Robert Perry Rhea, 95, Yates Center, died Sunday, January 17, 2009, at Coffey County Hospital in Burlington.
He was born Dec. 3, 1914, in Rural Woodson County to Robert Walter and Ina M. Watts Rhea. He graduated from Yates Center High School and attended Emporia State University.
On Feb. 11, 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant before his Honorable Discharge on Jan. 23, 1946.
He married Betty Eloise Starks on Nov. 20, 1948. They shared more than 46 years of marriage before her death on June 20, 1995.
He was a rancher for many years before he became owner of the Rhea’s Sundries in Gridley, which he had for several years before beginning employment with Farm Bureau Insurance in Yates Center. He was the local Farm Bureau agent for numerous years before he went to work for the Yates Center High School where he worked until his retirement.
He was an active member of the local Gilead Masonic Lodge 144 in Yates Center where he was a Master Mason. He also was a member of the Scottish Rite, Mirza Shrine Temple, Little Wheels, Mini B’s, and MG’s Shrine Units. He was also involved with the Hospital Dad’s Shrine Unit. He was a member of the Yates Center Lions Club, Yates Center Chamber of Commerce, Yates Center Volunteer Fire Department, and a Lifetime Member of the Woodson County Historical Society.
Survivors include a son and daughter-in-law, Larry and Vera Rhea, Jefferson City, Mo.; two daughters and sons-in-law, Anita and Michael De La Torre, Chanute, and Bobbi and Charles Shahan, Yates Center; 12 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren; a brother, Myron “Mike” Rhea; and four nephews and two nieces.
He was preceded in death by two sisters, Nadine Davidson and Mildred Knox.
Funeral will be 10 a.m. Friday at the First United Methodist Church in Yates Center.
The family will greet friends from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Campbell Funeral Home.
Contributions may made to the First United Methodist Church or the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children in care of Campbell Funeral Home, P.O. Box 188, Yates Center, KS 667836.