William Garretson, Jr, Age 91

Story Photo

William A. Garretson, Jr., was born on June 29, 1927, in Long Beach, California, to Wm. A. Garretson and Bessie (John) Garretson. The family resided there for several years, moving back to Smith County, Kansas, in 1933, to a farm in Pleasant Township. By the time Bill was ready to begin school, he was already milking cows and doing chores. Bill and his sisters, Betty and Harriett, walked the mile to Jacksonburg School. A few years later, the family moved to their permanent home, closer to school, which meant milking and chores had to be done before they walked the quarter mile to school!

When Bill was in high school, the war was raging. Bill quit school during the second semester of his junior year to join the Navy. He took basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and was sent from there to Seattle, where he boarded the USS Maryland, destination unknown. As they traveled down the coast, the announcement was made that Japan had surrendered. The mission continued on, with a change of ships in Hawaii, to Okinawa. Bill was discharged in 1946 and returned to Smith Center High School, where he finished his education, graduating with the class of 1947. Bill was recalled to service in 1951, during the Korean War, and was stationed at Treasure Island, near San Francisco, California. He was honorably discharged in November of 1954.

Patriotism was of great importance to Bill, and his time in the U.S. Navy was a highlight of his life. He loved to visit with other veterans about their experiences, and when on his many travels, was able to renew acquaintance with several of his former Navy buddies. Upon retirement from the farm, he was very active in the local American Legion chapter, marching as part of the honor guard in parades, and raising flags on Memorial Day.

On June 29, 1952, while home on leave, Bill married his sweetheart, Norma Patman, at the Presbyterian Church in Smith Center. They became active members there, and he was ordained as an elder on December 29, 1957. The young couple farmed north of Bellaire until 1959 when they bought a farm and moved to the Reamsville area. The Reamsville Church, where Bill had attended as a youngster, then became their church home for the next 59 years. Bill loved adventure and new experiences, and he and Norma enjoyed extensive travels throughout the United States and much of Canada. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and riding his motorcycle. Bill both came from and became head of, a large family, of whom he was extremely proud.

Bill is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Norma; his children: James and wife, Donna (Garretson), Jenifer and husband, Jerald (Ratliff), and Janice and husband, Eric (Churchwell); his ten grandchildren: Christina (Garretson) and husband Ryan Sturdy; Michael and wife Jodi Garretson, David and wife Athena Garretson; Erin (Ratliff) and husband Mark Ludvicek, Colin and wife Kerri Ratliff, Lindsay (Ratliff) and husband Joel Trinidad; Cameron Ratliff, Vance Churchwell, Whitney Churchwell, and Heath Churchwell, along with eight great-grandchildren. Also surviving Bill are his sisters: Margaret Garretson, Virginia McBath, Marcia and husband LeRoy Heinrich, sisters-in-law, Carole Garretson and Helen Hooper; and his brothers: Stan, and wife Ellen, and Brent, and brother-in-law Jim Leising, as well as a host of nieces and nephews.

Proceeding Bill in death were a stillborn daughter, Gale Denise; his parents, Bill and Bessie Garretson; his sisters, Betty and husband Ralph Webster, Harriett and husband Vern Rounsley, Shirley Williss and husband Arthur Williss, and Linda Leising; brothers, Roger and wife Louise, and James Frederick (Fritz), and brothers-in-law Bill McBath and Stanley Hooper.

Memorial Contributions
Hospice Services of Smith County

Reamsville Church
L Road
Rural Smith County, Kansas 66967



Other Obituaries

Like us on Facebook! Job Hub