A statue honoring an Orphan Train rider was installed in memory of a longtime Concordia resident in the Concordia City Park on Saturday, April 29th.
The statue was installed in loving memory of longtime Concordia resident Betty Losh by her daughters, Melanie Lorenzo and Janeen James. Betty passed away in 2022 at the age of 84.
In December 1980, Betty graduated from Kansas University with an accounting degree. She moved to Concordia, Kansas, to work with Kennedy & Coe as a certified public accountant until her retirement in 2002. Betty was a member of the Wesleyan Church and Standing Stones Sunday School Class and was active in church events, cooking many meals, filling and cleaning thousands of Easter eggs, making popcorn and serving drinks, and was a founding member of Wesleyan Ladies.
Community was important to Betty. She volunteered for American Red Cross Blood drives, made pies for the Hospital Auxiliary, served as treasurer many years for the Cloud County Historical Society Museum, and worked local elections. Betty enjoyed traveling, playing and teaching bridge several times a week, golfing, all types of puzzles, gardening, but most of all she enjoyed spending time with her friends and family.
The statue honors Orphan Train Rider Mary Ring, who was born to Michael Ring and Mary Geary in Walpole, Massachusetts in 1887. Two years later, in September 1889, her mother left her in the care of the New England Home for Little Wanderers.
In October 1889, she was aboard a train headed to Kokomo, Indiana. Mary Ring was taken in by James and Addie Blacklidge. James was a successful attorney, and the Blacklidges provided a good home for Mary, who adopted their last name as her own.
Mary had a love for music, and attended many social events and clubs as a young woman. She attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Rockford College. She also traveled around the world with her parents in 1912. When they returned from their trip, Mary married Eldo Wagner. Eldo and Mary moved to Indianapolis, where they raised their three children.
Mary was very active in her church, volunteer groups, the PTA, scout groups, and educational clubs. She also served on the boards of various institutions, such as the Florence Crittenden Home for unwed Mothers, the Indianapolis School Board, and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Mary lived a full life and died in 1981.