SURPRISE, Ariz. - Virgil L. Smith of Surprise, Ariz., left this life March 13, after 85 adventurous and happy years. He was well known in the Pawnee Rock area as a rural mail carrier and, also, served as postmaster, insurance agent, and tax preparer. He was married to his wife, Joan, for 62 years.
OTIS - Timothy William Funk, 57, died March 29 at Clara Barton Hospital, Hoisington. He was born June 2, 1955, at Hoisington, the son of Leonard and Mary Ann (Younger) Funk. He was a graduate of Hoisington High School. He worked at Galatia Coop, for LaVern Becker, American Trailers, and Essex, but his greatest love was being a farmer and cattleman his entire life.
VICTORIA - Mary Jane (Weigel) Miller, 85, died March 29 at her home in Victoria. She was born April 1, 1927, in Victoria, to Joseph C. and Catherine (Paul) Weigel. She married Gilbert J. Miller on Feb. 1, 1949, in Victoria. He died April 15, 2006.
Mary Jane Dickens, 86, died March 28 at Cherry Village Nursing Home in Great Bend. Born Oct. 29, 1926, in Ozark, Mo., she was the daughter of Luther Alexander and Ruby Mildred (Nix) Young. On Oct. 12, 1946, she married Preston Maynard Dickens Jr. in Pratt. He died on Jan. 29, 2002. A Great Bend resident since 1953, coming from Pratt and Ozark, Mo., she owned and operated Mary Jane's Sewing Center for 30 years, retiring in 2004. She loved reading her Bible daily, working find-a-word puzzles, playing Bingo at Cherry Village and watching KU basketball.
GORHAM - LaVernne Johnson, 76, died March 27 at the Golden Living Center in Wilson. Born on Nov. 21, 1936, in Rooks County, she was the daughter of Vernon and Leah (Mayo) Matheson. She grew up in the Natoma area and graduated from Natoma High School in 1954. On June 23, 1954 she married to Chester Webster. Later she was married to Carl Johnson. Both Chester and Carl preceded her in death. She worked as a cook at Irene's Café in Russell.
LARNED – Gerald LeClair Phillips, 77, died March 27 at Pawnee Valley Community Hospital, Larned. Born January 15, 1936, at Salt Lake City, Utah, he was the son of Blain Henry and Meriba June (Meik) Phillips. A lifetime area resident, he was a Special Education Teacher for Tri County Services for 20 years.
Jennifer Ann Riedl, 38, left the sufferings on Earth to be with her heavenly Father on March 27 at her residence in Great Bend. Born May 11, 1974, in Great Bend, she was the daughter of John and Darlene (Booth) Riedl. A lifetime resident of Great Bend and Hoisington, she did secretarial work. She enjoyed computers.
CHASE - Mara Ellen Gillespie, 24, died March 24 at her residence in Chase. Born Sept. 15, 1988 in Great Bend she was the daughter of Geneil Ellen Gillespie. In 2007, she graduated from Chase Rural High School. She graduated from Barton Community College with a CNA degree. A lifelong resident of Chase she was a CNA and CMA and a restaurant cook.
RUSSELL - Randal Jack "Randy" Neal, 64, of Russell died March 23 at his home. Born March 7, 1949 in Lyons, he was the son of Jack B. and Wilda J. (Jean) Neal. He grew up in Chase, attended Chase High School and graduated from Elkhart High School. On May 21, 1983 he married Bonnie K. Garrett in Russell. He was employed in the oil patch as a truck driver for Koch Industries, which later was known as Plains Marketing LP, for over 45 years on the pipeline and many different management positions.
Ralph A. Fink, 83, died March 24 at Hays Medical Center. Born Sept. 22, 1929 in Codell, he was the son of Ezekiel and Ethel (Stout) Fink. On May 29, 1955 he married Lillian L. Allen in Stafford. She died on Nov. 24, 2000. A resident of Great Bend since 2010, coming from Larned, he was employed as an aide at Larned State Hospital, previously working on a section gang for the railroad and in the oilfield.