One seriously injured in Great Bend explosion
One person received what were described as critical injuries in an explosion reported at 3:08 a.m. Wednesday at 705 10th St. in Great Bend.
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Viola Ruth Ummen 1925 - 2021
Viola Ruth Ummen 1925 - 2021

Viola Ruth Ummen, 96, passed away Oct. 21, 2021, at Diversicare of Larned. She was born March 4, 1925, at Claflin, to Henry and Anna (Christians) Riemann. She married Lester J. Ummen on Feb. 14, 1960, at Great Bend. He died Dec. 29, 2000. 

A lifetime Great Bend resident, Ruth was a homemaker for many years. She was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church. At 18 she moved to Kansas City to become a “Rosie the Riveter” at the North American Aviation plant during WWII. She supported the war effort by sanding airplane wings and delivering parts. She returned to the area and worked at various local businesses, including Scheufler Supply, as a secretary and bookkeeper. Her pastimes included bowling, traveling, water skiing, and quilting. She became a full time farm wife and added gardening, genealogy, and painting to her hobbies. Ruth especially loved spending time with her family and traveling with them to share new adventures. She spent endless hours involved with school and church activities, scout activities, and 4-H activities to support her children’s interests. 

Survivors include: a son, Mark Ummen and wife Tracy (Bellendir) Ummen of Springfield, Va.; a daughter, Dr. Karla Eisele of Flatwoods, Ky.; four grandchildren, Jessica (Damm) Lamphere, Paul Damm, Christopher Ummen and wife Helenna Cunha, and Sarah Ummen; and three great grandchildren, Delilah Damm, Paul Damm Jr., and Onyx Lamphere. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Lester Ummen; and her siblings, Willis Riemann, Albert Riemann, Opal Cox, and Mabel Bender. 

There will be no visitation and a Graveside Service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, at the Great Bend Cemetery with the Rev. Merle Brockhoff presiding. Memorials have been designated to 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, Oct. 24, 2021