Roy Key Jr., 89, a former resident of Great Bend and Bethany, Okla., passed away May 15 in Camano Island, Wash. He was born in Chandler, Okla. on Feb. 28, 1923, the son of Roy Key and Gladys (Waller) Key. He grew up in both Oklahoma and Kansas, attending high school in Montrose. He joined the CCC’s at age 17 serving as a dental assistant in Wyoming. It was during a revival at the Shannon Friend’s Church that he met and later married Edna Christians, his lifelong love. They were married Sept. 14, 1942 on the Christians’ farm near Beaver and were married 64 years until her death in 2006.
Roy was inducted into the U.S. Army in the spring of 1944. He served in Europe with the 5th Army, 3rd Division, 30th Infantry regiment. He saw action in France and Germany in 1944-45. He was in the battle of the Colmar Pocket in France. Following the end of hostilities in Europe, Roy was assigned as the NCO in charge of a German civilian prison near Kassel, Germany. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, and Occupation Ribbon. He was discharged as a Tech. Sargent in May 1946.
When he returned from Europe, Roy worked in the oil industry in Kansas as rough neck and retipping bits. His sales job with Smith Oil Tool Company took him to Oklahoma where he and Edna lived for many years before being transferred to Grand Junction, Colo. After retiring from Smith, he worked in sales for numerous oil tool companies including Cowboy’s Oilfield Services. That position prompted the couple to move to Oklahoma again for a time before finally retiring to Great Bend in 1983.
Roy was a 32nd Degree Mason, loved people and his family, and was always ready with a smile and a joke. He loved to fish and watch the purple martins when he and Edna were not on one of their numerous camping expeditions with the Good Sam club. They traveled the country from Maryland to Camano Island, Wash., where Roy lived with his son and daughter-in-law until his peaceful passing.
Roy left behind many loved ones including his son, Larry and daughter-in-law, Nancy Key; daughter, Deanie Wright and her husband, Johnie Wright; grandchildren, Todd Dillen and Piper Strick and her husband, Brian; great-grandchildren Cody and Alex Dillen, Isabella Dillen, and Austin and Gabe Strick; as well as half-sister, Alice Kirk; and half-brother, Al Key. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Scott Dillen; and a sister, Geraldine Key Barker.
Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Friday at First Christian Church in Great Bend, with burial following at Hillcrest Cemetery in Great Bend. Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the First Christian Church in Great Bend. Memorials may be designated for the Great Bend Masonic Lodge or First Christian Church in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be left at www.ChristiansFuneralHome.com
Funeral arrangements provided by
Christians Funeral Home**
103 N. Washington
PO Box 386
Lindsborg, KS, 67456
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, May 22, 2012