Tentatively named Garvey Creative Center to open in the late Jean Garvey’s home

Ann Garvey with her late mother, Jean, in front of their longtime home that Garvey is converting to an event center.

Ann Garvey with her late mother, Jean, in front of their longtime home that Garvey is converting to an event center.

UPDATED — One of Wichita’s best-known – but unofficial – event centers closed when Ann Garvey moved from her home on Spring Drive in Spring Acres five years ago.

Garvey opened her 10,000-square-foot house, which was on a compound that included a guest house and recording studio, for free for all kinds of events and fundraisers.

Now, she’s going to do the same thing with her late mother Jean Garvey’s house, but it will be in a more official capacity.

“Well, I have to be reasonable – for the first time in my life,” Garvey says.

Jean Garvey bequeathed her house at 8427 E. Douglas to the neighboring Independent School, which she founded.

Jean Garvey and her husband, the late Willard Garvey, built their 10,000-square-foot house on about 40 acres just east of Douglas and Rock Road in 1957. They used some of that acreage to build the school in 1980.

Ann Garvey says the school can’t afford to spend money on the house.

“It needed to have a purpose,” she says. “To me, it seemed that this is a natural use for this house. It had actually been that during our lifetime.”

She says her parents hosted innumerable concerts, benefits, fundraisers and parties there.

“It’s just a natural evolution from that,” Garvey says.

The working name for it is the Garvey Creative Center. “Working” is the key word, Garvey says.

“I’m trying to develop a business plan that this would be truly autonomous and stand alone,” she says. “We have to find out how that’s really going to work.”

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You don’t say: Our favorites from 2013

Some were newsy, some were shocking, but most were simply fun or funny. Here are some of our favorite “You don’t say” quotes from 2013.

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“I said, ‘You must know a lot of angry people.’ (They) said, ‘I work at Spirit.’”

Best of Times owner Nancy Robinson on a person who bought 10 Dammit Dolls, the soft dolls angry people can safely slam on any surface to blow off steam on bad days

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“My first place that I am not going to get married at is the Grand Chapel.”

– Sedgwick County Chairman Jim Skelton, whose upcoming marriage to Stacy Luke won’t take place at the facility he sued over his daughter’s wedding

“That’s correct, he’s not.”

– Grand Chapel owner Dennis Wilkie, who says Skelton is “a troublemaker, and I just don’t want to deal with troublemakers.”

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“Women pilots don’t land at the wrong airport. We ask for directions!”

– A tweet from Seattle-based pilot Karlene Petitt (‏@KarlenePetitt) about the Dreamlifter incident at Colonel James Jabara Airport

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“Be aware, Boeing, ‘this route has tolls.’ Bring some change.”

– An NPR story that acknowledged a stranded Dreamlifter likely couldn’t be towed from Colonel James Jabara Airport to McConnell Air Force Base but offered a Google map and driving directions anyway

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“I thought I’d get in line right behind him.”

– Outgoing Chamber chairwoman Debbie Gann, who “about choked” at the group’s annual dinner Tuesday when possible mayoral candidate Jeff Turner suggested she would make a great mayor

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“I’m going to drop off a baked bean can and a string tomorrow … so we can chat later in the day.”

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers co-owner Scott Redler teasing City Council member Pete Meitzner about his antiquated BlackBerry

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“With all the crying and whining in Washington, I’m feeling ready to be a new father come November.”

– Expectant father U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder speaking Friday at the 2013 Congressional Summit at the Hotel at Old Town

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“We know you’re a Democrat.”

– Park City administrator Jack Whitson, teasing the city’s chamber president, registered Republican Dean Frankenbery, about a misprint that said Rep. Mike Pompom, not Pompeo, would be the group’s next speaker

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“I know you are all wondering if that beautiful new red car parked over there is a door prize. It’s not. It’s the speaker’s gift.”

Delta Dental of Kansas vice president of human resources Kara Hunt, speaking at the Chamber’s Sunrise Scrambler about a car that Davis-Moore had at the event

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“I thought that Davis-Moore . . . has been hurting so bad that they needed a sale, so I thought I’d help them out.”

– Car dealer Brandon Steven, joking about why he bought a Viper at his competitor’s dealership

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“I think it’s awesome that he bought himself a nice car.”

– Davis-Moore’s Dawson Grimsley, retorting with a teasing implication that Steven couldn’t find a nice car at his own lot

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“The @WichitaOrpheum could use a little Jesus after @RealTracyMorgan’s performance there. #itwaspurefilth”

— A tweet from comedian Ron Shively, aka @FunnyMrBiggs, after hearing City Life Church is going to rent the Orpheum Theatre every Sunday morning for services

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“Puppies and people all over town are sad today.”

—Accountant David Jabara on the death of Doggy Day Care owner Marilyn Walk

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Willard Garvey’s ‘Epic Life’ told in new book

UPDATED — Maura McEnaney was a young journalist who had moved to Nevada in 1979 when she first encountered Wichita’s Garvey family at their ranch there. That included late patriarch Willard Garvey.

Willard Garvey’s image superimposed over a map that Pan American World Airways once gave him to document his many travels on that airline.

“I remember him just like spouting off all these things that he had been involved in, and I sort of didn’t really believe it,” McEnaney says. “I thought he was telling some tall tales, truly.”

More recently ,McEnaney spent five years researching the businessman’s life for a book about him. Interviews with people such as Craig Miner, the late historian, architect Sid Platt and Misco Industries chairman Bud Beren set her straight about what Garvey did and accomplished.

“That was kind of the fun thing about writing the book,” McEnaney says. “Everything he was talking about was true.”

LibertyTree Press is releasing “Willard Garvey, An Epic Life” next month.

LibertyTree is part of the California-based Independent Institute, a public policy research and education foundation. Garvey’s son-in-law, David Theroux, is president of the institute.

Though Garvey’s story is a personal one, Theroux says Garvey’s life is intertwined with the development of modern American life.

“It’s a huge slice of that history.”

McEnaney says Garvey was something of a more sophisticated Forrest Gump, who regularly found himself part of local, national and international history.

“Willard is very much that kind of a person … in a far more prestigious role,” she says.

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You don’t say

“My mom really knew how to handle every situation with grace. After all, she lived with Willard for 57 years.”

Julie Sheppard speaking about her mother, the late Jean Garvey, at the celebration of her life at the Orpheum Theatre on Jan. 5