Sharon Springs, Kansas resident James Arnold “Jim” Gebhards, 84, died Sunday, July 12, 2015, at Lawrence, Kansas, in hospice care at Pioneer Ridge Retirement Community.
He was born September 2, 1930, on a farm near Weskan, Kansas, the son of Elizabeth (Weis) and Herman Gebhards. After graduating from Weskan High School, he farmed the family land for over sixty-five years, planting what would be his last wheat crop just last year.
On December 23, 1951, he and Sheila Dobbs were married. Together they raised James R. “Randy” Gebhards and Rex Arnold Gebhards. Jim loved his time on the tractor, even at the age of eighty-three. Perhaps even more than his tractor time, he enjoyed having a back-grounding calf operation, recognized each year at sale time, for its high quality. In addition to farming and tending cattle over the years, Jim enjoyed shooting and was a good shot, earning money as a jackrabbit market hunter in the 1940’s and 1950’s. A stint in construction building bridges, including the low-water bridge north of Weskan, was something he talked of often as a job that he truly enjoyed. He also liked reading about current events, geology, fossils, aviation, and cars. He had a rock collecting and polishing hobby and spent many hours “ talking fossils” with the late Pete Bussen at Penny’s Diner in Sharon Springs. He was a “dues-paying” member of several coffee drinker gatherings, working his way from Penny’s to Stephen’s to the Weskan Co-op, before taking up his daily farm chores south of Weskan.
Preceding Jim in death were his parents; sister Velma Smart and her husband Johnny Smart; sister Loretta Smart and her husband Roy; brother-in-law Robert Gittinger; and brother Dale Gebhards.
Surviving family includes his wife Sheila Gebhards of Sharon Springs; sons James R. “Randy” and his wife Lou Ann; of Lawrence; Rex Arnold Gebhards of Weskan; sister Irene Gittinger of Goodland; sister-in-law Sheila Kay Gebhards of Walnut Creek, California; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial service will be Saturday, July 25, at 9 AM MT, at Koons Funeral Home in Sharon Springs, with Reverend Paul McNall officiating. Inurnment will follow in the Weskan Cemetery
Memorials may be designated to the Ft. Wallace Memorial Assoc. or donor’s choice, and may be mailed to Koons Funeral Home, 211 N. Main, Goodland, KS 67735-1555. Online condolences: www.koonsfuneralhome.com
The family wishes to thank the caring and supportive nurses and staff on second floor north at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, the Pioneer Ridge Rapid Recovery Unit, Grace Hospice, and Dr. Walter Farrel and Dr. Jason Kimball, who took such good care of Jim in his last months. His time in Lawrence was a blessing to his family. Special thanks also to Brian Unruh, P.A. with Colby’s Citizen’s Medical Center, who took such good care of Jim for many years, during his time in western Kansas.