Larry Gene Hittle, 76, of rural Winfield passed into the arms of his Savior on Monday, August 27, 2018 at the family home.
Services will be held Saturday, September 1, 2018, at 10:00 A.M., at Grandview United Methodist Church North of Winfield. Burial will follow at Highland Cemetery. Visitation will be held at the Shelley Family Funeral Home of Winfield on Friday, August 31 from 12-7 P.M., the family will greet friends from 6-7. Memorials can be made to the Grandview United Methodist Church, Cowley County Fair Crops Department and the Winfield Isle of Lights. Contributions may be left in the care of the Funeral Home.
Born to Kerry F. and Inez F. (Weakly) Hittle on July 9, 1942 in Winfield, he was raised in the Akron community, attended the Akron School through the 8th grade and graduated from Winfield High School in 1960.
A fulltime farmer from the time he graduated, Larry attended St. John’s College, graduating in 1966, and Southwestern College, earning a Business degree in 1968. Larry started his own Angus cattle herd in 1953. He became a junior member of the American Angus Association in 1961 and converted to a life membership in 1963. While attending St. John’s, a mutual friend introduced him to Mary Louise Bley, and they were married in 1969. He had been looking forward to celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on February 15.
Growing up, Larry was a member of the Walnut Valley Presbyterian Church. When it closed he and Mary, and later the entire family, became active in the support and service of Grandview United Methodist Church.
Larry grew up at the Cowley County Fair, first exhibiting as a member of the Akron 4-H Club and while in high school also the FFA. Highlights of his 4-H career were being named “Best Groomed Boy” in the state and earning a trip to Chicago. He learned early from his parents to be involved in your community. Larry was elected to the Cowley County Fair Board in 1964, serving two terms as president, many years as the fair crops superintendent, and on numerous fair committees. He was even there supervising in the crops and garden produce department at the fair just completed. In 2002 he was named to the Kansas Fairs and Festivals Hall of Fame and was also recognized by this organization in 2014 for over 50 years of service to Cowley County Fair.
As a member of the Winfield Jaycees, he served in many offices including president and District Director. He was named one of the Outstanding Young Farmers in Kansas by the Kansas Jaycees in 1976. Through this organization and continuing later with a small group of friends, they started the local “Paper Pushers”, the recycling initiative that evolved into the Winfield Recycling program.
He was actively involved with the Walnut Valley Festival starting in the Jaycee concession stand at first, then the set up crew, and eventually as staff on the grounds crew, having spent the day last Friday guiding the setup of Stage 4 for this year’s festival.
In recent years Larry really enjoyed working with an Isle of Lights set up crew. They took ownership of the “Santa, Sleigh and Reindeer” and “Peace on Earth” displays.
He was currently serving on the board for Rural Water District 7.
Larry was preceded in death by his parents and in-laws (Howard and Thelma (Reinking) Bley) of Ponca City, OK. He is survived by his spouse Mary of the home, a daughter Melissa (Scott) Thomas, of Hutchinson, sons Kerry F. (Carley) of Andover, and Larry John of the home; grandson Blaise, of Andover, his brother-in-law John Bley of Ponca City, sister-in-law Margaret (Art) Burkhart of Edmond OK; nephew and niece Justin Burkhart and Jessica Burkhart together with numerous cousins.