Harold W. Deets, 91, retired Beech Aircraft Corporation Vice President, Materiel passed away Friday, September 13, 2013.

The college’s library is named to honor Harold and his wife, Mary Ellen, who passed away over ten years ago.  His large gift to Southwestern to name the library was principally motivated by his desire to honor Mary Ellen.

Harold loved Southwestern, because of what the college did for him, and because he met Mary Ellen here.

He was the son of William T. and Myrtle E. (Shay) Deets, who along with an infant brother and brother, Ronald preceded him in death. Harold was born September 21, 1921, in Garfield, Kansas and attended both Grade and High Schools there graduating in 1939, Valedictorian of his Senior Class.

He then attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, majoring in Business Administration before embarking on a 45 year career at Beech Aircraft Corporation.

He was hired as a sheet metal worker and after numerous other assignments and Supervisory positions in the Accounting and Materiel Divisions, was named Vice President, Materiel in 1972. He held this position until his retirement in 1987.

On February 8, 1942, he was united in marriage to Mary Ellen Meador in Larned, Kansas. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in February 2002.

In May of that year, Mary Ellen suffered a massive stroke and passed away on June 11th. She had also retired from Beech Aircraft in 1983, after serving 37 years as an Executive Secretary and Administrative Assistant.

In 1946, the Deets became Charter members of East Heights United Methodist Church and its Chancel Choir.

Harold was active in many work areas of the Church and had served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and of The Endowment Committee. Also an active participant in Civic and Business organizations, he had served on the Board of the Kansas State Bank and Trust, Houston Beechcraft, Wesley Medical Center, Downtown Kiwanis, Life Strategies Foundation, and was an Honorary Trustee of Southwestern College.

He was a long time member of the National Association of Purchasing Management, Downtown Kiwanis, Retired Business and Professional Men’s Club and Crestview Country Club.

In 1960, Harold earned his Private Pilot’s license and later added both Multi-Engine and Instrument ratings. He thoroughly enjoyed flying for both business and pleasure.

In 1975, he and Mary Ellen built a vacation home near Estes Park, Colorado where they were able to spend many happy hours over the years.

In 2002, Harold was elected to the first Business Hall of Fame Class established by Southwestern College and in 2008, the Harold and Mary Ellen Deets Library on that Campus was dedicated.

Harold is survived by his sister-in-law, Betty Zerener (Calvin), of Conway Springs, KS; nieces, Julie Vancuren (Chris), of Conway Springs, KS, Susan Floyd (Mike), of Kingman, KS; nephew, Mark Doll, of Eugene, OR; grand-niece, Kristen Floyd; grand-nephews, Clint, Brent, and Brian Vancuren, Brant Floyd; as well as numerous first and second cousins from both his and Mary Ellen’s families.

Memorials have been established with East Heights United Methodist Church, 4407 East Douglas, Wichita, Kansas, 67218, and Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice, 313 South Market, Wichita, Kansas, 67202. Downing & Lahey Mortuary East.

Tributes may be sent to the family via www.dlwichta.com Read more here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kansas/obituary.aspx?n=harold-w-deets&pid=167005297&fhid=4860#storylink=cpy – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kansas/obituary.aspx?n=harold-w-deets&pid=167005297&fhid=4860#fbLoggedOut

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at East Heights United Methodist Church. Graveside service will be 3:00 p.m., Saturday, at the Garfield Cemetery, Garfield, Kansas.