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Willis Ray Christian - Update
Brenneman Funeral Home
Liberal , KS


Brenneman Funeral Home
1212 W. 2nd   Liberal, Kansas 67901

Willis R. Christian, 82, passed away on January 31, 2012, at Wheatridge Park Care Center, in Liberal, Kansas.

He was born August 21, 1929, to Will and Nora (Blake) Christian, in Grant County, on a ranch south of Ulysses, on the Cimarron River. He went to school in Ulysses 10 ½ years, then transferred to Moscow, where he graduated in 1947. He served as a page in the state legislature, for three terms, when his father was the Grant County representative, and the last term, was stationed as chief page with the Sergeant-of-Arms, at the door.  His cowboy boots always attracted attention.
He married Betty Ann Jones, on May 21, 1948, and started farming, along with grazing cattle and raised three children, in Grant County. In later years, in addition to farming, he operated an elevator in Moscow, which was a partnership with his parents, and built and managed a feed yard. He was one of the first Grant County stockholders in the Eleven-Mile Grazing Association, west of Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 1971, Willis won the Grant County Soil Conservation Award. Farming and raising cattle, were always a major part of his life. In the 1980’s, Willis also sold real estate for Western Farm and Management Company, of Liberal, Kansas. Semi-retiring, he and Carol Mertes, purchased a ranch in Rosston, Oklahoma. Not liking retirement, they moved back to Liberal, and he started Christian Hay LLC, and again raising cattle.
Willis is a member of the First United Methodist Church, of Liberal. He was a past Moscow School board member, and past member of the Lions Club. He enjoyed hobbies like hunting and flying his airplane. He wanted to learn to fly so much, that he fought air sickness, in order to get his pilot’s license. He loved to sing and play his guitar. He has written many songs and has published a record. His singing has always been enjoyed by his family.
Survivors include companion, Carol Mertes, of Liberal; daughters, Connie Portenier, and husband Jim, of Iola, Rhonda Crawford, and companion Steve Strickland, of Liberal; son, Mike Christian, and wife Jana, of Hooker, OK; step-daughter, Cheri Evers, of Parachute, CO; step-sons, Jack Hasik, and wife, Lana, of Liberal; Chris Mertes,  and wife, Andrea, of Liberal; 17 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
Funeral Services will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 4, 2012, at First United Methodist Church, in Liberal, with Rev. David Randall, officiating. Burial will be at 3:00 p.m., at Grant County Cemetery, in Ulysses.
Visitation time will be 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., Thursday, and 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday, with the family present to receive friends from 4 – 7 pm Friday, at Brenneman Funeral Home.
Memorial Contributions are to St. Catherine Hospice, and may be sent in care of Brenneman Funeral Home, 1212 W. 2nd, Liberal, KS 67901
Condolences may be sent to the family at
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