Obituary of Fontella Gariss
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Loretta “Fontella” (Chapman) Gariss, 91, of Lamar, MO passed away from this temporary life on November 22, 2023, at the Good Shepherd Nursing Home, Lockwood, MO. Fontella was born on November 29, 1931, in Lamar, MO to Ellis and Esther (Willhoite) Chapman as the oldest of three children. Attending country grade schools in the Milford area, Fontella graduated as the Valedictorian of her class of 1949 at Lamar High School. June 3, 1953, Fontella married Bob Gariss, beginning a union that would span over 68 years until his passing, August 24, 2021. Spending the vast majority of her adult life as a homemaker on the family farm, Fontella was the epitome of a Proverbs 31 woman, a true partner to her husband, and the anchor of her family. A very bright but humble individual, Fontella was the picture of contentment and generosity. Her front door was always open, her table always had one more seat, and she always had time to visit, having literally hosted thousands of people in her home from all walks of life. Her family was a true joy to her, and her weekly Sunday lunches were a staple. Her family gatherings grew very large and loud with time, and she soaked up every minute of it. Surprisingly competitive at times, even in her modesty, she was always up for a card game with family and friends, and she wasn’t planning on letting you win, no matter your age. She was an exceptional hostess, and her sincerity and love for people was authentic. Fontella was baptized and became a Christ follower in her youth and devotedly followed His lead throughout her life. 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 described her faith perfectly. A lifelong member of the Milford Christian Church, and very active in the Lord’s work, Fontella taught Sunday School and VBS, played the piano, and assisted Bob as the church treasurer for decades among countless other tasks within the Milford family, but her greatest work was outside of any “title”. A colossal prayer warrior in every way, her gentle and genuine personality led her to a ministry of prayer and encouragement that would reach innumerable people. Quick to listen and slow to speak, her words were full of wisdom and grace. Over the years one of her favorite pursuits was sending cards and letters to friends and family. Some local, and some around the world, there were very few days her mailbox didn’t have cards for the mailman to pick-up in hopes that her words inside would help someone on the other end. She was a sister, a wife, a mom, a grandma, a friend, a mentor, a counselor, and an encourager to all she knew. Survivors include four children: Randy (Julie) Gariss, of Joplin, MO, Gwen (Steve) Ansley, of Lamar, MO, Dennis (Nancy) Gariss of Lamar, MO, and Doug (Derenda) Gariss of Lamar, MO, fourteen grandchildren, and 43 great-grandchildren. In addition, Fontella is survived by her brother Meredith (Sharon) Chapman, of Lamar, MO, sister Ellen Jo Morey, of Lamar, MO and several cousins, nieces, and nephews whom she dearly loved. Fontella was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, her brother-in-law, Loren Morey, and one grandson, Casey Gariss. Services will be held on Tuesday November 28, 2023, at 2:00 PM at the Milford Christian Church, Milford, MO under the direction of Konantz Warden Funeral Home, with graveside interment to follow at Howell Cemetery. Memorial contributions are suggested and made payable to Milford Christian Church Mission Fund in care of Konantz Warden Funeral Home.