December 17, 2022
By Kathy Smith
Klonda Lightfoot Holt came into my life in the early 2000s. At that time she was a member of a local quilting group called the Bohemian Art Quilters. The members besides Holt were Cathy Wright, Cheri Rabourn, Jane Kennedy, and Joann Farley. These talented ladies wanted to do a quilt project that featured some of the historic buildings in downtown Lee’s Summit. They asked me if I had any historic photos that they could use as a template for their quilt. I was able to help them out. They created the piece and it could not have turned out more beautiful. They exhibited the quilt around the state.
The quilt was donated by the group to the Lee’s Summit History Museum where it is on display. It was installed over a doorway that leads to the Vogue Room.
I had the pleasure of enjoying a delicious Chinese lunch with Holt at Aikou in Valle Vista Plaza. I just love talking to this beautiful country girl.
Being a city slicker, hearing how country kids grew up is fascinating to me.
Holt was born and raised in Lee’s Summit. Her dad, Howard Lightfoot owned land in Lone Jack and on Blackwell Road. He was a well-known cattle and horseman. Lightfoot was known for his prize-winning Quarter Horses. His farm had once been one of the many farms in Jackson County that provided a work site for German prisoners of war. Italian prisoners of war were also located on many farms. Both the Germans and the Italians were part of an exchange between Great Britain and the United States to fill in for Americans who were fighting in WW11. There were around 450,000 of these POWs in America.
Holt grew up doing the entire chores farm kids do. It took the whole family to run the farm. Holt remembers big trucks of cattle being brought to the Lightfoot farm. She also remembers her address; Rt. 4 Box 55. Holt is very proud of her dad. Whenever she speaks of him her eyes light up. He was part of that great group of what we call “old timers” now who ate at the Hollywood Cross. Those colorful men talked about the price of seed, livestock, and other things important to running a farm. They also shared some great stories, according to Holt.
Holt went to Mason Elementary School and Lee’s Summit High School. She is a proud graduate of 1965.
During her high school years, she was involved in 4-H. She competed in beef and horsemanship. She was also a Barn Warming Queen. By the way, she is still a beauty. There is a certain vibrancy about Holt that radiates from her great smile. She got married and had a daughter whose name is Wendy Pruitt. She is a teacher. Holt has a handsome grandson named Zachary who attends Lee’s Summit West High School. He is on the wrestling team and is very interested in history.
Every year Holt takes Zachary on a history trip. He gets to pick the location. What a great grandmother she is.
Holt has many talents but her real claim to fame is quilting. She met a woman named Avery Rogers who taught her how to quilt. She was part of a group of young ladies who May Howard took under her wing to teach them quilting. Howard was married to the grandson of William B. Howard, the founder of our city. These ladies became part of Lee’s Summit Quilters Guild. This guild has done a lot of great things for our community. They make Quilts of Honor that honor the military. They also donate their time and talent to various philanthropies to help these groups raise money. Holt has donated quilts to various food pantries and schools in southern Missouri. She also made a quilt dedicated to the Younger Family which features pictures of Cole Younger and several family members. This quilt has been installed as a major exhibit in the St. Clair County Museum in Osceola, Missouri.
Ed Taylor is her handsome significant other. He is in car clubs and had restored many vintage cars over the years. Holt and Taylor do a lot of traveling for his car shows. Holt teaches and does custom quilting for folks. Her beautiful quilts have been exhibited in various museums including the Lee’s Summit History Museum.
I believe that quilts tell a story in fabric and precious stitches. Every quilt that Holt makes reflects her charm, talent, and colorful personality.