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John B. Rethman Jr.

Seneca, Kansas

04/11/1934 - 06/29/2023

John B. Rethman Jr., 89, of Seneca, died on June 29, 2023, at the Nemaha Valley Community Hospital in Seneca, with his family by his side.

JR was born April 11, 1934 in Seneca, to John and Marcella Rettele Rethman.  JR was the oldest of 11 children. He attended Old Lincoln Country School 1-2nd grade.  When it closed, he transferred to Saints Peter & Paul school and attended 3rd-8th grade, graduating from 8th grade in 1948.

After finishing his schooling, he spent seven years working on the family farm until 1955, when he enlisted into the United States Army.  He spent 16 weeks at Fort Carson Colorado and 18 months in Detroit Michigan. He was honorably discharged as a Private 1st Class with the Specialized Anti-Aircraft Division on December 12, 1956.

Returning home, he accepted a job with Ben C. Holthaus Farming and Trucking where he worked for two years.  At that time, he purchased a canned milk route which he successfully operated for two years. In 1962, he was employed by the Holton Farmers COOP for two years.  Then in 1964, he accepted a job for Gudenkauf Rendering, which later became National By-Products, where he performed duties from driving to dispatching.  JR retired in 1996 from National By-Products after 35 years of service.

He married Carolyn Koch on March 30, 1959, who preceded him in death in 1998.  Together they had two children; David (Debbie) Rethman and Dennis (Monica) Rethman; four grandchildren Kylie (Nick Thompson) Rethman, Cody (Staci) Rethman, Tristan Rethman and Haven Rethman.

JR later married Jerian Stallbaumer on September 5, 1999 at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Seneca.  To that union he gained four adult children of Jerian’s; Cindy (Dan) Crevier, Lori (Dan) Broxterman, Jan (Rick) Strathman and Rich (Jan) Stallbaumer.

JR was a member of Sts. Peter and Paul Church, St. Joseph society, the American Legion Post #21 in Seneca, Kansas for 50+ years and actively served as Honor Guard at numerous military funerals, prepared fried chicken and served meals at many of the “chicken feeds,” and participated in many other activities of the Post.

Pitching Horseshoes was one of the many hobbies he enjoyed.  He pitched horseshoes competitively at local and state tournaments.  He was also an avid card player, playing with many of his family and friends over the years.  JR bowled for many years on both men’s and mixed leagues, and enjoyed his time with friends.

Once retired and remarried, JR and Jerian had some wonderful traveling adventures across the country, and snow birding in Arizona during winter months for many years.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Carolyn on April 5, 1998. He was also preceded in death by his parents, John on July 3, 1968, and Marcella on April 1, 1999; four sisters, Juanita Rethman on November 27, 1937, Marceil “Sis” Fouraker on October 11, 1998, Betty Himmelberg on October 30, 2005 and Judy (Walter) Hein on November 1, 2022; and two brothers, Walter Rethman on October 5, 2018 and Tom Rethman on October 21, 1965.

JR is survived by his wife, Jerian of Seneca; two sons, David (Debbie) Rethman of Seneca and Dennis (Monica) Rethman of Lawrence; step-children, Rick (Jan) Stallbaumer of Topeka, Jan (Rick) Strathman of Baileyville, Lori (Dan) Broxterman of Seneca and Cindie (Dan) Crevier of Spring Hill, Kansas. Other survivors are one brother, Wayne Rethman (Marlene), El Dorado; four sisters, Doris Fairfield, Kansas City, Missouri, Mary Sander (Glenn), Morrill and Carol Karnowski (Dan), LaVistia, Nebraska; 20 grandchildren; and 31 great-grandchildren.

Rosaries will be prayed at 2 & 7 PM Sunday, July 2, 2023 at Lauer Funeral Home in Seneca. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10AM on Monday, July 3, 2023 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca.   Burial in the church cemetery.

Memorials can be given in Junior’s memory to Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery, and sent in care of the family.

Rosaries will be prayed at 2 & 7 PM Sunday, July 2, 2023, at Lauer Funeral Home in Seneca.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10AM on Monday, July 3, 2023, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Seneca.   Burial in the church cemetery.

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  1. Gene Peppersack on June 30, 2023 at 10:29 am

    JR will always be in our hearts as one of nicest guys. He always had a smile when I would see him. This world will surely miss him. I know I will. We need more people like JR in this world. God be with him and his family and friends. I am sure is has been reunited with all those who have gone before him.

    God Bless
    Gene & Kim Peppersack

  2. Phyllis Wietharn Burger on June 30, 2023 at 10:46 am

    Sorry to here of ur loss. RIP. From a cousin

    • Lana S O’Connor on June 30, 2023 at 10:58 am

      JR taught me how to ride a bike and always teased me whenever I saw him. He was such a great man

  3. Bruce Larkin on June 30, 2023 at 11:39 am

    Our deepest condolences,Bruce and Judy.

  4. Peggy Parrish on June 30, 2023 at 12:22 pm

    So sorry for your loss. Prayers for strength through this trying time. Love, Aunt Peggy

    • Jolene holthaus on July 4, 2023 at 8:00 pm

      Our sympathies to all his family.

  5. Carroll Peppersack on June 30, 2023 at 2:14 pm

    David an Debbie, Dennis an Monica, and both of your families. Your Dad, Grandpa & Great Grandpa is going to missed by all. I still cannot believe he is gone. I am so thankful I came to Seneca and stopped to see him in the care home. I will always remember him as being so upbeat and just waiting to go home.
    God Bless All of You and know I have you in my prayers. I am sure he is looking down at us with your Mom and Aunt Frances and Uncle Ray and all the rest of the family. Know he is at Rest and Peace with the Lord

  6. Joan akin on July 1, 2023 at 8:06 am

    So sorry for your loss. He was a great man. Prayers to the family

  7. Fred and Linda Halvorsen on July 1, 2023 at 9:35 am

    JR was one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met. I enjoyed talking to him, especially about how things in Seneca used to be, or where businesses used to be located. I will miss seeing him at church and the American Legion.

  8. Morris and Jamie Rettele on July 3, 2023 at 6:22 am

    Our sympathy to the entire family. jR was a great employee of my dad’s and our family thought the world of him. Also a cousin of my husband who we always loved to visit with at family functions. He will be missed.
    We wish we would have been able to attend services but thinking of the family

  9. K'Lynn on July 5, 2023 at 10:59 am

    Prayers & hugs to all the family since I cannot attend svcs – JR was a great big brother to his siblings – always a fun time with them when visiting them – RIP JR – say hello to all the family —

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