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Jess Torrez
1926 - 2010
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TOPEKA — Jess Torrez, 84, of Topeka, formerly of Great Bend, passed away on Nov. 13 after a battle with esophageal cancer and Alzheimer’s at Manor Care Health Services in Topeka. Born on Aug. 2, 1926, in Hanston, he was the son of Silbrestre and Isabel (Ruiz) Torrez. Jess graduated from Larned High School and then attended police training at the University of Kansas. He married Josefina Lucia Hernandez on Sept. 28, 1948, in Larned. In his early years, he was employed by the Santa Fe Railroad. In 1957, he joined the Great Bend Police Department, where he held the rank of sergeant. In 1967, he joined the Barton County Sheriff’s Department, where he was a deputy sheriff. He retired from employment with the Holiday Inn in August 1991.

Jess was actively involved in politics on both local and state levels. He was elected city councilman from 1972 to 1976, and elected to county commissioner in 1982.

Mr. Torrez was a member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Optimist Club and a volunteer for the Barton County Historical Society. He was very active within the Kansas Democratic Party, serving as a precinct delegate.

Survivors include his daughter, Maria (Ray) Torrez Anderson of Topeka; daughter-in-law Patricia Torrez of Topeka; siblings, Phillip of Chicago, Bobbie Duarte of Phoenix, Jane (Don) Devinney of Liberal, Phyllis Aldrete of Tucson, Ariz., Don Torrez of Larned and Frank (Francis) of Hutchinson; grandchildren, Jeff (Signe) Torrez of Merriam, Chris (Marcie) Torrez, Trisha (Justin) Vest and Tory Anderson, all of Topeka; great-grandchildren, Courtney and Erica Torrez of Merriam, and Madison Torrez and Addison Vest, both of Topeka. He was preceded in death by his wife, Josefina, of 62 years; his son Jesse J.; and brother, Manuel.

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 11 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Great Bend. Inurnment has taken place at Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, 1421 Holland St., Great Bend, KS 67530. To leave a special message for the family online, please visit

Funeral arrangements provided by

Penwell-Gabel Mid Town Chapel*

1321 SW 10th Ave.

Topeka, KS 66604

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Nov. 19, 2010