Bill R. Kliewer, 78, died peacefully on March 31, 2022, at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. He was born on April 15, 1943, to Edward and Wilma Kliewer in Beaver, Oklahoma, with dreams of being a cowboy, raising cattle.
Growing up, Bill loved the farm life, but there was always time to play basketball with his dad when he got home from work. As a typical farm kid, he started driving the tractor at the age of nine and enjoyed participating in 4H.
Bill’s faith journey started in 1955 when he accepted Jesus Christ at the age of twelve at an all-church revival. His love for Jesus led him to be actively involved in the church, from teaching little kids to serving in leadership roles. But more than that, his life was a message to the life that Christ had called him to live.
Bill went off to college where all he wanted to do was play basketball. He started in Alva, Oklahoma, playing one year for Northwest before transferring to Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas, where he finished his basketball career. Bill went on to graduate with a Business Degree in 1965.
Bill & Sue’s love story started in September of 1966 on one Saturday morning at a laundromat. They would get engaged two months later and get married on March 18, 1967, in Wichita, Kansas. They enjoyed 55 years together and were blessed with two sons, Richard and John.
Bill valued hard work and enjoyed many successful years in business, retiring in 2014 as a financial advisor. His love for helping others and walking alongside them was more than just a job; it was his purpose. Bill used the work God had called him to as his way of connecting with others.
Bill was a longtime active member of Koerner Heights Mennonite Brethren Church in Newton, Kansas. He taught the Wednesday night kids’ program for over 15 years. Bill’s passion was working with the four-and five-year-olds, and quickly became known as “Mr. Bill.” He loved being with them on the floor and making them smile, all while sharing the love of Jesus, “adopting” them as his own over the years.
Bill always loved his cars. His first car was a Chevy Impala 409. His love for cars carried over into helping his boys with their Mustangs, getting ready for a car show, or just working on them in the driveway. What he enjoyed most was asking friends and family if they wanted to ride in his 1979 red Corvette. If you were lucky, he would hand you the keys!
Bill’s faith would get its biggest test on June 9, 1986, through his son Richard, and his journey with cancer. Bill turned to the one he trusted most, his Lord, knowing God would give him the strength to endure. He was not going to quit fighting for his son. Bill did what he was called to do and that was lead his family, and through this journey he learned that even in the tough times you can trust God. Bill was incredible with Richard. They simply did life together with more car shows and Braum’s ice cream runs than you can count. He taught how to love family by how he showed his love to Rich.
Bill extended his love for family to his grandkids. If “Papa Bill” had the chance, he would tell you all about them. From his special bond with his only granddaughter, Jessalyn, and their many lunch dates during college and when she spent a year living in Newton, to his two grandsons, Preston and Griffin, and their basketball accomplishments. Bill trusted his grandkids. He loved it when they would go to the Lake of the Ozarks where they enjoyed driving the boat and spending time on the water, simply known as “Bill’s Condo” by them and their friends.
No matter what name he went by, Billy Ray (by his mother), Bill, Dad, Papa Bill, Mr. Bill, if you knew Bill you knew he loved people. Bill was the true example of gospel humility. He didn’t think more of himself, or less of himself. He simply thought of himself less!
He is survived by his loving wife, Susan, two sons, Richard and John (Megan) Kliewer and three grandchildren, Jessalyn, Preston and Griffin. He is also survived by his brother, Dean Kliewer, and his sister, Cletta (Gene) Crockett.
Bill is preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, April 5, 2022, at Koerner Heights Church in Newton, Kansas, with Pastor Dave Froese presiding. The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. Tuesday until the commencement of the service at 11:00 am. Lunch will be served immediately following the service. Memorial donations may be made to the Koerner Heights Church Benevolent Fund, designated for health care needs.