Earl C. Janzen, 85, was born the youngest child on a farm northeast of Canada, Kansas, on May 24, 1929, to Frank and Katherine (Martens) Janzen. He spoke only German until he began to attend Kreutziger Grade School, District #97. He was baptized at a young age at Strassburg Baptist Church by immersion in a creek.
After Earl’s mother died March 22, 1941 (he was 11 years old, 12 in May that year), Earl and his dad lived on the farm alone. When his dad moved to Texas, Earl was sent to live with his brother, Irvin, and sisters Lorena, Wilma, and Viola and their families.
As a student at Marion High School, Earl participated in football, basketball, track, Dramatics Club, and Hi-Y. He won many ribbons and medals for track: discus throw, low hurdles, 120-yard high hurdles, and the medley relay. He graduated from Marion High School in 1947.
He married Lucy Sandwell on Oct. 7, 1949, at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Marion. It was the beginning of a 65-year love story. Together they raised three children: Steve, Marilyn, and Karen.
Earl worked at Bud’s Conoco, the alfalfa mill, Riddle Quarries and Marion elevator, all in Marion, before he and Lucy moved their young family to Peabody in 1959. He was the lessee of Earl’s Conoco Station, and later worked for Co-op before retiring in 1994, but continued working for Co-op on a part-time basis for a few years. He was also a substitute rural mail carrier for 14 years.
“Big E” loved sports, fishing, gardening, and watching the birds in the backyard.
Earl passed away on Feb. 21, 2015, at Presbyterian Manor, Newton, Kansas.
He was preceded in death by brothers Gerhard and Irvin; sisters Elsie Bechthold, Wilma Christensen, Lorena Kelsey, and Viola Kelsey; son Steve Janzen; and grandson Randall Cook.
He is survived by his wife Lucy and their daughters, Marilyn and husband Ray Cook of Newton, and Karen and husband Arlen Ewy of Wichita; daughter-in-law, Phoebe Janzen of Florence; seven grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
The funeral service was to be Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, at Peabody Christian Church, Peabody. Burial was to be in Marion Cemetery.
Memorial funds have been established for Gentiva Hospice, Peabody Senior Center, or Peabody Christian Church in care of Zeiner Funeral Home, 205 Elm St., Marion KS 66861.