John Robert Massey, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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John Robert Massey

Ralph Nathan Massey Jr., David Dean Massey & John Robert Massey.

Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Ralph Nathan Massey Jr., David Dean Massey & John Robert Massey.
Sons of Ralph and Blanche Massey
Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.

"Ralph's three boys left to right
P.V.T. Ralph Nathan Massey Jr age 18
A.S.N. 375 300 44
Co.D. 78th Inf. Bn
Camp Robert Calif.
David Dean Massey age 12 who like Kent is doing a man's work with a tractor cultivating, disking and plowing and other ranch work.
P.V.T. John Robert Massey, age 20
I have given his address with the picture in uniform. We haven't Ralph N's they sent him right out after he was inducted."
-- Photo caption by Artha Surber in her own handwriting about her grandsons.

Obituary: John Robert Massey

John Robert Massey, DDS, 78, passed away at his home in Louisburg, Kansas, Wednesday, October 18, 2000, after an all too brief battle with melanoma.

In honor of John's love for K-State, please wear purple to the Memorial Service to be held at 10:00 AM Saturday, October 21, 2000, at the Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, Olathe, Kansas. The family will receive friends following the service. The family suggests contributions to basic cancer research or the KSU Foundation at Kansas State University or Johnson County Hospice in lieu of flowers.

John was born near Sun City, Kansas on September 18, 1922. He was raised on the Massey ranch NW of Sun City by his parents, Ralph and Blanche (Campbell) Massey and attended Sun City schools. He was a graduate of Kansas State College, now Kansas State University, where he met his wife of 54 years, Patricia Zellner.

While attending K-State he was a member of the Farmhouse Fraternity, the K-State Baseball team, the livestock judging team and other clubs and organizations.

John served as a company commander in the 65th Infantry Division of the Third Army in Europe during WWII and was awarded the Bronze Star. He served in the Korean War with the 6th Armored Div. and the 82nd Airborne Division.

He graduated from UMKC Dental School and practised dentistry in Lenexa for more than 30 years. John loved dentistry because it allowed him to meet and talk with so many wonderful people. His goal was to always find something special in each person he met. During his illness he received hundreds of visits, calls and E-mails. He said he didn't realize how he had touched so many lives.

During the years John lived and practised in Lenexa he served of the Lenexa Planning Commission under six mayors. He was a life member of the American, Kansas, and Fifth District Dental Association; and a member of numerous civic clubs, veteran associations, and farm organizations. He was a member of the KSU President Club, Mike Ahearn Scholarship Fund, and Legends of KSU Basketball. John continued to edit and publish monthly newsletters for the 261st Infantry and the Legends of 60 until his death.

John leaves his wife Patricia of the home, two daughters, Robin O'Dell, Olathe Kan; and Johnette and her husband Robert Hodgin of Houston, Texas; his brother Nathan and sister-in-law Ethel of Montezuma, Kansas; brother David and sister-in-law Barbara of Louisburg; grandaughter Kristen and her husband Randon Gaumen of Allentown, Pa., grand-daughter Whitney Hodgin of Houston, Texas, and grand-sons Nickolas and Kelly O'Dell of Olathe.

Linz, Austria
November 18, 1945

Dear Grandma,

I guess that its about time that I wrote you again. Not much going on here except its snowing a lot and is getting colder all the time. Snowed for a little over a week now but it usually rains after it snows and most of it is melted except what is up on the mountain sides. So guess it will be another cold winter. Get us ready for Kansas winters if we ever get back there I guess.

A couple of the fellows went out and got a couple of deer and some pheasant last night and this morning so that will add to the 10-1 we will get the next few days. Deer over here as Max has probably told you are about the size of jack rabbits or a little bigger. Guess they don't eat as well as the American deer.

Has anyone heard from Mark lately? Just wondered. The way I figure it - he has nearly enough points by the Navy point score. Sure hope that he gets home. Nate should get to start back after while too. Whats the status on Joe? Is he home? Mom wrote that he thought that he would get a leave in November. That would be great then he and Max could get together and have a real visit. Guess it has been 5 or 6 years since they have been together. Sure hope they are there Thanksgiving. Guess we have plenty to be thankful this year. Everyone is still alive and anyone that came through with all he started with should be plenty thankful I think. A guy is fortunate to come out with his hide let alone anything else.

Guess Dad would have gotten a big kick out of talking to Max and Joe this Thanksgiving about their experiences and he and Max could go into the "Old Oaken Bucket" and Geo. Wiltshire and the Limburger cheese and few things like that. Boy that would have been quite some get together. I can't quite see one of our dinners there without him. But maybe I will get used to it in time. I've been gone ever since he went away so guess the full jolt will just about catch up with me when I get home. It was just about this time of year that I last saw him. He had just returned from Mayo's. He seemed to feel pretty good for a day or so then I guess that was the last time he was ever on his feet. He was pretty happy those few days and telling me what he hoped or figured on doing around there. He didn't ever get the chance to do it. But I'll do it if it takes me to the day I die to get it done. Well guess I've gone far enough on one subject - need to change.

How are your eyes lately? Good I hope. I hope you are feeling fine. I'm OK. Only say that this outfit is the most disorganized that I've been in. Go though more red tape to do anything that nothing is worth it. Don't tell Mark but it must be because we have a K.U. man as CO. He's not well liked. If he'd use his brain for some common sense he'd be OK. But I think he's in a world all his own and if everyone had their way he would be.

Take it easy. Tell Tom I hope that someone beats Army except Navy and hope they set a new record against them. Most of our big league baseballers have gone home and the minor leaguers with some points are still here. Heintzleman, Walker, Archie and few others left with 40-48 points.

Good Luck,
All My Love,

Lt. John R. Massey 0552135
Anti Tank Co 330th Inf
Apo 83 c/o PM NY NY

To: Mrs. Artha L. Surber, Sun City, Kansas.

Memories of Sun City, Kansas

by John Robert Massey

I guess everyone liked where they grew up. It was home and it will always be home. The only trouble things change and the people die or move away so it isnít the same as you remember it. You can never go back because it isnít there anymore and now we wouldnít like that life and maybe we would have a difficult time surviving in it. We were just privileged to live in a little bit of history that will never occur again and it shaped what the rest of our lives would be.

In Sun City when I was in grade school there was lots going on. We had several grocery and dry good stores which sold food, clothes, materials, kerosene - you name it. There was J.W. Bissantz which lasted a hundred years, there was Monty Wardís, Tom Baldings all on the south side. Mrs. Cobbís restaurant, the barber shop, another restaurant, the hotel, Knowles brothers implement co which had a big garage where they rented parking space for cars and rented it out for bootlegger dances. Dr. Loudermilkís apothecary and office and coke bar. And a filling station. On the north side was Nina Hoaglandís telephone office. Howellís filling station which Bob Rose ran. Martinís filling station and mechanicís shop right across the street east of Bobís.

Then there was Nove Hastingsí boot and shoe shop, Just east of that was Scates cafť which was still there up until a year or two ago. Next east was Jim Olmstedís blacksmith shop which he sold for a pool hall and moved out to the edge of town with his blacksmith shop. East of that was the old 1873 school house which at different times was an eating place and a candy shop but mostly just a rental place for people to live. There was Charley Westís ice cream and coca cola shop. Just east of Redwineís was the Sun State Bank with the dance hall upstairs where again the bootleggers ran the dances. East in the next block were three or four houses and the post office and Haneyís. Those were most of the business when I was in grade school. It was once said that in every third house in Sun City you could buy illegal hooch during the depression years.

Lots of people went to church. Lots of people didnít. Most of the families had come from Kentucky and Tennessee and other places in the east. Quite a number came from Arkansas during the depression years to work in the mines south of town. Lots of them lived in company houses in stringtown and Mexico.

The city deported the Mexicans back to Mexico in about 1930 or 31 because they had jobs that the citizens needed. Most of them had worked either on the section gang or a few at the mines. They had a separate school for them down in the Mexico part of town. Mrs. Quinby taught all of them in one room. I donít know if any of them ever went past the eighth grade or not. I donít think so.

So Sun City was a pretty active town during the time before World War II. It was mostly cowboys, farmers, miners, bootleggers and a few outlaws and just about any other kind of varmit that existed I guess. But they were good people to each other in town and you didnít inquire too much about a new arrivalís past when he came to town. You didnít bother them they didnít bother you. In those days there was still a lot of rivalry between towns. Almost like between nations. But on Friday and Saturday nights Sun City was running over from people from all over the country from several counties of Kansas and Oklahoma.

-- Written by John Robert Massey. Contributed by Patricia Massey.

From left: Mark McLain, J.R. Massey and Nate Massey at McLain's Roundup.

Photo courtesy of Brenda McLain.
From left: Mark McLain, J.R. Massey and Nate Massey at McLain's Roundup.
Photo courtesy of Brenda McLain.

Also see:

Hylon Hope (Massey) Howard, first cousin of David Massey.

David Massey, brother of J.R. Massey.

Joseph P. Massey, paternal grandfather of J.R. Massey.

Mike Massey, son of Nate Massey, nephew of J.R. Massey.

Nate Massey, brother of J.R. Massey.

Ralph Nathan Massey, father of J.R. Massey.

Artha Lee (Van Horn) Massey Surber, paternal grandmother of J.R. Massey.

Mark M. McLain, First cousin of J.R. Massey.

Max M. McLain, First cousin of J.R. Massey.

Ella Bird (Van Horn) Lott, maternal aunt of J.R. Massey.

Sun City Basketball Teams, Photos of J.R. Massey and his high school basketball team members.

Excerpt from a letter written in China by Capt. Joe Massey on 23 Aug 1944 to Lt. J.R. Massey.

Thanks to David Massey for transcribing and contributing the above news obituary for his brother to this web site!

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