Patricia Wormhoudt, noted interior designer, ‘lived life with panache’

03/26/2014 10:40 AM

03/26/2014 4:02 PM

It is not often that a longtime Wichitan is described as having “panache.”

But Ann Garvey is willing to use that word in describing family friend Patricia Sorenson Wormhoudt.

Mrs. Wormhoudt, an interior designer for some of Wichita’s most prominent families, owner of the Design Studio and a former model at the Innes Department Store, died Tuesday. She was 79.

A funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Wichita Center for the Arts.

“She lived life with panache,” Garvey said. “She was very sophisticated in her style, look and manner. She educated my eye in terms of design.”

Patricia Sorenson was born on Oct. 25, 1934, in San Bernardino, Calif., according to her daughter, Lizanne Guthrie of Wichita. Her father was a railroad worker, and the family moved frequently.

“She attended three different schools in third grade,” Guthrie said.

Mrs. Wormhoudt graduated from high school in Clovis, N.M., before her parents moved to Topeka, where she attended Washburn University.

It was in Topeka where she met her first husband, Gerald Blood. The couple were married in 1953.

For a time, he served in the Naval Reserve in Kansas City and she attended the Kansas City Art Institute. After his stint in the service ended, the couple moved to the Blood family farm on South Broadway, where they had four children together before divorcing. She then married Gerrit Wormhoudt, a Wichita attorney.

In the mid-1960s, Mrs. Wormhoudt began working with John Coultis, a prominent Wichita interior designer. And, at that time, Mrs. Wormhoudt and her sister Karen Marcus would frequently model designer clothing for the Innes Department Store.

“She was a very beautiful, striking woman,” Guthrie said. “She had a way of making every space she touched more beautiful and welcoming.

“I remember when she and Karen modeled back in the 1960s. I remember sitting in the Innes Tea Room and watching them up on the runway. They were two of the best models.”

In the early 1980s, Mrs. Wormhoudt purchased an old gas station at 2820 E. Central and renovated it into the Design Studio. In 1982, she received the Orchid Award from the Kansas Society of Architects for those renovations.

According to Garvey, Mrs. Wormhoudt was a nationally known and respected residential designer for houses in Florida, Arizona, Texas, California and other states. She also designed the interior spaces for the Kansas Health Foundation and the Murfin Center for the Kansas Humane Society. She was a longtime board member for the Humane Society.

Mrs. Wormhoudt is survived by four children, Jennifer Blood of Phoenix; Lizanne Guthrie of Wichita; Gilman Blood of Overland Park; and Trina Blood of Kansas City, Mo.; four grandchildren; nephew Matthew Marcus of Kansas City, Kan.; and stepdaughter Julie Wormhoudt of Denver.

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