Obituaries: Oct. 25, 2108

Perry Richard Ayler

Jan. 13, 1928 – Oct. 12, 2018

Perry Richard Ayler, Garden City, was born Jan. 3, 1928, in Kingsville, the son of John Henry, Sr., and Lola May (Clapper) Ayler. He died Oct. 12 at Golden Years Care Services, Harrisonville, at the age of 90 years, 9 months and 9 days.

Dec. 21, 1949, Richard was united in marriage to Dorothy Pearl Cowan in Holden.

Richard was a farmer and stockman. He was an Army veteran. Richard loved the great outdoors, whether it was hunting, fishing, trapping or as simple as going for a walk to check cows or a newly planted field. He was a family man and always made time for his kids and taught them his love of the outdoors – to hunt, fish, trap, caring for animals and how to farm.

Richard always enjoyed going to family functions, going to ballgames watching his kids and grandchildren or being there whenever someone walked across the stage for their diploma to graduate high school. Without a doubt, his best memories in life always included his lifelong partner, Dorothy, going to visit family, out to eat or just riding around the block, everything was better together.

Richard was a great husband, father, grandfather, hunting partner and one of the best friends many will ever know. He will be missed by all.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, John Ayler, Jr., and Delmer Ayler.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Ayler, of the home; six sons, John (Jackie) Ayler, Eudora, Kansas, Bob (Tammy) Ayler, Holden, Jerry (Sharon) Ayler, Garden City, Steve Ayler, Urich, Frank (Maureen) Ayler and Dennis (Sandy) Ayler, all of Creighton; a daughter, Kathy (Victor) Mueller, Creighton; 22 grandchildren; 42 great-grandchildren; other relatives and friends.

Services were Oct. 16 at the Heart Of Life Church, Garden City, with burial in the Elm Spring Cemetery, Elm.

The family suggests memorial contributions to Crossroads Hospice.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Dickey Funeral Home, Garden City.


Ralph Wyatt Bear

Jan. 12, 1934 – Oct. 15, 2018

Ralph Wyatt Bear, 84, Harrisonville, formerly of Shawnee, Kansas, died Oct. 15.

Ralph was born Jan. 12, 1934, and grew up in Rich Hill. He was the second youngest child of Mabel Kile Bear and Alfred Bear.

After graduating from Rich Hill High School, he married Shirley Scism. They moved to Shawnee where Ralph got a job driving a truck for Food Barn Stores. They found a run-down farm in Shawnee and proceeded to fix up the house to accommodate their growing family. God blessed their marriage with three children, Steve, Randy and Tondya.

During much of his early married life, Ralph worked two jobs – driving a truck at night and selling real estate with Eugene D. Brown during the day. He was an auctioneer and licensed broker in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska and specialized in selling large farms.

Ralph’s hobby of raising exotic animals eventually evolved into a thriving miniature horse business. He and Shirley sold horses throughout the United States and traveled extensively showing their horses.

After residing 60 plus years in Shawnee, Ralph and Shirley moved to Harrisonville. They found their current home, situated on 15 acres, and enjoyed several years there together.

Throughout his life, Ralph was a devoted Christian. He was instrumental in founding Greenwood Baptist Church in western Shawnee and later became a member of Lenexa Baptist Church. In Harrisonville, he found his final church home at Antioch Southern Baptist Church.

He was an inspiration to friends and family, and though we will miss him dearly, we derive comfort knowing he has gone to be with the Lord.

Ralph was preceded in death by his parents, four sisters, two brothers and a grandson.

He leaves behind his wife, Shirley, of the home; three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, along with three step-grandchildren and five stepgreat-grandchildren; children, Steve and Rhonda Bear, Claremore, Oklahoma, Randy and Julie Bear, Cleveland, and Mark and Tondya Dominick, Grier, Arizona; grandchildren, Cindy and Brent Bushnell, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Ryan and Shiloe Hook, Oakland, California, James and Tiffany Bear, Lafayette, Louisiana, Jeremy and Randyl Danner, Kansas City, Casey Bear, Lawrence, Kansas, Matt and Brandilyn Thompson, Olathe, Kansas, Nathan and Sophia Boyce, New York, New York, and Katie Boyce, Show Low, Arizona; great-grandchildren, Benjamin Bushnell and Cooper Danner.


Funeral service were Oct. 18 at the Dickey Funeral Home, Harrisonville, with inurnment in the Double Branch Cemetery, Butler.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Dickey Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


John Richard “John R.” Johnson

May 29, 1931 – Oct. 12, 2018

John Richard “John R.” Johnson, 87, Harrisonville, died Oct. 12 at Cass Regional Medical Center, Harrisonville. A memorial gathering was held Oct. 16 at the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville. Memorial contributions may be made to Casco Area Workshop.

John R. was born May 29, 1931, in Lee’s Summit, the son of John M. and Sarah Areta (Selvy) Johnson. He was a 1950 graduate of Garden City High School and an Army veteran of the Korean War. John R. married JoAnn Hon Aug. 31, 1956, at the Grand River Church, Harrisonville.

John R. had worked for Hills Truck Line in Adrian before retiring in 1995 and was a member of the Teamsters Local No. 41. He was a lifelong Cass County resident. He was a member of the Harrisonville Optimist Club and was a volunteer at Casco Area Workshop.

John R. was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Robert Dale Johnson.

He is survived by his wife, JoAnn, Harrisonville; a son, Jeff Johnson, Harrisonville; and two nephews.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Robert G. Kuntz, Sr.

Sept. 7, 1947 – Oct. 11, 2018

Robert G. Kuntz, Sr., 71, Cleveland, died Oct. 11 at his home. Funeral services were Oct. 15 at the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville, with  burial in the Freeman Cemetery, Freeman.

Robert was born Sept. 7, 1947, in Dickinson, North Dakota, the son of Jack and Mary (Heidt) Kuntz. He had lived in Wichita, Kansas, Freeman and the Lake of the Ozarks, before moving to Cleveland.

Robert was united in marriage to Brenda Joyce Farris July 19, 1975. He worked for Yellow Freight for 30 years before retiring in 2005.

Robert was a member of Teamsters Local No. 41 and was a U.S. Navy veteran.

Robert was preceded in death by his wife, Brenda, May 11, 2015; a daughter, Connie Woodfin; and his parents.

He is survived by three sons, Gerald Gray (Deb), Adrian, Bobby G. Kuntz, II, Cleveland, and Jim Kuntz (Rhonda), Cleveland; a daughter, Teresa Gray (Kevin Sherfey), Spring Hill, Kansas; a brother, Tom Kuntz, Wichita; four sisters, Arlene Stigers, Ark City, Kansas, Pat Rainwater, Wichita, Kathleen Kuntz, Derby, Kansas, and Mary Jean Schnable, Wichita; 13 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and his faithful dog, Peace.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Thomas E. Phillips

Sept. 15, 1949 – Oct. 9, 2018

Thomas E. Phillips, 69, Hiawatha, Kansas, died Oct. 9 at the Maple Heights Nursing Home.

Tom was born Sept. 15, 1949, in Parsons, Kansas, the youngest of six children to Eldred and Elsie Ginn Phillips. He grew up in Parsons and graduated from Labette County High School with the Class of 1967.

Tom  moved to Harrisonville where he married Gail Hammontree. The two had a daughter, Ginger, but later divorced. Tom worked for Old Mill Seed and Grain as an agricultural chemical applicator.

In later years, he worked for Family Center Farm and Home. Three years ago, he moved to Hiawatha.

Tom is survived by his daughter, Ginger Phillips-Farr, Harrisonville; a brother, Robert Phillips, Oakley, Kansas; sisters, Kathryn Shanholtzer, McCune, Kansas, and Lois Tredway, Parsons, Kansas; granddaughters, Syria Castaneda and Sydney Farr; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by a brother, Bill Phillips, and a sister, Peggy Kolb.

A special message or remembrance may be sent to the family at

Local visitation was under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Mildred Raffety

April 22, 1932 – Oct. 14, 2018

Mildred Raffety, 86, Drexel, died Oct. 14 at Villa St. Joseph, Overland Park, Kansas. Funeral services were Oct. 17 at Mullinax Funeral Home, Drexel Chapel. Burial was in Sharon Cemetery, Drexel. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Drexel United Methodist Church. Messages of condolence may be left for the family at

Mildred Ellen Thomas Raffety was born April 22, 1932, in rural Miami County, Kansas, the daughter of  Herbert Sherman Thomas and Bessie Belle Burson Thomas. She spent her first 12 years on the farm until moving to Drexel around 1944. She graduated from Drexel High School in 1951. After school, Mildred married her high school sweetheart, Aubrey William Raffety, Jan. 17, 1952, at the home of the Rev. Bundy in Drexel. Mildred joined Aubrey in his military service living in Waco, Texas; Hyannis, Massachusetts; and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Mildred had numerous jobs in the early years from working at Rexall Drug Store as a soda jerk making “Glamour Girls” ,to selling cigarettes and candy at the Drexel Saturday night movies, working in a garment factory checking for loose threads and buttons, to testing radio parts that went into components (where she would get shocked). She also worked at a cranberry factory where she worked in an assembly line removing bad cranberries and leaves from the conveyor belt in Hyannis.

Once they started a family, her main time was spent caring for their first born child, Zona Marie, who was born with special needs. Mildred cared for her at home for almost 30 years, until Zona died. After that, Mildred joined her husband working on Main Street at their business, Raffety’s Plumbing, Heating and Electrical, then adding in the selling of Wheel Horse lawn mowers. Mildred enjoyed traveling, gardening, crocheting, quilting, spending time watching her grandchildren play sports either recreational or school, supporting her “boys in blue,” the Kansas City Royals, watching NCAA basketball on TV and filling out the brackets at the end of the season.

Mildred was preceded in death by her parents Herbert and Bessie Thomas; her husband Aubrey Raffety; daughter Zona Raffety; a sister, Mary Helen Jenkins; and a son-in-law, Larry Nunn.

She is survived by her brothers, Herby Thomas and wife, Betsy, Drexel, Jim Thomas and wife, Kathy, of Lee’s Summit; children, Helen Jean Nunn, Drexel, Roger Raffety and wife, Gerrilyn, Drexel, Donna Bauer and husband, Dennis, Drexel, and Rachel Stasieluk and husband, Brandon, Leawood, Kansas; grandchildren, Jordan, Ashton and Alexis Raffety, Chelsea and Marissa Bauer, Molly and Connor Stasieluk, and Jameson Nunn and wife, Christy; and great-grandchildren, Aubrey Brant, McKenzie, Cody and Alexis Nunn.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Mullinax Funeral Chapel, Drexel.


Eugene Scarbrough

Sept. 15, 1938 – Oct. 10, 2018

Eugene Scarbrough, 80, Peculiar, died Oct. 10 at his home. Services will be held at a later date in Virginia.

Eugene was born Sept. 15, 1938, in Willow Springs, the son of James Ira and Sarah (Collins) Scarbrough. He had lived in Willow Springs until enlisting in the Navy. He had lived in Virginia and Buffalo, before moving to Peculiar in 2011.  He was a manager for the laundry department in hospitals.

Eugene is survived by two daughters, Theresa Gorsage, Freeman, and Angela Mitchell, Kansas City; a sister, Nadine of Kansas City; six grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and many good friends, in particular, Esther McDowell.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville.


Norris Smith, Sr.

Jan. 18, 1959 – Oct. 10, 2018

Norris Smith, Sr., 59, Butler, died surrounded by family and loved ones Oct. 10 at Bates County Memorial Hospital, Butler. Graveside services were Oct. 19 at Oak Hill Cemetery, Butler. Contributions may be made to the Spina Bifida Association or to the American Lung Association. Messages of condolence may be left for the family at

Norris Lee Smith, Sr., was born Jan. 18, 1959, in Kansas City the son of Norris Alger and Mabel Irene Henry Smith.

Norris truly loved his family and enjoyed spending as much time with them as possible. Two things he loved the most were sports and his grandchildren. Norris spent many years at the ball fields watching his children play and continued the tradition with his grandchildren.

He loved playing cards and dice while visiting his sister and brother-in-law. Norris was an avid Kansas City Chiefs fan and never missed a game. It could be said that some of the best moments of Norris’ life were found surrounded by his family while barbecuing and watching Chiefs football. Norris loved to laugh and make people smile whether through his wisecracks or practical jokes.

Norris was preceded in death by his parents; brother Steven Cox; and a niece, Lacey Smith-Thomas.

Norris is survived by his wife, Eva Smith, of the home in Butler; a son, Norris Smith and wife, Emily, and family, Adrian; a daughter, Amber Cooper and husband, Ryan, and family, Adrian; a son, Brandon Smith and family, Butler; a stepson, John Ganfield, Jr., and family, Harrisonville; a sister, Linda Roberts and husband, Tommy, Butler; a sister, Debbie Miller and husband, Rex, Belton; a sister, Rosalee Smith, Belton; along with many nieces and nephews; and beloved dog Brownie.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Mullinax Funeral Home, Butler.