Obituaries: Dec. 13, 2018

Joy Lee Mills

Feb. 21, 1954—Dec. 11, 2018

Joy Lee Mills, 64, Harrisonville, died Dec. 11 at her home. Funeral services were Dec. 17 at the United Methodist Church in Harrisonville, with burial in Orient Cemetery, Harrisonville. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harrisonville Public School Foundation.

Joy was born Feb. 21, 1954, in Harrisonville, the daughter of Vernon Lee and Barbara Kay (Harvey) Walker.

She was a 1972 graduate of Harrisonville High School and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Education from Missouri Valley College, Marshall, where she was involved in the drama department.

Joy married William F. “Bill” Mills Aug. 5, 1975, in Harrisonville. She taught special education at Harrisonville High School. She also owned and operated Learning Tree Day Care Center for 10 years. Joy also co-owned and operated the Gold Crown Hallmark store in Harrisonville, which opened in 1991.

Joy was co-owner of The Family Center and was the gift buyer for many years for all of the stores.

She served on the Cass Regional Medical Center Foundation Board and was involved with the Harrisonville School PTO for many years. She was a member of the DAR and a member of Bayard Chapter No. 179, Order of Eastern Star, and had been very active with the Rainbow Girls.

She was also a member of the Red Hat Society. Her favorite place to be was at their lake home on Mantrap Lake in Nevis, Minnesota, where they had spent many summers.

Joy was preceded in death by her parents and one brother, Kirk Walker.

She is survived by her husband, Bill, of the home; two sons, Jarrett Keith Mills and his wife, Melissa, Grandview, and their daughter, Audrey, and Justin Blake Mills and his wife, Katherine, Olathe, Kansas, and their two children, Wyatt and Owen; two brothers, Jef Walker and his wife, Raylene, Rolla, and their children, Shayla Black and Logan Walker, and Jay Walker and his wife, Dawn, Farmington; one sister, Jil (Walker) Hesser, Mesa, Arizona, and her children, Tara, Karina and Brandon; and other relatives and many friends.

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


John Leroy “Buddy” Ritter

Nov. 11, 1938—Dec. 11, 2018

John Leroy “Buddy” Ritter, 80, Harrisonville, died Dec. 11 at Research Medical Center, Kansas City. Funeral services were Dec. 15 at the Atkinson Funeral Home, Harrisonville. Burial was in Wills Cemetery, Peculiar.

John was born November 11, 1938, in Creighton, the son of John W. and Edna (Palmer) Ritter. He was married to Edwina M. Tiedeman June 26, 1961, at the home of Rev. Joe Brewster in Harrisonville.  He had lived in Creighton and Kansas City before moving to Peculiar in 1975. John had lived in Harrisonville since 1989. He was a Navy veteran and drove a propane truck for Union Gas and Synergy Propane in Peculiar before his retirement in 1993.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters and a step-brother.  John is  survived by his wife, Edwina, Harrisonville; two sons, Johnny Ritter and Glenn (Kimberly) Ritter, all of Harrisonville; four daughters, Becky Ritter, Kansas City, Linda (Charles) Reece, Harrisonville, Brenda (Wesley) Rhoads, Burlingame, Kansas, and Barbara Hernandez, Harrisonville; one sister, Naomi Palo, Harrisonville; 16 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

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


Judy Kay Sidebottom

Dec. 7, 2018

Judy Kay Sidebottom, 71, Harrisonville, died Dec. 7 at Research Medical Center, Kansas City. A memorial gathering will be held at a later date.

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


Timothy Wayne Watton

Nov. 24, 2018

Timothy “Tim” Wayne Watton, 70, Garden City, died Nov. 24 at the VA Medical Center, Kansas City.

He is survived by his wife, Julia Watton, of the home; three sons, Shane Watton, Frank James Watton and wife, Gina, and Chris Hagemann; a daughter, Cindy Hagemann; numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren; a brother, Bill Watton; and other relatives and friends.

Cremation. A celebration of life service was Dec. 4 at the Bethel Assembly of God Church, Garden City.

Inurnment was Dec. 5 at the Missouri Veterans Cemetery, Higginsville.

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


Ralph Leonard “Butch” Wright

June 4, 1938 – Dec. 7, 2018

Ralph Leonard “Butch” Wright was born June 4, 1938, in Yakima, Washington, the son of Herbert Wright and Mildred (Prewitt) Wright. He died Dec. 7 at St. Luke’s East Hospital, Lee’s Summit, surrounded by the love of his family, at the age of 80 years, 6 months and 3 days.

The Wright family moved to Pleasant Hill when Butch was 14 years old. He was a 1956 graduate of Pleasant Hill High School and senior class president.

After graduation, Butch worked for Bendix Corporation. While working at Bendix, Butch joined the National Guard and in 1958 he was called to active duty, serving for one year. At the completion of his active duty, he continued with the National Guard in Raytown until he was called to active duty for the second time. After that active duty tour he was stationed at the Nike Base near Pleasant Hill, then he was sent to the 1139th MP CO in Harrisonville. Butch’s unit was called up again in 1990 in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Butch retired from the National Guard with 36 years of service.

Aug. 22, 1965, Butch was married to  Mary Eleaine Hoen and they made their home in Pleasant Hill until 1989, when they moved to their farm in Adrian.

Butch was preceded in death by his wife, Mary E. (Hoen) Wright, April 20, 2016; his parents, Herbert Wright and Mildred (Prewitt) Wright; five brothers, Jerry, Dale, Lloyd, Robert and Michael Wright; two sisters, Jean Green and Hazel Quinn; and a grandson, Corey Gibbons.

He is survived by two daughters, Mellissa (Wright) Gibbons and husband, Ron, Pleasant Hill, and Rhonda (Wright) Walley and husband, Jay, Adrian; three sisters, Barbara Clawson and husband, Bill, Pleasant Hill, Mary Samantha Johnson, Banning, California, and Judy Todd and husband, Mike, Harrisonville; three grandchildren, Trever Wilson, Pleasant Hill, Conrad and Anna Walley, both of Adrian; two stepgrandchildren, Crystal Hunter and Kyle Gibbons, both of Pleasant Hill; numerous great-grandchildren; and other relatives and many friends.

Funeral services were Dec. 14 at the Wallace Funeral Home, Pleasant Hill, with the Rev. David Owsley officiating. Casket bearers were Conrad Walley, Trever Wilson, Jay Walley, Ron Gibbons, Mike Todd and Jerry Land. Burial was in the Pleasant Hill Cemetery with full military honors provided by the United States Army and VFW Post No. 3118 Honor Guard of Pleasant Hill.

The family suggests contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association and may be left at the funeral home.

Arrangements were under the direction of the Wallace Funeral Home, Pleasant Hill.


Teddy Joe “Ted” Zellmer

June 30, 1935 – Dec. 10, 2018

Teddy Joe “Ted” Zellmer, 83, Harrisonville, died Dec. 10 at his home. Funeral services were Dec. 15 at the Cornerstone Community Church, Harrisonville, with burial in Orient Cemetery, Harrisonville. Memorial contributions may be made to the Cornerstone Community Church Memorial Fund.

Ted was born June 30, 1935, near Amsterdam, the son of Carl Henry “Hank” and Izola Fay (Conard) Zellmer. When Ted was young, the family relocated to the Hickory Grove Community south of Freeman. Ted attended Hickory Grove Rural School before graduating from Harrisonville High School in 1952. Ted continued with his education and received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1956. He served in the Army Reserves from 1959 to 1964. He married Virginia “Ginny” Louise Purdy June 30, 1957, at the Adrian Methodist Church, Adrian. Together they owned and operated a farm near Harrisonville. Ginny preceded him in death Jan. 14, 2015.

He married Patricia Ann (Slocum) Sweet July 8, 2017, and they enjoyed country life together on Ted’s cattle farm.

Ted was a farmer by profession and he was a nurturer in all that he touched, in addition to building a successful farm in both crops and livestock where he was known as a progressive innovator,

Ted was active in nurturing his family, his agriculture industry and his faith. Ted offered his time and expertise to serve in many agricultural organizations.

He served the Mizzou Agriculture Alumni Association as a member and then president and the Cass County Farm Bureau in many capacities and offices, including president. He took his turn leading the Cass County Pork Producers and especially enjoyed working with the crew serving porkburgers in the “Pork Shack” as a promotion for their commodity.

Other agriculture-related organizations in which he served in many capacities included the Cass County Soil and Water Conservation Board, The Missouri Pork Producers, the Farm Credit Services Board and the Cass County Roads and Bridges Advisory Committee.

Ted was recognized with many service awards and received the Cass County Farm Management Award (Balanced Farming) along with his late wife Virginia, and Master Pork Producer from the Missouri Pork Producers. He was in the United States Army Reserves for six years and served as a Staff Sergeant. In all these service opportunities, he sought to improve the group and the circumstances of the members.

Ted was deeply committed in his Christian faith and enjoyed serving in several churches in various capacities. He invested in the Archie Methodist Church as lay leader, Sunday School teacher, worship leader and, together with Ginny, led the youth group for several years. Throughout his life, he served in many key leadership roles in whatever church he attended. He was a charter member of Cornerstone Community Church in Harrisonville and managed the construction of the church’s building. He served as an Elder, but especially enjoyed teaching adult Sunday school classes and encouraging others in their walk with the Lord.

He was always available to fill the pulpit and was known for teaching “object lessons” involving toy wagons, tools and agriculture parables.

His energy and stamina were evident as he served at Cornerstone and he was once described as “a 20-year-old trapped in a 65-year-old body.”

Ted took great delight and responsibility in nurturing his family and was influential on each generation.

His generosity and helping hands were available to all. He believed in the importance of education and influenced his children to excel. He believed in service and strongly influenced his family to be generous in giving their time to serve other people through organizations and in their careers.

His high energy and enjoyment of any new project made him a valuable asset in assisting his family and friends with their own ventures.

Ted was a great mentor to many in fathering, farming, faith matters and serving others. Even in the last few years, along with his wife, Patt, he was always seeking to encourage others with a helping hand, a good visit and a good laugh as they both enjoyed each other, their families and whatever the next project was at hand.

Ted was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife, Ginny, and one grandson, Brice Heid.

He is survived by his wife, Patt, of the home; two daughters, Peggy Heid and husband, Brent, and Vicky Hartzler and husband, Lowell, all of Harrisonville; one brother, Fred Zellmer and wife, Linda, Freeman; five grandchildren, Jared, Devin, Landon, and Caleb Heid and Tiffany Hartzler; four great-grandchildren, Elaena, Avery, Arely and Evana Heid; Patt’s children, Keith Sweet and wife, Janet, and Blake Sweet and wife, Patty; Patt’s 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.