Obituary photo of Ute Mueller, Dove-KS
In Loving Memory of

Ute Margueretta Katharina Mueller

1957 - 2022
Obituary photo of Ute Mueller, Dove-KS
In Loving Memory of

Ute Margueretta Katharina Mueller

1957 - 2022
Ute Margueretta Katharina Mueller (“oo’ tay”), age 64, of Topeka, Kansas passed on Friday, June 10, 2022, after a long battle with Atypical Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and resulting pneumonia. She died peacefully at home surrounded by family, close friends, and her four-legged children.

Ute was born July 9, 1957, in Neuses, West Germany to Sophie (Mueller) Bodnar and was raised by her grandmother there. She later was reunited with her mother and enjoyed a loving relationship with her and her stepfather, Jan Bodnar. She first came to the United States as a child, living in New Jersey. She became a U.S. citizen on October 24, 1980, and served in the U.S. Army, settling in Kansas after being stationed at Fort Riley. Achieving accolades as a “Super Troop” she advanced her interest in cooking and was known in her company as a top chef. She also attended Washburn University.

Ute was well-known locally as a medical massage therapist who owned her own business, Over the Rainbow, for many years. She commonly was referred workers’ comp patients by doctors who valued her skills. She also was the inventor and creator of “Utemoto,” a massage tool designed for people with disabilities and for her clients to treat themselves between visits to her office. Utemoto sold on QVC and was endorsed widely by medical practitioners.

More than 30 years ago, she met Karen Hastings of Topeka and they later married both in a commitment ceremony before gay marriage was legal in Kansas, and then were among the first to be married here after it was legalized. Together, they championed gay rights and worked to advocate that agenda.

Ute made a positive difference in her community. She was known for her never-flagging optimism, her desire to help those less fortunate, and her honest and straightforward integrity. Her infectious sense of humor quickly made her a favorite of the doctors and nurses at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, where she received treatment.

She was an avid fisherwoman, morel hunter, chef, and fix-it person who loved to research, create, and fix built and mechanical structures. She and wife Karen renovated the historic Morgan home at 14th and Harrison (built by Joab Mulvane as a wedding present for his daughter), achieving registered historic landmark status for it. Allied with Karen’s theater pursuits, she won the prestigious Platinum Prize Telly Award (the highest Public Broadcasting System’s television award) for her Foley work in It’s A Wonderful Life by creating the sound machine used in the televised production. Vice President of American Regional Theatre Society (ARTS, Inc.), she was a member of the Karen Hastings Players and played the role of Mrs. Slade for eight seasons in Dale Easton’s “The Drunkard,” the longest-running play in Topeka theater history. She was a founding member of Topeka’s Battered Women Task Force and instrumental in working with Topeka’s mayor and police force to initiate new protocols.

She is survived by her wife, Karen Hastings of Topeka, Kansas; sisters-in-law Kate Hastings (Topeka, Kansas), Shelley Pittman (Orlando, Florida), and Shirley Hastings (Orlando, Florida); nieces Kat Magerkurth (Phoenix, Arizona), Shellbie Blodgett (Topeka, Kansas), and Jenni Pittman (Orlando, Florida); great-nieces Bella Rosales (Phoenix, Arizona) and Jayden Blodgett (Topeka, Kansas); and great nephews Joaquin Rosales (Phoenix, Arizona) and Austin Pittman Manos (Orlando, Florida). She was preceded in death by her mother and stepfather Sophie and Jan Bodnar of Garfield, New Jersey. She also is survived by two unofficially adopted daughters whom she watched over, Carol Douglas of Prairie Village, Kansas and Rhiannon Miller of Ventura, California. Ute’s family expresses deep gratitude for friends who were helpers and personal caregivers over the last two years and who were with her during her passing, Fred Salazar, Wayne Frahm, Chris Waugh, and Pat Wilden of Topeka, Kansas.

Celebration of life plans will be announced at a later date, once they are finalized. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in Ute’s name to the battered women’s shelter program at the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment, 225 SW 12th Street, Topeka, KS 66612; the Helping Hands Humane Society, 5720 SW 21st Street, Topeka, Kansas, 66604-3720; or the Equality House, 1200 SW Orleans Street, Topeka, KS 66604.

To share your memories of Ute or to leave a special condolence message for her family, please click the Share Memories button above.
Ute Margueretta Katharina Mueller (“oo’ tay”), age 64, of Topeka, Kansas passed on Friday, June 10, 2022, after a long battle with Atypical Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and resulting pneumonia. She died peacefully at home surrounded by family, close friends, and her four-legged children.

Ute was born July 9, 1957, in Neuses, West Germany to Sophie (Mueller) Bodnar and was raised by her grandmother there. She later was reunited with her mother and enjoyed a loving relationship with her and her stepfather, Jan Bodnar. She first came to the United States as a child, living in New Jersey. She became a U.S. citizen on October 24, 1980, and served in the U.S. Army, settling in Kansas after being stationed at Fort Riley. Achieving accolades as a “Super Troop” she advanced her interest in cooking and was known in her company as a top chef. She also attended Washburn University.

Ute was well-known locally as a medical massage therapist who owned her own business, Over the Rainbow, for many years. She commonly was referred workers’ comp patients by doctors who valued her skills. She also was the inventor and creator of “Utemoto,” a massage tool designed for people with disabilities and for her clients to treat themselves between visits to her office. Utemoto sold on QVC and was endorsed widely by medical practitioners.

More than 30 years ago, she met Karen Hastings of Topeka and they later married both in a commitment ceremony before gay marriage was legal in Kansas, and then were among the first to be married here after it was legalized. Together, they championed gay rights and worked to advocate that agenda.

Ute made a positive difference in her community. She was known for her never-flagging optimism, her desire to help those less fortunate, and her honest and straightforward integrity. Her infectious sense of humor quickly made her a favorite of the doctors and nurses at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas, where she received treatment.

She was an avid fisherwoman, morel hunter, chef, and fix-it person who loved to research, create, and fix built and mechanical structures. She and wife Karen renovated the historic Morgan home at 14th and Harrison (built by Joab Mulvane as a wedding present for his daughter), achieving registered historic landmark status for it. Allied with Karen’s theater pursuits, she won the prestigious Platinum Prize Telly Award (the highest Public Broadcasting System’s television award) for her Foley work in It’s A Wonderful Life by creating the sound machine used in the televised production. Vice President of American Regional Theatre Society (ARTS, Inc.), she was a member of the Karen Hastings Players and played the role of Mrs. Slade for eight seasons in Dale Easton’s “The Drunkard,” the longest-running play in Topeka theater history. She was a founding member of Topeka’s Battered Women Task Force and instrumental in working with Topeka’s mayor and police force to initiate new protocols.

She is survived by her wife, Karen Hastings of Topeka, Kansas; sisters-in-law Kate Hastings (Topeka, Kansas), Shelley Pittman (Orlando, Florida), and Shirley Hastings (Orlando, Florida); nieces Kat Magerkurth (Phoenix, Arizona), Shellbie Blodgett (Topeka, Kansas), and Jenni Pittman (Orlando, Florida); great-nieces Bella Rosales (Phoenix, Arizona) and Jayden Blodgett (Topeka, Kansas); and great nephews Joaquin Rosales (Phoenix, Arizona) and Austin Pittman Manos (Orlando, Florida). She was preceded in death by her mother and stepfather Sophie and Jan Bodnar of Garfield, New Jersey. She also is survived by two unofficially adopted daughters whom she watched over, Carol Douglas of Prairie Village, Kansas and Rhiannon Miller of Ventura, California. Ute’s family expresses deep gratitude for friends who were helpers and personal caregivers over the last two years and who were with her during her passing, Fred Salazar, Wayne Frahm, Chris Waugh, and Pat Wilden of Topeka, Kansas.

Celebration of life plans will be announced at a later date, once they are finalized. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributions in Ute’s name to the battered women’s shelter program at the YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment, 225 SW 12th Street, Topeka, KS 66612; the Helping Hands Humane Society, 5720 SW 21st Street, Topeka, Kansas, 66604-3720; or the Equality House, 1200 SW Orleans Street, Topeka, KS 66604.

To share your memories of Ute or to leave a special condolence message for her family, please click the Share Memories button above.

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