August 6, 2020
Bill Lange, died Friday, July 31, 2020, at the Jewell County Hospital, Mankato. He was born Arthur Alvin Lange on Nov. 1, 1919, in the Deer Creek community in Marshall County, Kan., to Paul and Jessie (McNabb) Lange. When he was about two months old, the family moved to Jewell County and the Mankato area was his home ever since.
Bill went to Red Top School, District 96, northeast of Mankato. After graduating from Red Top, he went to work on the farm and with harvest crews in the wheat fields.
In his teens, Bill helped his grandfather, Charles McNabb. During the 1930s, Bill went to the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) Camp in Marysville, Kan. He worked in Fairfax, Mo., for S.J. Peterson Construction Co., before and after his induction into the armed forces.
On Oct. 27, 1941, Bill was inducted into the U.S. Army. By March of 1942, Bill was in the Southwest Pacific where he would be for 33 months. He served with the Battery C 245th Field Artillery in the battle of Guadalcanal and the campaigns of the Northern Solomons. It was the first American division to go into defensive in World War II. He was awarded the Presidential Unity Citation, the Good Conduct Medal and the American Defense Service Ribbon.
Upon returning to Mankato in 1946, Bill went to work for the Kansas Department of Transportation, attaining the position of district supervisor. He retired in 1983. He also maintained a farming and cattle operation during his life. He was in partnership with his brother, Bud Lange, and his nephew, Russ Lange, for many years. Bill liked to hunt and trap. Whether it was on coyote hunters in the 1930s or trapping on the county farm in the 1970s and 1980s, Bill was willing to show the results of his efforts. He believed he was only the steward of the land he farmed.
Bill married Phyllis Esther Warren on Sept. 3, 1954. Their son, Ben, was born in 1960. Ben and his wife, Laurie McKinnon Lange, welcomed their daughter ,Leah, into the family in 2004. Bill was happy to have them visit.
Bill was a member of the VFW Post 7830 and the Christian Church in Mankato. When he purchased the County Farm south of Mankato, he cleaned up the cemetery, and placed a plaque and flag to honor those who were buried in the unmarked cemetery.
Bill is survived by his wife, Phyllis, of Mankato; son, Ben and wife, Laurie McKinnon Lange; his granddaughter, Leah Lange of Wamego; his brother, Ray Lange (Faryl) of Mankato; nieces, nephews, friends and relatives.
Bill was proceeded in death by his father and mother; and siblings, Leo, Wilma, Emil (Bud) and Dorothy Leonard.
Bill celebrated his 100th birthday last November with family and friends.
In light of the COVID-19 circumstances, a memorial service will take place at a later date. There will be no visitation as cremation has taken place. The cremains will be laid to rest at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Mankato. The family suggest memorials may be made to the VFW Post 7830 or Mankato Christian Church in care of Melby Mortuary. For online condolences, please visit http://www.melbymortuary.com.