OLATHE, Kan. — If you’ve sewn on a button, patched a hole, or hemmed your pants, you know it’s not an easy fix.
Marcia Rider, a beloved Olathe seamstress, made it look like this.
For Sheila Newbanks, Rider’s daughter, the sewing machine draws memories of her late mother.
“We’d get the patterns, I’d help her cut them out, she’d sew them all together,” Newbanks said.
For more than 30 years, Rider has been responsible for the modifications and stitches of every patch for the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Med-Act, the Olathe Police and the Olathe Fire.
At age 90, Rider retired, moving away from her sewing machine.
“I’ve been here 29 years, and when you first get hired in the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, they take your uniforms, pants, tops, and they tell you to go see Marcia,” said Sgt. Jesse Valdez, of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
Newbanks spoke about the love her mother had for law enforcement.
“He loved the men and women of law enforcement,” Newbanks said.
Valdez said Rider handled nearly a thousand uniforms and, despite the workload, was always happy to help.
“She would take in, she would take out, whatever we would need to happen — she would help,” Valdez said. “Whether you were a sworn employee or a civilian employee, she took care of you.”
Valdez recalled that Rider’s shop on Olathe Square often saw hundreds of visitors, who chatted about life, work and the University of Kansas.
“It was kind of a barber shop for us,” he said.
Valdez remembers Rider adjusting his bulletproof vest.
“A legend of Olathe,” Valdez said. “She wanted her kids to look good, and we did—we owe it to Marcia.”
Newbanks said he treated law enforcement officers as if they were members of his own family.
“He wanted to take care of them like his own children,” Newbanks said. “She wanted to keep them safe and that was the only way she could figure out how to do it.”
Newbanks said her mother passed peacefully last weekend.
“It was an honor to serve with her — she served, she had a heart for service,” Valdez said.
The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will escort Rider’s body with tagged units from the funeral home to his grave on Wednesday.