William Franklin DeFreece, 76, ofGardner,Kan., passed away Sept. 20, 2012 at the KU Medical Center from complications due to Pancreatic cancer.
William was born June 9, 1936 inCameron,Mo.to Asa and Alma (Gibson) DeFreece.
He played football and basketball forCameronHigh Schooland graduated in 1955.
William was known to most as “Bill”, but was also fondly called: “Willy”, “Wild Bill”, “Sweet William” and “Pops”. Many family and friends have heard the tale of how Bill lost the use of one of his eyes as a young boy. As the story goes, he and his brother, Bob, were playing “Cowboys and Indians” in, around, and atop the barn. Bob had fashioned a makeshift bow and arrow from twigs and a bit of string. Guess what happened next. Other stories of Bill’s youth include slipping off the high-dive and splitting his head open poolside, and having Polio as a child. As a father, Bill had the unique opportunity of delivering his third child on the way to the hospital. And his stubborn streak was revealed when he wouldn’t quit an arm-wrestling match until he fractured his arm.
As a young man, he worked for Waddell & Reed, and was the owner of the Gardner Western Auto in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Bill married Sharon Earlene Hall on May 14, 1988 atGardnerLake.
Over 30 years of his working career was spent at the Continental / Contel / Sprint Phone Company.
In addition toCameron,Mo., Bill also lived inSt. Joseph,Mo., Shawnee Mission, Kan.,LaCygne,Kan.andGardner.
He was always tinkering with cars and meticulously detailed them, even in his late years. Bill also enjoyed boating, fishing, travel, RV camping, and was a grill master. Bill’s love for brotherhood and children led him to become a member of the Kansas Free Masons, Gardner Lodge #65 and an Abdullah Shriner for 18 years. He was one of the most giving, sweet, genuine, and loveable people ever known…with a kind and gentle soul that touched so many.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Bob DeFreece and grandson, Dustin Donegan.
Bill leaves his wife of over 24 years, Sharon; son Rick Allan DeFreece; daughter Kimberly Anne Halloran; son Tony Franklin DeFreece and wife Debra; daughter Debra Lynn Donegan and husband Paul; daughter Linda Earlene Cole; and daughter Barbara Lee Foster and husband Eric; grandchildren: David, Michael, Brindi, Tiffany, Angela, Ryan, Lindsay, Cecily, Katheryn, Curtis, Sharon, Krystal, Travis, and Patrick; and eleven great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother Richard DeFreece and wife Sandy, sister Darlene Strong and husband Jon, sister Donna Simpson and husband Sam, extended family, and his toy poodle, Amber.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Sept, 26, 2012 at Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner, KS(913)856-7111. Burial will follow at GardnerCemetery. Visitation will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 25, 2012 also at the funeral home. Masonic ceremony at 8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be given to the Shriners Hospitals for Children or the Kansas Masonic Cancer Research Institute at KU Medical Center. Condolences may be left at www.brucefuneralhome.com.