Emporia - Nina Louise West (nee Winn) was born on December 22, 1943, in Falmouth, Massachusetts. She passed away on August 28, 2021, at the age of 76 in Emporia, Kansas. She was the child of Rose Johns (nee Ferrara) and Arthur Winn. Nina had a twin sister who died soon after birth.

Nina’s mother, Rosie, divorced and then remarried Arthur (Bo) Johns. Nina enjoyed a wonderful few years growing up in Cape Cod with her extended Portuguese family. Her fascination with bugs and animals was noted even back then by her godmother, Ida DePrizio. Nina then moved to Osawatomie, Kansas with her mom and dad. She lived there for the rest of her childhood and teenage years. A loving wife, mother, and grandmother, she will be remembered for her fanatical love of daylilies, collecting things, animals, and her family. She had many friends all over the country thanks to her many interests.

Nina earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology at Kansas State Teachers College, now Emporia State University. She began teaching junior high biology in Osawatomie not long after and was known for her devotion to her students and her subject. She was also remembered as being quite strict but always fair. She remained friends with one of her students, April Buckman, for the rest of her life.

Nina loved traveling, seeing zoos, gardens, national parks, and natural wonders of all kinds. She was an avid museum goer and collected artwork and crafts of all kinds. Her travels, with her family and alone, took her all over the US and to England, France, Belgium, and even the Amazon rainforest.

She was an expert gardener, working as a groundskeeper at ESU and at Davies nursery in Emporia for years. Finally, she moved on to creating her own multi-acre garden out at Toad Hollow Daylily Farm, east of Emporia. Becoming a recognized Master gardener, she shared her garden with everyone through annual tours, wonderful birthday parties for all the grandkids, occasional weddings, and a great high school reunion for her husband Gaylord. Her collections of fossils, animals, art, dolls and anything else that struck her fancy grew into the space. Anyone who was lucky enough to get an invite into the depths of the barn or house might not be surprised to find Citizen Kane’s sled, Rosebud, tucked in the rafters.

She is survived by her son, Caleb West; her daughter, Tracy Hurd; and her grandchildren, Mackenzie and Taryn West and Connor and Palmer Hurd. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gaylord West, and her daughter, Becky West.

(2) comments


I am so very sad to hear this about Nina. We have known each other for many years. In fact, once she told me years ago that she was Portuguese, we hugged when I told her I was too. Forever after, she would say that she and I were the only two Portuguese in Emporia. Oh I am so sad to lose such a talented woman, devoted to her crafts and many interests. I have an occasional table in my living room that I got from her antique store when she had it open. I always think of her when I polish it. RIP Nina, I shall think of something to do in your vast and wonderful memory. Now there is only one of us Portuguese left in Emporia. I am in tears. God bless the family.

Joan Parks

So sorry to find out about Nina....we were neighbors when they lived at Lake Kahola and spent many fun 4th of July together....such a talented woman! My prayers for her family...💙💙. ....

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