Hillsboro – Johnnie Liles, 75, died November 13, 2017 at St. John’s Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was born July 16, 1942 in Wichita to George and LaVon (Norberry) Liles. He married Virgielee Hiebert April 6, 1963 in Hillsboro. After Virgielees passing in 2002, Johnnie married Rhonda Epp June 23, 2012 in Hillsboro. He was City Superintendent of Hillsboro. Survivors include: wife, Rhonda Liles of Grove, Oklahoma; sons, Christopher Jon Liles, John Ashley Liles, step sons, Scott Paul Neufeld, Kevin Matthew Neufeld; daughters, Stacey Lehigh McMahan, step daughters Laura Lorraine Hendricks, Amy LeeAnn White; many grandchildren and many great grandchildren. Celebration of Life 1:30 p.m. Saturday, November 18, 2017 at First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro. Memorials to First Mennonite Church in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro, KS 67063. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com
Life Sketch taken from the Funeral Bulletin
Johnnie Edward Liles was born on July 16, 1942, he spent his childhood in Wichita, KS while spending his summers with Norberry cousins in Hume and Nevada, MO area where his parents George and LaVon Liles grew up. During his early highschool years his family moved to Hillsboro, KS for work where he met Virgielee Hiebert at the Hillsboro City pool in 1958. He recalled being smitten and doing a lot of ‘cruising’ in his yellow ’57 Chevy, driving back and forth on Grand Ave past Virgie’s house. He joined the Air Force in 1961 to serve his country and set direction in his life, but couldn’t forget about Virgie. They were married in 1963 at First Mennonite Church in Hillsboro and left for Germany to finish his Air Force service.
Following his Honorable Discharge, he and Virgie and first child Stacey settled in Hillsboro living with Virgie’s parents Herb and Clara Hiebert while helping renovate the ‘big yellow house’ on Ash Street into their first home in Hillsboro. The family grew with the addition of Christopher and John Ashley and lived there for the next 10 years before moving to other homes.
Johnnie was a jack of all trades kind of guy, he was intelligent and a hard worker. One of his early jobs was as a mail carrier for USPS, the people on his route were appreciative of his earlier than scheduled deliveries because he was a fast walker. He learned the skill of carpentry from Virgie’s father Herb which served him well throughout his life; he worked for many months renovating portions of the Marion County Courthouse, helped build and repair houses and always had projects in the works. Johnnie was also an auto and boat mechanic, welder; he could wire, heat and plumb buildings, and make or repair most anything. He was a longtime Jaycee active in civic projects such as providing playground equipment at Memorial Park or building a dunk tank that became a fixture at the Marion County Fair as a fund-raising device. He worked at Turtle Top on Main and served as Hillsboro City Superintendent for many years taking pride in his work for the City of Hillsboro. He never shied from jumping into a ditch or street project with the crews he oversaw to help the work along. He eventually became his own boss and worked as a handyman.
One of his favorite past times was camping at Marion County Reservoir where many weekends the family’s renovated 1953 bus camper could be seen parked at French Creek Cove on ‘Liles’ point. The family enjoyed water skiing, riding motorcycles and sharing time with friends around camp fires. He built a sandrail (dunebuggy) for fun, and painted everything a coordinated orange, cream and black to match his Glastron boat which is the same model James Bond used in the 1972 movie Live and Let Die.
Johnnie and Virgie enjoyed gardening together and watching their grandkids come and go and grow up. His beloved wife Virgie died in 2002 from complications due to MS.
In 2012 Johnnie married Rhonda Epp and moved to Grove, OK to retirement life near Grand Lake ‘O the Cherokees. He suffered a stroke in February 2017 and lived with his son Chris for the last four months of his life lakeside.
Johnnie was preceeded in death by his parents George and LaVon Liles and his sister Lila Lea. He is survived by his wife Rhonda, daughter Stacey McMahan, sons Christopher and John Ashley, stepsons Scott Paul Neufeld, Kevin Matthew Neufeld and stepdaughters,Laura Lorraine Hendricks and Amy LeeAnn White along with many grandchildren and great grandchildren that love him and will remember him as the ornery and smiley grandpa.