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Chaney Endowment

Ruby Lee and Merle Chaney were knowledgeable about Kansas history and wanted to share their interest with other Kansans.

The Chaneys grew up on a farm in Stanley. Brother and sister, the Chaneys were the third generation to live on the Johnson County farm, which their grandfather had originally homesteaded.

During their life the Chaneys operated a prosperous farm that produced grain, hogs, and cattle. Ruby Lee raised produce in a large garden, which she canned at harvest time. Active members of the Stanley Bible Church, the Chaneys both taught Sunday school. Ruby Lee served as a treasurer and secretary of the women’s group. When their parents became ill, she stayed near to assist with care. In 1949 Merle joined the Kansas Historical Society and later became a life member.

Both Merle and Ruby Lee enjoyed reading and researching and were well versed in Kansas history. Merle never owned a television. Instead, he and Ruby Lee preferred traveling across the nation. They documented their travels to such locations as Yellowstone National Park, which they shared through slide show programs at home.

Merle died at the age of 84 in 1992. Ruby Lee died at the age of 90 in 2007. At Ruby Lee’s death, the Historical Society learned that Merle had provided a bequest of $60,000. Ruby Lee provided an additional bequest of $170,000 for a total of a $230,000. The endowment will be used to support programming at the Kansas Historical Society.