Cover photo for Kris Rourk's Obituary
Kris Rourk Profile Photo
1953 Kris 2022

Kris Rourk

February 6, 1953 — November 21, 2022

My mother, Kris Rourk, also known as Mary Kristina White, was born in Springfield, Missouri, on February 6, 1953. Her family moved to Iola, Kansas, when she was a child, and she lived here for the rest of her life. I describe my mother as a fiercely independent and determined woman.

My mother was a talented musician and country western singer. When I was growing up, she would take me to various locations around the state where she would perform with other musicians. She played the guitar, banjo, and piano. She had an affinity for everything Southwest and collected turquoise and other crafts. She loved animals and was an adept horseman who had several horses throughout her lifetime. She taught me to ride, and we completed many of the big Kansas trails together when I was young. When I was an undergraduate at Kansas State University, she helped me move five times by loading all my belongings into our horse trailer.

My mother had a range of jobs, but the one that fit her personality the most was radio. Through my mother's work in radio, I met some of the great country western singers of the 1990's, including Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn, and Mark Chestnut. She had a big personality and could talk to anyone. Seeing her stand in front of hundreds of people to introduce an act was both scary and exciting to me. She always told me how proud she was of my accomplishments, but it was her own tenacity and accomplishments, which made my education and career possible.

She was a wonderful grandmother. She named my first child, Olivia Rose, who was born in 2014. She would regularly drive to Ames to visit, or she would do FaceTime with the kids when I was working. The grandchildren loved visiting Iola to see grandma and play with her dogs. We enjoyed taking walks around Iola and visiting nearby museums.

In October 2019 my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It took us all by complete surprise. By the time the pandemic ensued, she was in and out of clinics and hospitals, often driving by herself to Kansas City for consultations and treatments. She was very brave and was determined to live her life despite the prognosis. She remained in treatment until October after secondary infections had prevented chemotherapy and the cancer advanced. She passed peacefully early Monday morning, November 21, 2022, in the company of family.

Kris is survived by her daughter, Karri Haen Whitmer, and her daughter's family, Chris, Olivia Rose, Lily Delphine, and Ethan Christopher Whitmer of Ames, Iowa, and her brother, Matt White, sister-in-law, Bobbey White, and their family, of Galveston, Texas.

We are grateful to the cancer community for the ongoing help and support she received throughout the last three years. My mother requested that friends and family not send flowers, but instead, she asked that individuals send a monetary gift to the Wings of Warriors Cancer Foundation, to help others who are dealing with cancer in Allen County obtain support.

Cremation has taken place, under the direction of Feuerborn Family Funeral Service, Iola, Kansas, with inurnment in St. John's Catholic Cemetery, Gas, Kansas. Following Kris's wishes, no services are planned.

Memorials are suggested to Wings of Warriors, and may be left with Feuerborn Family Funeral Service, 1883 US Hwy 54, Iola, Kansas 66749.

Condolences for the family may be left at .
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kris Rourk, please visit our flower store.


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