National Orphan Train Complex Unveils New Rider Statue at Cloudville in Concordia

By Toby Nosker
KNCK News Director

The National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia partnered with the Concordia Rotary Club Thursday, February 16th to unveil the 7th statue in their ongoing Orphan Train Rider Statue Project that matches businesses in Concordia with a bronze statue that pays tribute to an Orphan Train rider.

The new statue, which was placed outside of Cloudville in the Concordia City Park, honors Roberta "Happy" Slifer, who was born October 17, 1921, in New York, New York. She and her siblings were placed into an orphanage in Bath, New York. From the orphanage, they were put on an orphan train in 1924. Roberta (at that time known as Alberta) was adopted by Walter and Anna Work of Windom, Kansas. Roberta graduated high school at Windom, and worked as a switchboard operator.

She married LeRoy Miller in 1943, and they had one child, Charlotte. Miller died in 1958. She married Cecil Slifer in 1960, and they made their home in Marion, Kansas. He died in 1992. Roberta passed away October 14, 2014.

It was during extensive hospital stays for illnesses that she was given the nickname "Happy" because of her positive outlook.

Slifer's granddaughter Julie Scheideman told KNCK News Thursday they're thrilled with the statue.

The statues come from the Randolph Rose Collection in Yonkers, New York, a family-owned and operated company that specializes in handmade bronze garden sculpture, statues, fountains and accessories for home, garden and public spaces. They place their collection of Bronze Statuary with Libraries, Municipalities, Schools, Parks, Recreation Facilities, Art Galleries, Retailers, Builders, Designers, Landscape Architects, Golf Facilities, Charitable Organizations and Private Home Owners.

Next Thursday, February 23rd at 5:15 pm, the National Orphan Train Complex in Concordia will unveil their 8th Orphan Train Rider statue in memory of Father Paul Fangman. The statue, which is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the Altar Society and a private donor, will be located at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church.