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Joyce Deanne (Phillips) Essmiller 1926 - 2022
Joyce Deanne (Phillips) Essmiller

Joyce Deanne (Phillips) Essmiller, 96, passed away Aug. 7, 2022, at HaysMed, Hays, Kan., after a short illness. She was born Feb. 11, 1926, in Hoisington, Kan. to Mark Paul and Ida Marie (Willcutt) Phillips. She spent her early years in Hoisington before moving to Great Bend. She graduated from Great Bend High School and married her high school sweetheart, Arnold Essmiller, Jr. on Jan. 19, 1944. They celebrated almost 74 years of marriage before his passing on Nov. 21, 2017. 

Joyce was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother; her family was her pride and joy, and always came first. She was a wonderful cook who loved hosting large holiday meals and family gatherings, traveling anywhere anytime, family genealogy, reading and her bridge groups. She was friendly and outgoing, loved meeting new people, and could talk to anyone about almost anything. 

She was a homemaker who, when her children neared college age, worked as a bookkeeper at Mullin Furniture; was secretary of the Barton County Farm Bureau Board for 10 years; worked at Steadman & Hawk Accountants; then at Midwest Energy until her retirement. Joyce was a charter member of Shamrock Extension Unit, a 4-H Food Leader, a member of Business & Professional Women, First Presbyterian Church and former Ladies’ Circle Chairperson, and had served on the Board of the Great Bend Girls’ Home. She and Arnold were also members of a couple’s pitch club which met for almost 60 years. 

She is survived by her daughters, Jan Marie Bolick of Carmel, Ind., ArNell Deanne Briel (Jon) of Great Bend, and Jadean Louise Takao (Eric) of Kailua, HI; four grandchildren, Brent Arnold Bolick (Amy) of Jacksonville, Fla., Wendy Deanne Sundahl (Shane) of Larned, Kan., Robin Ann Murphy (Matt) of Fishers, Ind., and Hayley Lynne Dicks (Shane) of Great Bend; and eight great grandchildren, Sophie and Olivia Bolick, Conner Deer, Brady Murphy, Dalton and Parker Dicks, and Slade and Darby Sundahl; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her loving husband, Arnold; a sister, Beverly Brummett; and four brothers, Francis, Wayne, Marion and Maurice Phillips. 

Visitation will be held from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at Bryant Funeral Home, with family to receive friends from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at First Presbyterian Church, 24th and Washington, Great Bend, with Reverend Kathleen Luke presiding. Interment will follow in the Great Bend Cemetery. Memorials have been designated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Barton County Historical Society, in care of Bryant Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Bryant Funeral Home

1425 Patton Road

Great Bend, KS  67530

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Aug. 10, 2022