Obituary of Gilmer Nellis
Gilmer Keith Nellis, 94, of Coffeyville, Kansas passed away on Friday, September 8, 2017 at St. Johns Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Gilmer was an active member of "the greatest generation". They were born in the crucible of the Great Depression and tempered in the furnace of World War II. Gilmer was born on May 17, 1923 in Winfield, Kansas to Frank and Lola (Hoyt) Nellis. He grew up in Winfield where he attended local schools. He graduated high school at Winfield High School in May 1941.
Gilmer proudly served his country when he enlisted in the United States Army on January, 1942 following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He returned to his home in Winfield where he married the woman that had written him almost daily letters during his 3 year absence. On September 30, 1945 he was united in marriage to Peggy P. Jones in Winfield, Kansas. The couple made their home in Winfield where he finished his BS in Business Education at Southwestern College. Gilmer's first teaching job was to teach typing and shorthand at Dexter High School in Dexter, KS. Gilmer moved his family to Garden City to the newly separated Junior College there and taught Accounting and Economics. During his stay in Garden City Gilmer finished his MA in Education at Kansas State Teachers College, Emporia, KS. It was here that he and Dr. Finley Hartzler co-authored a book on How to Set Up a Business Department in a High School. After those years Gilmer made his final location move to Coffeyville where they raised their three children. Peggy preceded him in death on December 9, 1986.
Gilmer's career at Coffeyville Junior College, began in 1955 when he was hired to teach Accounting and Economics. Gilmer became close friends with another new hire that year Jack Hartman. Gilmer was the official scorekeeper at both home and away games for the Red Ravens. His love affair with basketball had started at much earlier age, he was a member of the U.S.Army Southern Theater team during World War II. Gilmer traveled extensively with the Red Ravens through Hartman's reign as head coach. As the junior college environment began to change, Gilmer transitioned to Administration. When in 1969 he was named Dean of Administration, a position he held until his retirement. Gilmer also traveled to many Red Raven football games. If you looked in the stands you would find Gilmer, usually with his family, and later with his grandchildren. After Gilmer retired from active participation in the daily affairs of the now Coffeyville Community College, but still his beloved Red Ravens, he was elected to two terms as a member of the Board of Trustees, serving as its President.
In March 10, 1990 he was united in marriage to Betty J. Ong at the First United Methodist Church in Coffeyville.
He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Coffeyville. In his younger years he taught Sunday school. He enjoyed working. He loved to build things; every summer he would frame in a house to work on. He built the home he and Betty share on Wilshire as well as a house on the lake and at least fifteen other houses locally. He loved to play tennis with his friends and enjoyed playing cards. Most of all he loved the time he spent surrounded by his family and friends. When asked which he enjoyed most building or teaching, Gilmer would respond that a building will grow obsolete, but the growth of a mind is never diminished. While Gilmer enjoyed working, his love and passion was for education. A man that spent over 50 years serving the students of Kansas.
Surviving to honor his memory are his loving wife, Betty of the home; children, Robert Nellis and wife, Anne of Independence, Missouri, Kirk Nellis and wife, Adell of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cheryl Wilson and husband, Pat of Coffeyville, Kansas, Robert Ong and wife, Monica of Parsons, Kansas, Michael Seeley and wife, Gloria of Hurst, Texas; grandchildren, Kathrina Nellis, Philip (Jes) Nellis, Janell (Ryan) Carter, Jonathan (Rose) Nellis, Kyle (Monica) Wilson, Keith (Jacque) Wilson, Kevin (Melanie) Wilson, Lindsay (Eric) Jones, Sarah Ong; and ten great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Lola Nellis; wife, Peggy; step son, Mark Seeley; grandson, Brian Keith Nellis; brothers, Alden Nellis and Ralph Nellis.
Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at Coffeyville Community College Nellis Hall at 10:00 a.m. Private family burial will take place at a later time.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. at CCC in the Oak Room, the family will be present to greet friends.
The family suggests in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the CCC Gilmer Nellis Scholarship Fund and can be left at the funeral home or mailed in c/o David W. Barnes Funeral Home, 306 N. Cline Road, Coffeyville, KS 67337.