STOCKTON — Alvy Prentice Bobbitt Sr. passed away Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, at Hays Medical Center at the age of 87. He was born on July 31, 1928, in Port Neches, Texas to the late Alfonzo Iza “Fonzie” and Mary Esper (Robbins) Bobbitt, and grew up in San Augustine County, Texas.
At the age of 8, Alvy’s formal education ended with the death of his mother and infant brother Joseph. Known as “Prent” by family and friends in Texas, he and his siblings, ages 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 2 either went to work in the logging fields with their father, or helped tend to household chores and raising the younger children. Prent, and his older brother Alfred, did logging from 1939-1943 then owned and operated Bobbitt Brothers Mobile Service Station in Lufkin, Texas from 1944 until Alfred was drafted in 1945. After selling the station, Prent worked heavy construction until 1946.
Alvy enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces on Sept. 4, 1946. Basic Training began at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas and was first assigned to Grand Island Army Air Field in Nebraska. Later he was relocated to Smoky Hill AFB (Schilling AFB) in Salina where he met and married Bettie Mae DeBey on Sept. 9, 1947. “Al” as he was called in Kansas, worked as a Wright R-3550 Engine Mechanic on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress aircraft with 24-hour crews rotating 8-hour shifts. He spent four months in Alaska before his final assignment to Biggs AFB in El Paso, Texas where he and Bettie were blessed with their first daughter in 1948. Al was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on Sept. 6, 1949, and moved his family back to Pineland, Texas where he began timber logging for himself.
In 1951, Al brought his family to Stockton in order to be closer to where Bettie was born and raised near Kirwin. He worked as an auto mechanic for the Ford dealerships in Plainville and Stockton. In 1960 he purchased a building on the South end of Stockton and began Al’s Repair. By this time the family had grown to four girls and two boys. By 1963, Al was expanding and taking on the J.I. Case Company along with other farm implements. Known as “The Case Man” he changed the business name to Bobbitt Equipment Company, Inc. which he owned and operated for over 50 years along with farming and ranching. Never afraid of hard work, he dedicated his life to fixing what was broke and enjoyed working “eight days a week.” A book of his life and family entitled In the Shadows of the Pines was written by his niece Karen Newell as well as being featured in a Case Magazine article by John Ruff.
Alvy is survived by his wife Bettie Bobbitt of Stockton; sons Alvy P. Bobbitt Jr. and wife Terry of Kansas City and Randal L. Bobbitt and wife Angie of Broken Arrow, Okla.; daughters Sherylene S. Gager and husband Jack of Kirwin, Debra C. Sidey and husband John of Bunker Hill, Esper L. “Lorrie” Baxter and husband Garry of Cedar, and Christine L. Polzin and husband Bill of Hoisington; sister Mary Joy Bobbitt of Nacogdoches, Texas; grandchildren Lisa Konzem, Jodi Johnson, Matthew Bobbitt, Rachael Boyle, Toni Culbertson, Wesley Elliott, Clinton Elliott, Tammy Channell, Ryan Baxter, Kurt Baxter, Jerron Baxter, Robyn Dodge, and Clayton Van Brimmer; 22 great-grandchildren; and six step-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by parents Alfonzo and Mary Bobbitt; brothers, Alfred, Kenneth and Billy Ray Bobbitt; sister Velma R. Sloan; infant sister Elmer Bobbitt; and infant brother Joseph Bobbitt.
Funeral services were held on Aug. 30, at the United Methodist Church in Stockton. Burial followed at the Stockton Cemetery with Military Honors by the VFW Post #8873 of Stockton and Fort Riley Honor Guard. Memorials are suggested to Bobbitt family cemetery and may be sent in care of the funeral home. Condolences may be left for the family at www.plumeroverlease.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Plumer-Overlease Funeral Home**
723 N. First
Stockton, KS. 67669
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Sept. 1, 2015