an example of a strong, independent woman who lovingly lived life your way. You left no doubt about your grateful heart — expressing thankfulness for the gift of the extra years and a deep gratitude to those who helped you. You said many times, “I have had a wonderful, wonderful life, and I’m feeling good right now, but I want people to know when God feels it’s time to go, I am ready.” Blanche Ann Lancaster is no doubt reunited with loved ones, her heart full of joy as she happily glides across the dance floor once again.
Survivors include a son, Jimmy Hoggatt; five grandchildren, Jason, Danny, Darin, Kyle and Natalie; nine great-grandchildren, Shyra, Huxley, Iris, Miles, Elizabeth, Joseph, Shawnna, Jackson and Gabriel; a great-great-grandchild, Aiden; three nieces, Roxana (Edmondson) Lemon, Kelly (Lancaster) Harlan and Rhonda (Lancaster) Mercer; and two nephews, Michael Lancaster and Joel Edmondson.
Blanche was preceded in death by her parents, William Oliver and Lula Candace Lancaster; her son, Randy Hoggatt; and her beloved siblings, Junior Lancaster, Mickey (Lancaster) Edmondson and JD Lancaster.
The service will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Bath-Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home in Chetopa. Burial will take place at Oak Hill Cemetery in Chetopa immediately following the service. Friends may call from 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home. The service can be viewed live on the Forbes-Hoffman Funeral Home Facebook page. For all events, social distancing guidelines will be followed, including the requirement of face masks.
Memorials are suggested to assist the family with expenses and may be left at or mailed to the funeral home, P.O. Box 346, Chetopa, KS 67336.
Online condolences may be left at www.forbeshoffman.com.