Zelda Arlene Mai, 89, of Russell, Kansas, died on Monday, April 10, 2017, at Main Street Manor in Russell, Kansas.

Zelda was born November 11, 1927, in Paradise, Kansas, the daughter of Hylas Arthur and Hazel Anna (Finkenbinder) Gibson.  The oldest of 3 children, she spent her childhood living in Lucas, Kansas.  As a young girl, she contracted Polio and had to relearn to walk and run.  Her family moved to Russell, Kansas, where she graduated from Russell High School in the class of 1942.  While in high school she also worked for the Telephone company as an operator.  There she met her sweetheart, Vernon Paul Mai.  They were united in marriage on February 23, 1947, in Russell, Kansas, and lived in Dorrance, Kansas.  From this union they were blessed with 3 children Terry, Kimberly and Barry.  Zelda worked for USD 407 School District as a cook, preparing bread for school lunches.  To supplement their income she also worked mending and sewing for members of the community.

Zelda loved to do crafts and sew and even in later years would spend hours with her crochet hooks and yarn making knots and imagining she was still making hats, scarf's or blankets for her family.  In 2011, she moved to Main Street Manor and she enjoyed their programs, especially anything involving music, and always had a smile and wave for everyone.    She was a longtime member of Otterbein United Methodist Church in Russell.  She also belong to several church women's groups, bible study groups, V.F.W. Ladies Auxiliary and was a longtime supporter of the Russell Senior Center.  She enjoyed cooking, sewing, crafts, playing bingo, gospel music and attending sporting events that her grandkids were involved in at the time.  Most of all she enjoyed spending time with her family, especially her many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Surviving family include her daughter Kimberly Cockerill (Dick) of Spring Hill, Kansas, son Barry Mai (Wendy) of Marion, Kansas, daughters-in-law, Kathy Hurley of Allen, Texas and Linda Mai of Great Bend, Kansas; sister Reita Glassman of Hays, Kansas; 9 grandchildren Trevor, Candace, Kent, Meisha, Audrey, Krista, Ashley, Rachel and Matthew and 14 great grandchildren Brittany, Jessica, Chance, Karolina, Elly, Dakota, Lily, Maxwell, Bela, Shelby, Sophia, Emma, Colt, Flint, Bodie and a great grandson on the way who will be named Steele.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband Vernon on November 27, 2013, son Terry Mai, and granddaughter, Tonia LeVasseur and 1 brother Howard Gibson.

A Celebration of Zelda's life will be held at 10:30am Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at Otterbein United Methodist Church in Russell, Kansas with Pastor Michael Eurit officiating.  Burial will follow at the Russell City Cemetery.  Visitation will be Monday, April 17, 2017, from 9 AM to 8 PM at the mortuary.  Memorials are suggested to the Russell Senior Center in care of Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary in Russell, Kansas who is in charge of these arrangements.


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