Hillsboro – Wilbur E. Hanneman, 95, passed away June 6, 2019 at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro. He was born December 17, 1923 to Henry and Pauline (Winter) Hanneman in Inola, Oklahoma. He married Mildred Frick February 4, 1945 in Durham. Survivors include: sons, Del (Becky) Hanneman of Wichita, Keith Hanneman of Lancaster, PA; daughters, Elaine (Frank) Nelson of Overland Park, KS, Gloria Hanneman of Wichita; 8 grandchildren and 18 great – grandchildren. Celebration of Life Service 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro. Family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday at Jost Funeral Home in Hillsboro. Interment at Frick cemetery rural Durham. Memorials to Hillsboro M.B. Church in care of Jost Funeral Home P.O. Box 266 Hillsboro. Online condolences at www.jostfuneralhome.com
Life Sketch Taken From The Funeral Bulletin
Wilbur Hanneman was born on December 17, 1923, near Inola, Oklahoma to Henry and Pauline (Winter) Hanneman. He was the youngest child of his family and his older siblings were Stella, Mildred and Irven. When he was one year old, the family moved to a farm north of Walton, KS, where he went to school from first through third grade. Then, they moved on a farm eleven miles south of Hillsboro and he finished eighth grade. He attended high school in Hillsboro and, because of the distance, had to stay in the home of some relatives. He was enrolled in “Regular German”, but he only knew “Low German”. Due to the combination of being homesick and the “Regular German” course being too difficult, he quit high school after three days and never went back. He then concentrated on farming with his dad and his brother Irven.
Regarding the condition of their farm house, Dad told a story of stepping into a small snow drift when getting out of bed in the morning. Apparently, there was enough of a gap in the siding to allow snow to sift through the bedroom wall during a snow blizzard. He also experienced and told stories regarding the dust storms of the 1930s.
The family attended the Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church. Wilbur was 14 years old when he went forward at an evangelistic meeting at Tabor College and accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Later he was baptized with a large group of young people in a creek. He loved the Lord who gave him peace, joy and happiness during his life. His favorite Bible verses were John 3:16, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:6-7.
When he was 19 years old, he bought a newly-painted 1939 Model A Ford car, which he enjoyed very much. In 1943, Mildred “Millie” Frick was working at the Harvey House as a waitress in the Newton Depot. A neighbor girl worked there also and arranged a blind date for Wilbur to meet Millie. That was a loving highlight for both of them. That led them to a one year, three month courtship.
Wilbur and Millie were married on February 4, 1945 at the First Baptist Church in Durham, KS. They moved to a farm near Peabody, KS and had four children: Elaine, Delbert, Gloria and Keith. They enjoyed going to the Ebenfeld MB Church where Wilbur and Millie also served as a deacon couple. All of their children accepted the Lord as their Savior, were baptized and sang in the choir.
Regarding his life as a farmer, Wilbur never owned any farmland. That meant that he had to rent enough ground to support his family. In the early years, he attempted to be a tenant farmer for two or three landlords, which was difficult. Within a few years, all of his land was rented from one landlord, which continued until he retired from farming in 1986. However, when that landlord insisted that Dad harvest wheat on Sunday, Wilbur’s response was “I will when the sun comes up in the west.” He taught us all about integrity and honesty in the context of making sure that the landlord received his share of all produced crops.
One year in June, Del had some city friends come out to experience the farm during wheat harvest. When they woke in the morning, it had rained and it was too wet to cut wheat. By mid-morning, the whole group was at Marion Reservoir waterskiing. Del’s friends said that they never expected to come out to the farm and spend time at the lake in the middle of harvest. Later that afternoon, conditions had dried out enough that we were harvesting in full swing again.
Wilbur supplemented his farming income by working in Hillsboro as a carpenter. The majority of the time, he did carpenter work for wages. But, he was the general contractor on the construction of one home and enjoyed pointing it out to us whenever we drove by. He also used his carpenter skills to renovate a building in Peabody, which became the Peabody Bible Church. They started attending there to encourage church growth.
Wilbur and Millie enjoyed farming, raising crops, cattle, chickens and pigs. As you can imagine, there are endless stories that we could tell. After 41 years, they had a farm equipment sale on July 19, 1986 and moved to Hillsboro. For a few years, they continued to attend Peabody Bible Church until they joined the Hillsboro MB Church. Wilbur and Millie volunteered at the Et Cetera Shop in Hillsboro. Wilbur was known as Mr. Fix-it, because he was willing to repair donated items. Also, he joined the Gideons and dedicated a lot of time to that Bible distribution ministry.
After retirement, Wilbur did carpenter work at the Union Rescue Mission in Wichita. When the mission bought the large nursing building on north Hillside, Wilbur was asked to oversee the shingling of the roof, which covered four wings and a chapel. After Millie’s passing in 2004, Wilbur continued to “farm” his grass around his house and maintained a couple of rental properties. In April 2016, he found an enticing apartment at Parkside Homes with large south windows and no grass for him to mow. Within a 24-hour period, he put a deposit down on the apartment, listed his house for sale and scheduled an auction for his household goods. Then, he called his four kids and told them what he had done. He moved to assisted living in Parkside Homes on June 30, 2016 and he particularly enjoyed the 10 AM coffee time.
Dad was of the generation that experienced the Great Depression of the 1930s, and it flavored his mindset until the day he went to be with Jesus. Some examples of its effect were: thriftiness, caring for things to make them last and using the least amount to make the quantity you had last as long as possible.
Our precious Lord gave him a long life and we are all grateful that his relationship with the Lord continued to mature until he went to his eternal home. Wilbur passed away peacefully on June 6, 2019, at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro. Wilbur was predeceased by his parents, his siblings, his wife, Millie, and his daughter-in-law, Linda. Wilbur is survived by his children: Elaine (Frank) Nelson, Del (Becky) Hanneman, Gloria Hanneman, Keith Hanneman; 8 grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren.
We would like to thank the Parkside Homes staff for their loving care of Wilbur.