John D. Hett
MARION — John D. Hett was born April 4, 1930 to John and Rena (Conyers) Hett of rural Marion, Kan. He passed away Nov. 10, 2012, in Marion, after a prolonged illness.
John lived in rural Marion, near the town of Aulne, his entire life. As the youngest of nine children in a happy and loving family, there were many large and interesting gatherings involving relatives and friends. Stories about these events and the happenings spawned by lives filled with the joy of strong family relationships and a certain creative humor abound in the lives of those who had the privilege to experience and participate in this family.
John’s life was characterized by an open invitation to conversation with anyone who crossed his path. He is known for his many stories and his love for telling them. Each rendition seemed to come with a new twist of humor, and an embellishment that brought a new perspective and opportunity for laughter with those who happened to be in his presence. All knew the story at hand may very well include some event or happening which included John, or perhaps even those who were present. Or, that story may even include another twist only remotely related to the main event being told. All knew those stories were never told with malicious or mean intent, but only to provide an opportunity for joy or humor in the lives of those in attendance. During his time of living at St Luke Living Center he continued to engage staff, visitors, and family in his numerous conversations and stories, endearing himself to all he encountered.
John and his brother, Jim began farming together shortly after graduating from Marion High School. Their early work together included an earth-moving business, which started John’s love of using the heavy equipment necessary for such work, a love that endured the remainder of his life. However, farming remained John’s primary work and his interest in agriculture persisted to the last days of his life. His work with crops and livestock was used to teach his children values of honesty, integrity, perseverance, and hard work. He encouraged each to learn skills uniquely suited to his or her personality that would help them provide for their families.
Early in life, John decided to follow Christ as his Lord and Savior. It was a decision that shaped his life as he sought to help those in difficult circumstances. Over the years, his love for children and families became apparent as adults told of his work in their lives as young children. His life was one of generous provision of time and resources for those in need. He was baptized and joined his wife at Emmanuel Baptist Church, a decision made together because the church had been through a difficult time and needed families who could support the work. It was a decision that united their marriage and was characteristic of their generous spirit to work in the place of greatest need.
While attending a wedding, John met Kathryn Popp who was playing the organ. They began a courtship that lead to their marriage on Sept. 4, 1953. Their life together was one of a gentle love for each other and a generous hospitality to all who crossed their path. Together they hosted innumerable gatherings of family, friends, and strangers. Kathryn’s death May 18, 2000, left a void in his life that was never replaced.
John was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Kathryn; an infant sister, Edith Hett; a sister, Iva Unruh; his brothers, Ron, Walt, Ern, Russ, and Tom; and a son-in-law, Lance Fleming. He was joined in heaven, by his sister, Ellen Darrow, on Nov. 12, 2012.
He is lovingly survived by a brother, Jim and wife Carol Hett of Marion; his sons, Ed and wife Jean Hett of Wichita, Eldon and wife Rhonda Hett of Marion, and Dave and wife Michele Hett of Marion; his daughters, Debra and husband Wayne Geis of Durham and Janet and husband Bruce Plank of Marion; 22 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; and innumerable children who call him Grandpa John.
The funeral was at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, at the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Marion, with Pastor Josh Wesner officiating. Interment was in the Marion Cemetery. Memorial funds have been established for Emmanuel Baptist Church or for the St. Luke Foundation (for a nursing scholarship) in care of Zeiner Funeral Home, 205 Elm St., Marion, KS 66861.