Cover photo for Richard Erwin's Obituary
Richard Erwin Profile Photo

Richard Erwin

d. January 17, 2014

Richard Byron Erwin was born May 24, 1946 in Topeka, Kansas to Byron and Georgia (Hall) Erwin. He grew up in Belleville, KS where he became a star football player in high school. Rich attended college at Fort Hays State College where he again played football. After two years, he enlisted in the US Army. Rich was eventually stationed in Vietnam. While his official title was Radio Repairman, Rich was often in a helicopter as a gunner. His stay in Vietnam left him with many vivid dreams, essentially PTSD.  After his return from Vietnam, Rich worked for the railroad. It was during this time that he met Nela Huntsinger. Although Nela didn’t accept his marriage proposal after several months of dating, their paths were destined to cross again. Rich went on to get both a degree in drafting and then a banking degree. Rich began his banking career in Goodland, KS as a loan officer, later moving to Seneca, KS where he became president of Gold Bank. From Seneca, Rich moved to Paola, KS where he was a bank officer. It was from this position that Rich decided to retire. A couple years after retiring, Rich would again cross paths with Nela Huntsinger. This time, she would accept his proposal. They were married September 18, 2011 in Loveland, CO surrounded by family and friends. Rich and Nela moved from Colorado to Kimberling City, MO in the spring of 2012, having found the retirement home of their dreams on Table Rock Lake. They enjoyed the lake, fishing, boating and going to shows in Branson. In October of 2012, Rich discovered he had Stage III lung cancer. Although the plans he and Nela had of continuing their travels came to an end, they continued to share all the joys life had to offer them, spending time with family who came to visit. Rich was a gentle and kind person who enjoyed life to the fullest. He loved to joke and laugh. Playing golf and fishing were his two favorite pastimes. He was an avid K-State fan, as well. After many radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Rich’s battle with lung cancer ended Friday, January 17, 2014 at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, MO with his wife and daughter at his side. Rich is survived by his wife, Nela; daughter Michele Cozart and family of Olathe, KS; sister Beverly Tibbetts and husband JC of Lansing, KS; brother Maurice Erwin and fiancée Karen Hutsel of St. Louis, MO; stepsons Gregor’ and Brian Johnson and their families, step grandsons Colton and Clay Johnson, sons of the late Brice Johnson; many nieces, nephews and friends. Rich was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and stepson, Brice Johnson. A gentle man, now at rest; missed and loved by so many. Funeral services will be held 2:00pm Saturday, January 25, 2014 at Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home, Belleville, Kansas with Pastor Bill Kline of Loveland, Colorado officiating. Burial will be in Esbon Cemetery, Esbon, Kansas. Visitation will be Friday noon to 8:00pm at the funeral home.

Rich's request that those attending his funeral wear jeans and be comfortable!

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, January 24, 2014

12:00 - 8:00 pm

Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home

, Belleville, KS 66935

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Funeral Service

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Starts at 2:00 pm

Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home

1104 20th St, Belleville, KS 66935

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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