NEEDHAM, Martha Elaine (Riley), age 75, formerly of Shawnee, Kansas passed away April 3, 2022.  She was a graduate of Shawnee Mission East High School, received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, Two Master’s Degrees: Urban Management from Kansas University and Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri at Kansas City,  an Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum & Instruction, and a Doctor of Philosophy including: Curriculum & Instruction, Public Affairs and Administration, and the Social Sciences from the University of Missouri at Kansas City.  Elaine previously owned and operated a home-based consulting service to locate and facilitate funding sources for private business, government and nonprofit organizations. She taught American Government, American History, Public Administration, Political Science and Management in the Kansas City Missouri School District, Kansas City Kansas Community College, Penn Valley Community College, Avila and University of Missouri at Kansas City. Elaine authored many publications, participated as an Olathe City Council Member, worked with the Olathe Community Theatre Association, Kansas City Renaissance Festival, numerous Chambers of Commerce, Kansas City Teaching Fellow and was a member of Pi Lambda Theta, among many other professional associations. She was an active member in: The Retired City Managers group, the Director of the Urban Research Foundation and served as one of the first female City Managers in Kansas. Elaine’s talents were many and she was an extremely accomplished teacher, academic, public servant, mother, Grandmother, Great-grandmother, sister, aunt, Great aunt and friend who loved to entertain.  She was an advocate for disadvantaged populations. She had a vision that through education, revitalization, equity and social justice, underserved urban populations could thrive. Preceded in death by her parents: Louis and Lorrain Yulich, Charles Riley, Sr., and sister Pamela Yulich. She is survived in death by John Michael Needham, son, Kelly Smith, daughter, five grandchildren: Kaylan Eastland and her husband James, Aiden, Colin, Piper and Trinity, three great-grandchildren: Brody, Max-Amelia and Finnegan, Siblings: Charles Riley, Jr. and his wife Julie, Suzanne Royer, Cynthia Yulich-Ray and her husband Thomas, Vivian West and her husband Rick, Grace Weinrich and her husband Steve and numerous nephews, nieces and friends. Friends and Family will celebrate Elaine’s life on Saturday, April 9, 2022 at 10:00AM at Shawnee Presbyterian Church located at: 6837 Nieman Rd., Shawnee, KS 66203.  The family would like to express thanks for the wonderful help and care given by Medicalodge of Eudora and Interim Healthcare hospice services.  If desired, memorial contributions can be made in her memory to Keep Her Safe at: or Urban Research Foundationat: First National Bank of Omaha at 6301 Pflumm Rd. Shawnee, KS 66216:

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