ELLINWOOD — Except for a few years, Richard Kimple has lived in Ellinwood nearly all of his life and invested of himself and his family in the community, including a business, as a volunteer, as well as providing generous support to the schools and area foundations. He also provides emotional support to families during the death of a loved one as owner of his business, Kimple Funeral Home. He is also the owner of Kimple Monuments and Kimple Furniture.
In recent years, Kimple has performed in community theater productions and has sponsored community theater, school theater and fine art scholarships. He continues to attend school events and was instrumental in establishing the Ellinwood Public Education and Library foundation.
Richard is commander of the American Legion, president of the Farmers Mutual Insurance board, and president of the Ellinwood District Hospital board.
Plus, the funeral director holds a simple candlelight service at the beautiful Sts. Peter and Paul Church for the families that lost someone during the year.
It is for these reasons that Kimple is a pillar in the Ellinwood community and was named the Rotary Club’s “Distinguished Citizen.”
Kimple’s dad, Stanley, came to Ellinwood from Lyons during World War II due to a shortage of businesses offering funeral services. His mother, Elizabeth, was from Great Bend.
Stanley worked in Great Bend and Ellinwood and Great Bend, and eventually limited his work to Ellinwood. Stanley and Elizabeth opened the furniture store as well as offering mortuary services.
Continuing in this rich tradition of family business, Kimple and his wife Linda offer the same services.
“I like to work,” said Kimple, explaining why he spends 5 1/2 days per week in the office.
The best part about the his business is getting to know new people in the community he wouldn’t have known otherwise. “I have enjoyed building relationships with funeral families,” he said.
Richard went to Emporia State University and graduated with a degree in Business Management. Realizing he would be drafted for the Vietnam War, he signed up for the Army Reserve during his junior year. Throughout his military career, he remained in the Reserves, transferring to different reserve units located close to where he lived. None of the units were ever activated.
After hearing an inspirational speech on people needed in student personnel while in the student senate at Emporia, Richard began an internship at Fort Hays State University in student personnel and earned his master’s degree in education counseling.
After graduation and marrying his wife Linda who was from Chase, the family moved to Indiana where Linda was a teacher, and Richard worked in student personnel at DePauw University.
Richard’s parents, still in Ellinwood, decided to take a vacation to Japan to see his brother Steve. Richard and Linda came back to Ellinwood during the summer to operate the family business. Richard’s father became ill, and Richard and Linda resigned their jobs to run the family business.
Dad recovered, and the family moved to Denver for a year.
“Then we came home,” said Richard. They took over the business permanently.
Continuing to innovate, they have added gift cards, gourmet food items, and the bridal registry to the furniture store.
Richard’s hobbies include going to Colorado, hiking, fly fishing, hunting, following the Jay Hawks. He has two children and three grandchildren.