Gary Robert Tomanek, age 73, passed away Thursday, December 11, 2014, at Hays Medical Center, Hays, Kansas, surrounded by family. Gary was born November 20, 1941, in Quinter, Gove County, Kansas to William 'Bill' and Ada Belle (Jones) Tomanek. Gary was the eldest of four sons. He grew up in the village of Collyer and graduated from Collyer High School in 1959. He was active in baseball and basketball at CHS. He was awarded an athletic scholarship to Fort Hays State College (now Fort Hays State University).
Gary met the love of his life, Nancy J. Coleman, and they married at the Collyer Methodist Church on November 20, 1960. At Thanksgiving this year, they celebrated 54 years of marriage. To this union were born three children: Roxanne Marie, Michelle Rene and Eric William. With the support of both sets of grandparents, Gary and Nancy successfully raised three respectful and educated adults.
Gary pursued employment with the Kansas Department of Transportation Engineering Department starting in the WaKeeney office in 1962 then transferring in 1976 to the Hays office. He retired from KDOT in Hays in 2003 as the Senior Engineering Technician. Gary then continued his employment with Penco Engineering of Plainville, KS. He enjoyed continuing to work with many old friends from multiple agencies. Gary enjoyed the opportunity to work with and assist younger engineers learn from real life out in the field experiences.
Gary was a Boy Scout leader and spending time with youth. He enjoyed helping guide and mold young people to become productive young adults. Gary and Nancy enjoyed working with both the Boy and Girl Scouts in WaKeeney. Many good times were held at Cedar Bluff Lake including camping and boating.
Family was important to Gary. Even when busy inspecting roadways with the state, he made time to support his kids in sports, music or to gather for a family meal. Many weekends and summers were spent in Cove 3 at Cedar Bluff Lake learning to ski and other water based activities continuing the Coleman family traditions. Gary even started a new tradition with his little family; water skiing on Easter Sunday with Gary driving the boat. Realize that some Easter's were warmer than others!
Also important to Gary was music. Gary played the piano and the base guitar. He played in a band in the early years. He shared the joy of music with his children then later with his grandchildren. Singing and playing music remains important to his family.
Gary had a talent being a cartoonist in the early 1970 and also photographer. He had many talents but was not sure what areas to pursue so he excelled at being a parent. He enjoyed taking photographs at the local race track out of turn three for a number of years after being involved in a small racing team. He also supported his three kids as they operated a t-shirt printing business through their high school career. He enjoyed seeing his kids whether his biological or his extended scouting kids pursue a positive impact on his community.
Later in life Gary found that he had a calling to share the word of the Lord. He became a local lay speaker of the WaKeeney United Methodist Church and Prairie Home Churches in 1989. He enjoyed being involved in the annual conference of the Kansas West UM church. He became a Certified Speaker and spoke at Methodist churches in Ellis, Gove, Grinnell, Seldon, Quinter, Palco, Arnold, Ransom, Brownell, Utica,Winona, Hill City, Bogue, Hoxie, McGraw, Almena, Norcatur, Norton, Clayton, Oakley, WaKeeney, La Crosse,
McCracken, and Prairie Home. He even preached at a funeral. Gary had a talent for connecting with the common folks in the pews and sent you home thinking about God's word.
Gary was very involved in his community. He served as a Trego County representative to the Selective Service Board. Gary was a representative to the Trego County Recreation Board and the Trego County Senior Citizen Board. He even drove the Senior Citizen's bus. Gary was a past Noble Grand of the IOOF Oddfellows Lodge of WaKeeney. He was a member of the WaKeeney United Methodist Church and served on the Administrative Board in many capacities. Gary served on Hays District UMC board. Gary was very proud to be appointed by the Trego County Commissioners to serve on the Trego County Lemke Memorial Hospital Board and served until ill health caused him to resign.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy of the home, son, Eric and Barbara Tomanek, Fort Collins, CO, daughters; Roxanne and Greg Wendt of Melvern, and Michelle (Shelly)and Ed Rauch of WaKeeney, KS. Grandchildren: Amanda Tomanek of Tsurugashima, Japan, Tyler Wade, Lawrence, KS, Kody Wade, Topeka, KS, Clayton Rauch, WaKeeney, KS, Libby and Fulin Tomanek of Fort Collins, Colorado. He is proceeded in death by his parents, brother, Dennis, and parents-in-law, Everett and Eva (Morton) Coleman, and sister-in-law, Betty (Coleman) Norton.
Schmitt Funeral Home of WaKeeney is in charge of services. A Celebration of Life will be held 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at the Quinter United Methodist Church. The family will be greeting friends on Monday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Schmitt Funeral Home, WaKeeney. A private interment will occur at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Ellis, KS in the Coleman family plot.
Memorial contributions are suggested to Hays Medical Center Cancer Care Unit in his name.
Checks made to the organization may be sent in care of the Schmitt Funeral Home, 336 North 12th, WaKeeney, KS 67672.