Otis Unruh passed away peacefully Sunday afternoon, Nov. 8, 2020, at the age of 99, at Kidron Bethel Health Care Center, North Newton, Kansas.
Otis was born March. 22, 1921, on a farm near Goessel, Kansas, to Heinrich B. and Maria (Voth)
Unruh. The family moved to Halstead Kansas in 1937 where Otis graduated from Halstead High School 1939.
Otis and his family attended First Mennonite Church in Halstead. On June 11, 1941, Otis married Vera Matthies, also of rural Halstead, at First Mennonite in Halstead, a marriage that lasted over 72 years, when Vera passed away in 2013. They made their first home in Halstead. A year later, Otis was drafted and served as a non-combatant during World War II at an army hospital located in Oxford, England till 1945 when he returned home. During this time apart, Vera lived in Wichita and worked at the Fourth National Bank.
After the war, they made their home on west 1st St. in Newton, where Otis worked for the rail mill. Later Otis began working for Kansas Gas & Electric Co. and soon they moved to rural Burns, KS. Their next move was back to Newton, and finally to 518 S.E. 10th, where they lived from 1947 till 2002, when they moved to Kidron-Bethel Retirement village. During the 55 years Vera and Otis lived at 518 S.E. 10th, Wayne was born in 1947, Daryl was born in 1951 and Sandra (Sandy) was born in 1958. Otis worked at Kansas Gas and Electric Company (KG&E) for 40 years from 1946 to 1986, retiring at 65.
After retirement, Otis and Vera enjoyed spending the winters in Arizona as “snow birds” visiting both Wayne and his family, as well as, Sandy and her family. They made these trips for 22 years and really enjoyed these times together with family and with many new friends they made there. Family times were always very important, especially gatherings with immediate and extended families for holidays and special occasions.
Throughout these years, Otis was very active at First Mennonite church in Newton serving as an usher, a “Boys League” leader, on the Board of Trustees, and on the Board of Deacons. He also enjoyed singing with the chancel choir for many years. One of his favorite activities was singing with the Kansas Mennonite Men’s Chorus from its beginning in 1978 for over 40 years.
Otis and Vera made several other memorable trips over the years. They traveled to Hawaii for their 40th wedding anniversary, and made a trip to Saskatoon, Canada. Their most memorable trip was to the Mennonite World Conference in Strasbourg, France which also included a two-week trip to the Holy Land.
At home in their duplex at Kidron Bethel Village, Otis enjoyed meeting and making friends. Men’s coffee in the afternoons was always a favorite. He also liked doing woodworking projects in his garage shop and made many wooden toys for his grandchildren.
Otis’s care and concern for family and friends will most certainly be missed. He was preceded in death by Vera, his parents, his sisters Hunora, Rosetta, Velma, Darlene and Annetta. Otis is survived by Wayne and his wife Laura, grandson Jeff, great-grandchildren Kori, Rebecca and C.J., and great-great-grandchildren Bralyn and Andrea; Daryl and his wife Cindy, and grandsons Graham and his wife Rachel, great-grandchild Owen; and Mason; Sandy and granddaughter
Nicole, and great-granddaughter Mattison; and sister-in-law Mary Janzen and her family.
We love you and take comfort in knowing you are in Jesus’ care.