Imogene (Nutter) Rouse

May 31, 1936 ~ February 18, 2022 (age 85)


Imogene “Grandma 24” Rouse took her final checkered flag on February 18, 2022,  in Concordia, Kansas.

Imogene’s life began when she took the green flag on May 31, 1936 ,the oldest of three children born in Republic County, Kansas to Cecil and Ernestine (Gilles) Nutter.   She graduated from Concordia High School in 1954 and was very proud of being a high stepping majorette with the high school band.  Throughout high school, every Monday morning, she would leave the family farm to board the train and head into town where she  would stay with the Sheriff and his wife during the week and then would ride the train back to the farm on Fridays.  After graduation she moved to Salina, Kansas where she met and married Dick Fairchild.  Two children, Cindy and Chuck, were born to this union and although they divorced, they remained  friends for life and set a great example of co-parenting.  Imogene then married Vinton Rouse and with his three children, Linda, Art and Clyde they became a blended family.  They moved to Roswell, New Mexico, and a daughter, Janice, promptly joined the tribe.  Her husband Vinton was a truck driver so it only seemed a natural transition for Imogene to begin doing his trucking paperwork. In fact, she was so good at doing his paperwork that before long Vinton began bringing over fellow truckers needing help with their paperwork and before she knew it she had established Gene’s Permit Service and her shingle read “Trucker’s Right-Hand Gal”.  Her customer base was several hundred at one time with truckers from all over the country requesting her expertise and knowledge that kept them out of trouble and on the road.  She could always be reached on the CB radio as “Mama Redbird”.   Imogene was a proud trucker’s wife and spoke highly of truck drivers until the very end.  Imogene eventually lost Vinton to cancer and not long after his death she found herself spending more time back in Kansas where she eventually bought a house. One weekend, while in Kansas, she agreed to attend a Nascar race at Kansas Speedway and boy was she hooked.  She became Jeff Gordon’s number one fan. Seriously…. her house in Salina was so filled with memorabilia (a Jeff Gordon recliner, #24 bedding, a #24 coffee pot, and a #24 crockpot that she swore cooked faster, just to name a few things) that her toddler great granddaughter named her Grandma 24. She continued to attend the race at Kansas Speedway for many years and eventually her daughter Cindy introduced her to the fall Nascar race in Phoenix, Arizona where she continued to go for 13 years.  Imogene started a new race in 2010 when she was diagnosed with stage four Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  She defeated cancer three different times and every time she won she would wave a checkered flag on her last day of treatment. She would tell family members that as long as Jeff Gordon was winning then she too could keep winning.  Her victory over cancer was short lived as she quickly started another new race after being  diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.  Although it was a race she could not win, she never gave up and turned it into an endurance race.  Alzheimer’s eventually stole her ability to communicate verbally yet never stole her smile or her contagious giggle. Neither cancer nor Alzheimer’s could break her spirit and throughout her life she taught her family many valuable lessons. A life lesson our family would like to share with you was her advice about day to day living. She once told her granddaughter,  Karas,  that she never had bad days, some days were just better than others. A woman who defeated cancer three times, lost a husband to cancer and eventually got Alzheimer’s truly believed in no bad days. 

Waiting to greet her when she crossed the finish line were her parents, her husband Vinton, her ex-husband and dear friend Dick, her sister, Marlene (Nutter) Chapell, and a granddaughter, Kelsey Rouse.  Left missing her but with many great memories are her brother, Charles (Shirley) Nutter; her children,  Cindy Shrole, Chuck(Lisa) Fairchild,  Janice(Bob) Davis, Linda Ferguson, Art Rouse,  Clyde (Brenda) Rouse; Grandchildren Ryan Rairden, Scott Shrole, Marysa McCartney, Austin Bradshaw, Chase Fairchild, Tessie Griffin, Karas Fairchild, Amanda Sebesta, Taylor Sebesta, Kim Fairchild, Jeff Turner, Teri Linder, Kaci Axelson, Aaron Rouse, Ian Rouse, Connor Rouse; 16 great-grandchildren with one on the way  and 2 great-great grandsons; along with bonus children, Richard Fairchild, Kevin Fairchild, Toni Lubbers, and bonus grandson, Bo Corn and too many nieces, nephews, cousins, caregivers and friends to count. 

Many thanks to the staff at the Tammy Walker Cancer Center for running the successful race against cancer with her; to the staff at the Sunflower Adult Day Center for helping her stay in her own home for as long as she was able; and to the magnificent staff of Marquis Place who saw her to the finish line along with the great compassionate care of Dr. Kyle Elmore and also Meadowlark Hospice who gave her loving care the past couple of months. Through it all she kept her mesmerizing smile that made everyone fall in love with her.  She will be missed by many.

A celebration of life will be announced in the coming weeks and she will be laid to rest in Roswell, NM.

Memorials can be made to the Salina Alzheimer’ Support and Education Group, the Sunflower Adult Day Center in Salina, or the Jeff Gordon Foundation (which benefits children’s cancer) in care of Nutter Mortuary, Concordia, Kansas.

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