Robert Van Garner

Robert Van Garner

Robert (Bob) Van Garner, 86, of Newton, Kansas, died Saturday, September 2, 2023, surrounded by family.

Bob was born outside of Eli, Nebraska, at the home of his parents, Lennie Maybee and Ruth Emma Galloway Garner. Bob’s family always celebrated his birthday on October 19 but due to how news traveled in 1936, his birth certificate lists his birthday as November 15. 

Bob had a great love for sports. As a participant, coach, and later, a spectator, he spent countless hours playing, watching, or cheering on others. Even in the last years as his eyesight failed he would attend games with his binoculars in tow so he could catch glimpses of the athletic endeavors of his grandchildren. 

Bob enjoyed all things outdoors, particularly archery and bow hunting, at which he was exceptionally skilled. His mechanical resourcefulness and ability to work with his hands set him apart. He was also an avid reader until his eyesight failed. He was a man of few words. One grandson said, “Grandpa never just says things to say them. There is always a reason behind it. Everything he says is important.” 

Bob was raised in the Nebraska Sandhills and graduated from high school in 1954 in Merriman, Nebraska. He served in the U.S. Army as a Helicopter Mechanic, where he also received awards for rifle marksmanship. He then went on to earn his Bachelor’s Degree from Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebraska. 

Bob married Carol Ann Cady on June 10, 1967, in Merriman, Nebraska.

Bob was a school teacher and coach for several years in Merriman.  Later on, he and his brothers formed Garnite, Inc., a commercial roofing company in Chapman, Kansas. In 1989 Bob and Carol relocated to North Texas with the business.

After living in Texas for 15 years, they returned to Kansas in 2007, living outside of Newton for 15 years before moving into town last year.

Survivors include his wife Carol of Newton; daughters Debra Ruth Oschner of Aurora, Colo., Denise Helen Abney of Harrisburg, MO., Cheryl Dawn Ammons of Wichita, Kan., Amy Jo Garner of Abilene, Kan., and Nikki Lynn Garner of Junction City, Kan.; Son-in-law Shawn Neil Ammons of Wichita, Kan.; 13 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and his brother Laddie Duane Garner of McKinney, Texas.

Robert is preceded in death by his first wife, Ione Adel Noble Garner; parents Lennie and Ruth; brother Larry Lyn Garner; and grandson Leslie Jon Oschner.

Memorial services will be held on October 14, 2023, at 10:00 AM at Grace Community Church in Newton, Kansas followed by lunch and a bow-shooting competition in the afternoon.

Arrangements are by Affordable Cremations Plus, Wichita, Kan.

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