Bill Meisenheimer, 101, of Hiawatha, died May 31, 2019. Bill was born 2 miles south of Hiawatha on the family farm Dec. 9, 1917, to Lee Roy and Helen Ferbrache Meisenheimer. He was their only child and was raised as a hardworking farm boy who learned to farm with and take care of horses while also taking care of mules, cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens and a large family garden. Bill graduated in 1935, from Hiawatha High.
When asked about growing up during the Great Depression, he would say they did not notice it because they, and everyone else, was so poor. His parents lost the family farm in the Depression and they became tenant farmers, living on other peoples farms. Bill always had a full time job in town while farming his entire life. One of his first jobs as a young man was working at Weekly Gas Station in Hiawatha washing windshields, checking oil and tires and pumping gas. He worked in Kansas City in metal fabrication during WW2. Bill married Pauline Sweezey, of Hamlin, in 1943, and they were married for just over 71 years until her death in 2014. They had two sons, William and John. William died in 2003. John lives at Troy, Kansas.
Bill volunteered for the US Army during WW2 but was turned down due to what they said was a bad back, even though he never had back trouble in his life. He then tried to join the Kansas Highway Patrol but they also turned him down due to the Army saying he had a bad back. Bill worked for his cousin Dallas Kurtz in Kurtz Construction of Horton for many years. During this time he had several duties including soil conservation work building many watershed dams, many miles of terraces, and many acres of waterways in Brown, Jackson, and Atchison counties while operating a bulldozer. He was also a mechanic and welder for Kurtz. He worked in the Kurtz concrete plant and hauled many loads of concrete used in building such things as Midway School and Horton Hospital. Bill later worked at Wilde Tools for quite a few years working on tool fabrication.
After he came home from work he usually worked on the farm until after dark. Mom always said that Dad was a hobby farmer because he had to work in town to make enough money to be able to farm. We two boys were glad when school started each Fall so we got a vacation from working on the farm every day. Dad spent about 50 years working full time in town plus farming at night, weekends and many holidays. He was a Farmer, Welder, Truck Driver, Mechanic, Dozer Operator, Concrete Finisher, Tool Maker, and even a part time Hot Rodder who loved to watch stock car racing at local race tracks or on TV.
Survivors: son, John; grandsons, Brian Meisenheimer, of Van Nuys, California, Brent Meisenheimer, of Austin, Texas, Martin Meisenheimer, of Long Island, Kansas; granddaughter, Traci Faulk, of Kansas City, Missouri; step-granddaughter, Ronni Hulbert, of St Joseph, Missouri; step-grandson, Brian Hulbert, of Anamosa, Iowa; and six great-grandchildren.
It was Bills wish to be cremated with a private burial at Hiawatha Cemetery.
Chapel Oaks Funeral Home is assisting the family.
A special message or remembrance may be sent to the family at www.chapeloaksfuneralhome.com As published in the Hiawatha World.