Bill J. Woods

Billy Junior Woods was born to J. W. and Netta (Sterba) Woods at their home in Smith Center on March 28, 1926. Dr. Victor Watts assisted in the birth. Bill was the oldest of 8 children.

Bill attended elementary school at Hummer Grade School south of Smith Center. He attended high school at Harlan, Kansas. Soon after graduating he enlisted in the Army and served two tours of duty during World War II in Germany. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal while serving in the 75th Infantry Division. Bill joined the Army in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1948 as a Staff Sergeant. Bill is a lifetime member of the local V.F.W.

September 4, 1948 Bill married Ardis Kaup at the First United Methodist Church in Smith Center. They moved to Ft. Riley Kansas and then to Fort Carson Colorado before settling down on a farm south of Smith Center. To this union five children were born: Dianna, Dennis, William, Debra and Roy. Bill was baptized in the First Christian Church in 1970 and served as a Deacon and helped with homebound communion. Bill had been a custom harvester, worked for Anderson Farms, International Harvester and various other jobs before he retired and then did lawn work around Smith Center and Smith County.

Bill was preceded in death by his son Dennis in 1970; his parents J. W. and Netta Woods; brothers Bob, Edgar, Harry Woods; in-laws Roy & Mabel Kaup; brothers-in-law Raymond and wife Jeri Kaup; Bob Kaup; sister-in-law Roberta and husband Ted Wilson.

Bill is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ardis; daughter Dianna (James) Grauerholz of Valley Center, Kansas; William (Le’Ann) Woods of Wichita, Kansas; Debra (Bryan) Tillett of Smith Center, Kansas; Roy (Michele) Woods of McPherson, Kansas. Grandchildren, Bob (Jeanne) Jason, Chad, Kyle, Sean and Tyler Grauerholz; Julie (Tony) Laura, Sarah, Nathan Schaar; Michael Grauerholz; Erica Woods, Austin Woods; Jessica (Brandon), Chayston Berry; Sara (Tyler), Brennan Darnell; Mallory Tillett; Richele Nicole Woods. Survivors also include his brothers Paul (Ava) Woods of Florida; Frank (Chloe) of South Carolina; sisters Rachel (Otto) Rohla of Colby, Kansas; Margaret (Jim) Dykens of Norton, Kansas; sisters-in-law Ann Woods of Oregon; Gladys Woods of Smith Center; Ruby Woods of Florida; and Virgina Kaup of Phillipsburg, Kansas. He has a great grand-daughter due in December and a great grandson due in March.

Funeral services will be held at 2PM on Wednesday December 21, 2011 at the First Christian Church with Pastor Linda Kemp officiating.

Visitation will be held from 5-8 Tuesday at the Simmons-Rentschler Mortuary and Wednesday from 10AM until service time at the church.

Burial will be near his son, Dennis, in the Fairview Cemetery in Smith Center, Kansas.

The family has requested memorial contributions be made to Hospice Services of Smith County or First Christian Church and may be sent in care of the mortuary.

James L. Gwennap

SMITH CENTER-   James L. Gwennap, age 89, passed away Sunday December 11, 2011 at the Smith County Long Term Care in Smith Center, KS.  He was born April 16, 1922 in Smith County to Floyd Alfred and Mary Ellen (Lewis) Gwennap.  He was a farmer and mail carrier.

Preceded in death by his parents, wife Elisabeth, sisters Mildred and Fern, brother Dale and grandson Chris Parker.

Survivors include sons James P (Mary) of Smith Center, KS;   Eugene (Peggy) of Springfield, MO;   Gale of Bennington, KS; daughters Margaret (Wayne) Parker of Westmoreland, KS and Martha (Tim) Rhoades of Alvo, NE;   brothers Kenneth of Council Bluffs, IA and John of Omaha, NE;   11 grandchildren;   9 great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be from 5PM until 8 PM Wednesday December 14, 2011 at the mortuary with the family present from 6PM until 8 PM.

Memorial services will be at 10:30 AM Thursday December 15, 2011 at the Simmons-Rentschler Mortuary with Pastor Dennis Lambert officiating.

Inurnment will follow in the Fairview Cemetery, Smith Center.

Memorial contributions may be given to the James L. and Elisabeth Gwennap Scholarship or Smith County Long Term Care and can be sent in care of the mortuary.





Kurt Bowman

Kurtis Tate Bowman was born April 5, 1971 in Oakley, KS, the second son to Jay and Connie (McGuire) Bowman.

Growing up in Colby, Kurt participated in a variety of activities. In sports he was a multiple-time state placer in kids wrestling, third baseman on Colby’s 1986 State Championship K-18 baseball team, a medalist at State Wrestling, and a decorated lineman in football. Kurt was an active member of 4-H earning Grand Champion ribbons at the State Fair for nine consecutive years.  He participated in Colby High School’s select vocal choir and National Honor Society among other activities. He graduated as a member of the class of 1989.

Kurt attended the University of Kansas, majoring in secondary education. He was a member of Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity, serving as both house manager and president, a representative on KU’s Panhellenic Association Judicial Board, and a participant in intramural wrestling.  He was a proud and loyal KU alumni, but was unique in that he actually preferred KU football to basketball later in his life.

Following college, Kurt settled in Smith Center where he worked as a paraprofessional and coach at Smith Center High School. The experiences he gained in his first positions coaching football, wrestling, and track shaped his coaching philosophy for the remainder of his career. For his dedication to the sport of wrestling he was awarded the Matt Overmiller Memorial Achievement Award.

In 1999, Kurt married Jessica Hyman of Smith Center. Over the first few years of their marriage, the couple lived in Oberlin and Canton before settling in Hillsboro in 2006.

In 2005, Kurt was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease. Even through the challenges he faced with his health and treatments, he refused to let his condition define him. He maintained a positive outlook and was determined to live every moment to the best of his ability. He dedicated himself to the Hillsboro wrestling program both as assistant high school coach and head middle school coach.  In January of 2011, Kurt began classes at Tabor College to earn a degree in special education.  In the spring of this year, he was accepted into the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Kurt passed away at the age of 40, Thursday December 8, 2011, at the Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita, KS.

Survivors include his wife Jessica (Hyman) Bowman of Hillsboro, KS; mom Connie (McGuire) Bowman of Smith Center, KS; brother Steven (Connie Sue) of Whitewater, KS;   mother-in-law Rhonda Hyman of Smith Center, KS; niece Cora Bowman of Overland Park, KS; aunts Vae Jene (Don) Herron of Lawrence, KS and Robyn (Daryl) DePeel of Windom, KS; uncle Chuck McGuire of Springfield, MO; and numerous cousins.

Visitation will be Monday December 12, 2011 from 3 PM until 8 PM at the mortuary.

Funeral services will be at 1:30 PM Tuesday December 13, 2011 at the H.W. Lohrenz Building Chapel on Tabor College Campus with Dr. Del Gray officiating.

Burial will be 10:30 AM Wednesday December 14, 2011 at the Cora-Cedar Hill Cemetery, Rural Bellaire, KS.

In lieu of flowers the family strongly requests memorial contributions to the Kurt Bowman Memorial Scholarship and can be sent in care of the mortuary.



Pearl Ratliff

Pearl Pauline Marie Gutzman Ratliff passed away Monday, November 28, 2011 at Prairie Haven Nursing Home in Kensington, at the age of 97.

Pearl and twin brother were born December 17, 1913 at home North of Kensington to Hulda (Wachs) and William Gutzman.  She attended country school and graduated from Kensington High School in 1932.

Pearl met Wayne Ratliff in Kensington on November 11th at the Armistice Day Celebration and were married on February 17, 1934 at her parents’ home.  She was a homemaker and loved to make quilts, do crafts and write letters.

Survivors include 3 daughters Marion (Jerry) Larson of Cedar Falls, IA, Coleen Gale of Phillipsburg, KS and Janice (Gene) Miller of Stockton, KS;   6 sons Kenneth (Janice) Ratliff of Kensington, KS, Lyle (Vergie) Ratliff of Kensington, KS, Alvie (Analee) Ratliff of Athol, KS, Royce (Connie) Ratliff of Phillipsburg, KS, Gerald (Patsy) Ratliff of Glade, KS and Warren (Cindy) Ratliff of Glade, KS;   son-in-law Ralph Kern of Virginia Beach, VA;   brothers Raymond Gutzman and Tommie Gutzman;   54 grandchildren and spouses;   56 great grandchildren and spouses and 2 great great grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, twin brother at birth, her husband Wayne in 1990, youngest son Brian in 1960 daughter Dianne
Kern in 2004 and son Dean in 2010, brothers Wayne Gutzman, 2 great grandsons and 2 great granddaughters.

Memorial services will be at 10:30 AM Friday, December 2, 2011 at the United Church of Kensington with Pastor Becky Saddler officiating.

Private family inurnment will be at German Town Cemetery, Rural Kensington, KS.

The family requests memorial contributions to the Church and can be sent in care of the mortuary.

Naomi B. Duntz

On June 25, 1910, Naomi Bell Hartsook was born at Reamsville, Kansas, to Charley and Clara Estella Hartsook.  As a young girl, Naomi gave her heart to the Lord Jesus Christ;   it was at this time her eternal home was established.  Her parents spiritually guided her through Bible study and prayer around the family altar.  In spite of many hardships, she faithfully served the Lord over the years, teaching Sunday School at Reamsville, Gaylord and Smith Center.

Naomi was the granddaughter of David and Amanda Nelson who were among the first settlers in Martin Township.  Grandfather David Nelson assisted in building the Reamsvillle Church.  Naomi was the last close relative to David Nelson.

Naomi attended Pleasant Valley School for her first eight years and went one year to Smith Center High School.  She grew up working on the family farm doing fieldwork, picking corn and doing any task needing to be done.  She also worked for the Smith Center Produce candling eggs and at the switchboard for the Reamsville telephone.

Harold Dohe and Naomi were united in Marriage Septemver 6, 1936.  To this union two children were born, Eldon Eugene and Ava LeAnn.  When Harold passed away in June 1968, Naomi stayed on the farm helping Eldon.  In 1972, she built a new house in Gaylord and lived there until October 1979 when she and Harry Duntz were united in marriage and she moved to Smith Center.  Harry preceded her in death in December 1995.

Naomi passed away November 22, 2011 at the Smith County Long Term Care in Smith Center at the age of 101.

Left to mourn her passing are son Eldon Dohe of Gaylord;   daughter Ava and son-in-law Paul Woods of Melbourne, Florida;   stepson Delvin (Iva Jean) Duntz of Higginsville, Missouri;   stepson Dennis (Jacqueline) Duntz of Smith Center;   three grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter.

Visitation will be from 9:00 AM until service time at the Church.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 AM Monday November 28, 2011 at the Grace Baptist Church with Pastor Jennings Hall officiating.

Burial will follow in the Gaylord Cemetery, Gaylord, KS.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions be given to the Church and can be sent in care of the mortuary.

Sharleen Kay Allen

SMITH CENTER-   Sharleen K. Allen passed away on Saturday, November 12, 2011.  She was born August 27, 1937 to Fred H. and Laura M. (Caspers) Holthus in Smith Center, Kansas.  She was baptized into the Christian faith on September 12, 1937 and confirmed on June 3, 1951 at Zion Lutheran Church, north of Athol.  She graduated from Smith Center High School and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Fort Hays State.

She married Claude L. Allen on August 7, 1960.  She was a teacher, homemaker, Lebanon City Clerk and did other odd jobs in the community.  She was an active member at First St. John Lutheran Church, Kensington and the Hub Club in Lebanon.  She was active in the U.S. Postal Auxiliary, receiving an Outstanding Auxiliary Member award in 2005.  She also sat on several election boards and even served as Committeewoman of the Republican Party.  She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.  She was a trustee for the Ellen Rust Living Trust (Home on the Range Cabin).  She enjoyed cooking for the family and community.

She is preceded in death by her parents, son James C. Allen, two infant grandsons, and brother in law Don Allen and sister-in-law Janice Allen.  Survivors include husband, Claude of the home;   son John and wife Arlyce and grandchildren Joshua and Hannah of Topeka;   daughter-in-law Patricia Campbell and husband Steve and grandchildren Marcus and Austin Allen, and Skyler, Tanner and Linsey Campbell of Portis;   brother El Dean and wife Kathy of Smith Center;   brother Allen and wife Barbara of Lake View, MN;   11 nieces and nephews, many great nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.

Visitation will be from 5 PM until 8 PM Tuesday November 15, 2011 with the family present from 6:30 PM until 7:30 PM at the mortuary.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 AM Wednesday November 16, 2011 at the First St John Lutheran Church in Kensington, KS with Pastor Dave Hutson officiating.

Burial will be at 1:30 PM at Price Cemetery, Rural Lebanon, KS with a reception following in Lebanon, KS.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to The American Cancer Society or The First St John Lutheran Church of Kensington and can be sent in care of the mortuary.

Doris L. Hohner

Doris Loraine (Bass) Hohner, 87, died at the Ottawa County Health Center in Minnepaolis, Ks. on Saturday, October 22, 2011. She was born
in rural Smith County on August 22, 1924 to Nealy and Mamie (Chance) Bass. She had 2 brothers, 2 sisters and their spouses who all have proceded her in death.  The brothers were Norman and wife Olive Bass, and Omer Eugene who died in infancy. The sisters and spouses were Bernita and Don Overmiller, and Viola and Wayne Campbell. She also had 2 sister-in-laws and 2 brother-in-laws that proceded her in death. She is survived by one sister-in-law, many nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews.

She was married to Emil Hohner for 46 years prior to his death on July 23, 1996.  She married Emil on September 17, 1950 in Smith Center, Kansas. They had 2 sons Kelvin Hohner and Roderick Hohner. Kelvin married Cheryl and Roderick married Linda (deceased). Kelvin and Cheryl, presently residing in Minneapolis, Kansas, had 2 children, Christopher Hohner, Concordia, and Kelsey Hohner, Topeka.  Roderick and Linda had four children, Michael Hohner married to Sandra, Topeka, KS;   Jennifer McMurdo married to Ron, Colorado Springs, Colorado; Jnell Eck married to Mike, Beloit, Ks; and Mathew Hohner married to Ashley, Agra, Ks.

She was excited about each child and grandchild. She spent many hours nurturing her grandchildren.  Christopher had 3 boys, Tyler, Brice, and Devin. Michael and Sandy have 2 boys Joshua, and Justin. Jennifer and Ron have 1 boy and 1 girl, John, and Emily.  Jnell has 2 sons and 1 daughter Ryan, Austin, and Madison. Mat and Ashley have 2 sons Nickolus and Taylor. Matt also has a daughter Haley Gormley.

She always enjoyed getting together with her siblings and their spouses. Of course, there was always food involved. Socializing with the family was the most important part of the event. Birthdays never went by without homemade ice cream and cake.

Doris was an excellent cook for her family and others.  Sundays traditional meal was fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Many feet sat under her table eating her excellent baked items including pies, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and donuts.

She cooked at the school for more than 20 years. She would also cook at local restaurants especially during the summer. She then started cooking at Prairie Haven Nursing Home, in Kensington, Kansas where she cooked for more than twenty years. She always enjoyed her coworkers. She enjoyed their friendship and support during the years that she worked with them and memories of all those years.

When she was not cooking or waiting on others for their needs, her hobbies were embroidery and crocheting. She and Emil were fans of Country Music. She enjoyed Kenny Rogers and the Oakridge Boys. The boys remember Saturday’s tradition as  watching Lawrence Welk, then going to Phillipsburg to do the weekly shopping , and then be home in time to watch Gunsmoke. She was also a gardener, and would work
beside Emil when he was farming. Of course, with the gardening was the canning.  She would collect fruit and make jelly from any where it was available, including the road ditches.

Emil and Doris enjoyed socializing with dancing and card parties.  They spent many evenings with friends and relatives playing cards. They enjoyed the outdoors with picnics and fishing. Many evenings were spent fishing and talking.

After Emil died she lived about 5 years with Kelvin and Cheryl when her health required that she go to a nursing home. The latest residence was at the Ottawa County Health Center. She retained her dry sense of humor, and caring about others throughout life making her a favorite wherever she was.

Visitation will be from 5Pm until 8PM Tuesday at the mortuary and one hour prior to service at the Church.

Funeral services will be at 11 AM Wednesday October 26, 2011 at the St. John Lutheran Church in Kensington, KS with Pastor Lorna Paulus officiating.

Burial will follow in the Germantown Cemetery, Rural Kensington, KS.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials contributions be given to the Doris Hohner Memorial and can be sent in care of the mortuary.

Venita F. Rice

Venita Frances (Swank) Rice was born on October 21, 1918 on a farm southwest of Cedar, Kansas to Rollie Marion and Sophronia Inez (Pruitt) Swank.  She was the third of four daughters in the family.  Her earthly life ended on October 9, 2011 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Nebraska from complications following surgery for a hip fracture.  She was 12 days short of being 93 years of age.

Venita grew up in the Athol, KS community.  She had numerous stories of her grandparents running a café in Athol, and later her parents ran the café.  She attended school in Athol and graduated from Athol High School in 1936.  She took normal training and started teaching in country schools at 17 years of age, also teaching school later in Athol.

Venita married her high school sweetheart William (Bill) Rice on May 10, 1939 in Kensington, Kansas at the home of her sister and husband, Celeste and Wag Wagenblast.  They were married 69 years before Bill’s death in 2008.

After their children’s birth, Venita was a homemaker as she raised their six children and was her husband’s helpmate .  They moved to wherever Bill’s work took them.  They spent time in Athol, Smith Center, St Francis, Colby, Phillipsburg and Kensington.  Venita was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother.  She affectionately cared for her family.  She was a devoted gardener, preserving her garden produce to feed her family.  She could also create and design her own patterns when sewing for the family.  Attending her sons’ ballgames was a favorite pastime for Bill and her.

Venita and Bill were faithful members of the United Church of Kensington since moving to Kensington in 1963.  Her church family was close to her heart.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William A. Rice; her parents; two sisters Celeste Wagenblast and Mildred Gibson; an infant daughter Rebecca Sue Rice and an infant grandson Daniel Gaddis.

Remembering and celebrating Venita’s life are her children; Sondra Gaddis (David) of Gaylord, KS; Steven Rice (JoAnn) of Kensington, KS; Michael Rice (Dianna) of Athol, KS; Debra Thomas of Duncanville, TX; Jon Rice (Jnell) of Phillipsburg, KS; and Thomas Rice (Alice) of Kensington, KS.  Also surviving is her sister Lois Hooper of Smith Center, KS; sister-in-law Lola Peters of Kensington, KS and a brother-in-law, Donald Rice of Missouri.

Her grandchildren are: Ted Gaddis (Michelle) of Smith Center, KS; Amber Horton (Jerry) of Clay Center, KS; Scot Gaddis of Brandon, FL, Steven Rice JR (Angel) of Kensington, KS; Staci Kearn (Ricky) of Glasco, KS; Chase Rice (Abby) of Norton, KS; Kerby Rice of  Athol, KS;
Christina White (Jason) of Euless, TX; Michael Thomas of Dallas TX; Jonathan Rice of Phillipsburg, KS; Jennilee Rice of Guyman, OK; Jered Rice of Phillipsburg, KS; William Thomas Rice of Kensington, KS; Alia Rice of Kensington, KS and 11 great grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 10:00 AM Friday October 14, 2011 at the United Church of Kensington in Kensington, KS with Becky Saddler officiating.

Visitation will be from 3 to 8 PM Thursday October 13, 2011 with the family present from 6-7 PM at the mortuary.

Burial will follow in the Myer Pleasant View Cemetery, Rural Athol, KS.

The family requests memorial contributions be given to the United Church of Kensington or Myer Pleasant View Cemetery for perpetual care and can be sent in care of the mortuary.

Louis Bienhoff

KENSINGTON, KS– Louis Bienhoff, age 91, passed away Thursday October 6, 2011 at the Prairie Haven Nursing Center in Kensington.   Louis Henry Bienhoff was born on September 29, 1920 to Sophie Helen Heisse and Henry Bienhoff at Kensington, KS.  He was baptized October of 1920 at the Kensington St. John Lutheran Church and confirmed in 1934.   He had a younger sister, Leona, who died in 1925.  Louie remembered his sister and always talked about her with a great deal of love.  Louie completed his formal education at in the eighth grade.  He began his working life at that time.  His father, Henry died in 1939.

Louis entered the military service, Army Air Corps, in 1942.  He enjoyed his years in the service very much, and still enjoyed recalling and telling many stories of those years.  He was discharged in 1946 at the rank of Corporal.

That year he married Betty Morgan and they returned toKensington to make their home.  In a few years Betty decided to return to California.

Louis spent the greater part of his working life at the career of cobbler.  He was proud of his craft with shoes, and was known for many miles around as the cobbler to go to if rebuilt or orthopedic shoes were needed.  But as so many skilled craftsman found in modern years, their craft seemed to become obsolete, and Louis closed his shop and began retirement.  He was a regular at many auctions, buying things which he thought still held value.  Louis’ mother Sophie died in 1976.

On May 10, 1991, Louis and Gladdie Brooks were united in marriage at Kensington, KS.  The remaining years of their lives they enjoyed together.  Gladdie passed away March 19, 2008, and shortly thereafter Louis returned to Prairie Haven at Kensington where he died, October 6, 2011.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a wife Gladie.  Survivors include many nieces, nephews and cousins.  Graveside services will be held at 11:00AM Saturday October 8, 2011 at the St. John Lutheran Church Cemetery with Pastor Lorna Paulus officiating.

There will be no visitation.

The family requests memorial contributions be made to the St. John Lutheran Church and can be sent in care of the mortuary.

Martha M. Currey

KENSINGTON – Martha M. Currey, age 95, passed away on Friday September 30, 2011 at the Prairie Haven Nursing Center in Kensington, KS.   She was a retired Nurses Med-Aide.

Survivors include her daughter, Kathy Currey of Baltimore, MD; a son, Joe Currey and wife Patty of Hays, KS; a stepson, Max Currey and  wife Sharilyn of Kensington, KS.  Funeral services will be held at 2:00PM Tuesday October 4, 2011 at the Simmons-Rentschler Mortuary n Smith Center, KS.  Visitation will be held from 11:00AM until service time.  Private family burial will be held at a later date in the Olive Branch Cemetery in Rural Kensington, KS.  The family requests memorial contributions be made to the Kensington Senior Center and can be sent in care of the mortuary.