WHITEWATER – Alvin Merle Claassen, age 79, entered heaven on January 8, 2017, at Wheat State Manor in Whitewater. He was born on December 3, 1937, to Henry and Elsie (Claassen) Claassen of rural Whitewater. His grade school years were spent in the one- room Claypool School House 3/4 of a mile from his home. His high school years were completed at Berean Academy and he attended Grace Bible Institute for one semester. He accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior as a youth, was baptized and became a member of the Emmaus Mennonite Church, where he remained a faithful member until his death.
In the spring of 1956, Alvin began a two-year 1W program, an alternative to military service, at the KU Medical Center pathology laboratory in Kansas City. It was during this time that he met Elaine Bechtel, a student at Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, who was also in Kansas City, studying for three months at Children’s Mercy Hospital. At the end of these two years, he turned down a permanent job offer to work in the pathology lab. He chose to return home to farm with his Dad.
On April 10, 1960, Alvin and Elaine were married in the Deer Creek Mennonite Church in Deer Creek, Oklahoma. They established their home in rural Whitewater, where he farmed with his father, Henry and then his son, Gary. He was happiest when working and was not even considering retirement, when in October of 2014, he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.
In addition to farming, Alvin served the church and community in many capacities. He served several terms on the church relief committee, which included a number of years as chairman of the Newton Area Meat Canning Project, a relief program to provide food for needs around the world. He was also an insurance secretary for 15 years with Mennonite Property Aid Association, served several terms on the Board of Directors for Wheat State Manor and was on the Board of Trustees for the Benton Volunteer Fire Department District 7 for 38 years.
He also enjoyed 39 years of working for Murdock Township. This involved maintaining 52 miles of gravel and dirt roads with regular grading, hauling rock and pushing snow, a job that sometimes meant working all night so everyone else could get out in the morning. At the same time, he was elected to the Township Board for 32 years.
All these accomplishments meant far less to him than his nearly 57 years of marriage to Elaine and the family they raised. Four children were born to this union of Alvin and Elaine, Michael, Denise, Gary and Warren.
His health began to deteriorate in late 2016, when the weekly chemotherapy treatments could no longer control the spread of the cancer. He passed from this world with family at his side and entered the Kingdom of God.
Alvin leaves behind, to remember his life, his wife Elaine; son Michael and wife Stahli of Newton; daughter Denise Olson and husband Paul of Chariton, Iowa; son Gary and wife Carrie of Whitewater; and son Warren and wife Kelly of Wichita. Twelve grandchildren: Emma, Alice and Payne Claassen; Katherine (Bob) Snider of Overland Park, Kansas; Bethany (Joseph) Cherri of Joplin, Missouri; Sarah (Andrew) Alton of Mexico, Missouri; Caleb Olson and fiancée Sarah Hammock both of Mexico, Missouri; Morgan, Jacob and Evan Claassen; Keegan and Kaden Claassen; two great-grandchildren, Hayden Snider and William Cherri; one brother-in-law, Norman Ratzlaff and one sister-in-law, Sue Bechtel.
He was preceded in death by his parents Henry and Elsie, his sister Wynona and her husband Walter Entz, one brother-in-law Howard Bechtel, one sister-in-law Wanda Ratzlaff and one niece Eileen Doran.
All services will be held at Emmaus Mennonite Church of Whitewater, with the Visitation held from 6 – 8 p.m., Wednesday, and the Funeral Service to be held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, January 12, 2017. The Interment will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, at the Emmaus Cemetery. A Memorial Fund has been established for Wheat State Manor in care of Lamb Funeral Home, 120 S Main, Whitewater, KS, 67154. Online Condolences may be left at www.zeinerfuneralhomes.com.
Beulah M. Priem, 88, passed away Monday, January 9th, in Abilene. She was born May 29, 1928 in Abilene, the daughter of Rufus H. and Pearl W. (Oldham) Hawk. Growing up in Abilene, Beulah attended local schools and graduated from Abilene High School with the class of 1946. On February 21, 1948, she was married to William H. Priem. All of their married life was spent in Abilene. Beulah had been employed by the A&P in Abilene. In 1971, she and Bill built and then operated Priem’s Pride Best Western Motel. He preceded her in death in 1981. Beulah continued to operate the motel until retiring in 1994. She and her sister, Loretta, enjoyed collecting bisque and china antique dolls. Beulah was also preceded in death by: daughter, Tammy Sue Moore; sister, Loretta Moore and three brothers, Verlyn, Delmar and Orville Hawk.
She is survived by: son, William S. (Ronda) Priem of Hutchinson and grandson, William A. (Rachel) Priem of Dallas, Texas.
Funeral services will be held 10:00 AM Wednesday, January 11th, at the Abilene First Christian Church with Rev. Jason Kohler officiating. Interment will follow in the Abilene Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions in her name be made to the Abilene First Christian Church. They may be left a the Church the day of the service or left at or sent in care of the Danner Funeral Home POB 758 Abilene, Kansas 67410.
Corrine Marie Thompson, 80, passed from this life on Sunday, January 08, 2017 surrounded by her family at her home in Beloit, Kansas. She was born March 26, 1936 to John E. and Marie Winterberg in Cincinnati, OH. She attended Miltonvale Wesleyan College where she met Oris. Corrine and Oris were married on April 6, 1956 and four daughters were born to this union; Rita Doreen, Priscilla Marie, Tamera Jean and Melody Kay. Corrine was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2002. She was known as a miracle from living 14 years beyond this diagnosis. In 2013, she was struck with apical ballooning cardiomyopathy a.k.a Broken Heart Syndrome. These both were testaments of her strength which came from her faith and knowledge of an eternal home in Heaven. Left to celebrate her life and mourn her passing are her husband, Oris E.; daughters Priscilla (Brian) Stillwell and Tammy (Steve) Krier, son-in-law Bruce Cooper all of Beloit and 7 grandchildren: Kristi (Jeremy) Adams, Brandon (Julie) Stillwell, Amanda (Joe) Thiessen, Ashton and Alijah Krier, Alex and Porsche Cooper and 6 great-grandchildren: Oakleigh, Quinn and Logan Adams; Lilly Stillwell; Aspen and Bowen Thiessen. Siblings: Marion (Lois) Winterberg, Kathleen (Dan) Baer, Ivan (Julie) Winterberg. She was preceded in death by her parents; two daughters, Rita Ledbetter and Melody Cooper and two sisters, Clarice Palmer and Anita Schindler.
Memorial services will be at 11 AM Thursday, January 12 at the Beloit First United Methodist Church. Cremation has been chosen & there will be no visitation. Memorials may go to the Church or Solomon Valley Hospice.
Donald Dewayne “Donnie” Becker, 77, of McPherson, Kansas, passed away at 1:14 p.m., Friday, January 6th, 2017 while in the company of family members, at Hutchinson Regional Medical Center, Hutchinson, Kansas.
Donnie was born in Bessie, Oklahoma on October 17, 1939, a son of Edna (Sween) Becker-Miller and Sam Becker.
Donnie attended the Enterprise Elementary School and graduated from Enterprise High School, Enterprise, Kansas in 1957. He then attended Airline Pilot Training at Fort Worth, Texas and Salina, Kansas.
He attended Marquette United Methodist Church Marquette, Kansas and was a member of the Hope United Methodist Church for several years.
Donnie honorably served his Country in the U.S. Army as a Sgt E-5.
Donnie started working for the Rock Island Railroad in Herington, Kansas, then worked for Southern Pacific and retired on October 1, 2001 after 44 years as a Conductor for the Union Pacific Railroad. He then worked as a Corporate Pilot for many companies around Hutchinson and Salina, Kansas.
Donnie was a member of United Transportation Union; a member of the Masonic Lodge in Hope, Kansas; was a member of the American Legion Post 24, McPherson, served on the board of directors for Central Kansas Credit Union, and was a member of several Aviation organizations. Don loved Flying, his whole family, camping, fishing, traveling, and cooking out back on his grill.
Donald Dewayne “Donnie” Becker was united in marriage to Shirley Darlene Findley on June 9, 1967 at Fredonia, Kansas. The young couple established their first home together in Hope, Kansas.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 50 years, Shirley D. Becker, of McPherson, Kansas; his son Greg K. Pendlay and his wife Karen, of Emporia, Kansas; his brother Sam Becker Jr. and his wife Vickie, of Herington, Kansas; two grandchildren, Meredith Wagner and her husband Jake and Michelle Pendlay; many nieces and nephews, other relatives and a host of friends
Donnie was preceded in death by his parents; his step-father, Raymond Miller; and his brother, Leland Becker.
The memorial and celebration of life service will be held at 1:00 p.m., on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at the Wellness Center at the Cedars Health Care Center with Pastor Sharon Thomas officiating. Please dress casual and bring your favorite Donnie story.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hetlinger Developmental Services of Emporia, Kansas or Kansas Honor Flight in memory of Donnie and they can be sent in care of the Glidden – Ediger Funeral Home; 222 West Euclid Street; McPherson, Kansas 67460.
Michael C. Musick of Wakeeney, KS passed away Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at his home after a short illness at the age of 63. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa, June 15, 1953 to Clifford and Gwyneth (Miller) Musick. On July 17, 1992 He married Madeline Dreiling (formerly of Hoxie, KS) in Conifer, Colorado.
Mike was a talented carpenter who could build or design almost anything. He served as Construction Superintendent on many jobs as well as being self-employed.
Mike is survived by his wife Madeline of the home in Wakeeney; sisters, Linda Shonhorn, Dianne Holford, and Cecile Tripp; two step-daughters, Marlys McConnell and Amanda Joy Johnson both of Bellevue, Washington; Step-grandchildren, Christopher McConnell and Julian Jensen.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clifford & Gwyneth Musick; brother, Kevin Musick, and Step-grandson, Andrew McConnell.
A memorial service and private family inurnment is being planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers Memorials are suggested to Julian Jensen Education fund and may be sent in care of Mickey-Leopold Funeral Home, PO Box 987, Hoxie, Kansas 67740. On-line condolences may be left at www.mickeyleopoldfuneral.com.
L. Irene Renken, 92, passed away Friday, January 6, 2017 at Downs, Kansas. She was born on November 8, 1924 to Otto and Olive (Lundquist) Nelson near Scandia, Kansas. She graduated from Scandia High School and received her BS in nursing from Nebraska Wesleyan University.
On October 19, 1952, she married Floyd Renken and moved to their farm north of Downs. She was a mother to five children, Kathryn, David, Daniel, Steven and Stuart.
Survivors: husband, Floyd, Downs, daughter Kathy Briscoe, Beloit, sons Steve
of Salina, Dan, Dave (Mary Lynn) Downs. Grandchildren Sherah McCurry, Kansas City, Wade Briscoe, Seattle, Washington, Rachel Renken, Wichita, Hannah Renken, Eureka, Teah Renken, Joliet, Illinois, Alexander Renken and Shayne Renken, Downs, Briana (Drew) Ford, Louisburg, brothers, Harold (Evelyn) McPherson, Bertil (Marge) Nelson, Belleville and sister –in-law, Hazel Petty, Smith Center.
She was preceded in death by her parents, infant son, Stuart, three brothers and two sisters.
Memorial Service will be held at Downs United Methodist Church at 11 AM Friday, January 13, 2017. There will be no visitation. Memorials to Downs UMC and Solomon Valley Hospice C/O Domoney Funeral Home, Box 127, Downs.