Dennis “Banjo” Gerstner, 86, Hays, died Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, at Hays Medical Center.

He was born Sept. 22, 1932, in Hays, to Joseph and Sophia (Schuetz) Gerstner. He was a 1949 graduate of St. Joseph Military Academy.

After his service duty, he worked as an undersheriff for Ellis County. He later became a Kansas State Fire Marshall, serving Western Kansas until his retirement. After graduation, he was in the U.S. Army, serving in the 439th Engineering Organized Reserve Unit. He served in Korea from 1950 to 1952.

He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 9076, where he served as commander in 2002 and 2003.

He enjoyed fishing and spending time with his family and friends.

Survivors include two sisters, Mary Schmidt ,Topeka, and Lillian Rohr, Hays; a brother, James Gerstner, Lee’s Summit, Mo.; and a sister-in-law, Marie Gerstner, Surprise, Ariz.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Leroy “Satch” Gerstner; two brother-in-laws, Harold Schmidt and Julius Rohr; and a sister-in-law, Martha Gerstner.

Services will be at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Hays; burial in St. Joseph Cemetery with military honors by Hays VFW Post No. 9076 Honor Guard.

Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from 9 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, both at Brock’s-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory, 2509 Vine, Hays, KS 67601.

A rosary will be at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, followed by a vigil at 7 p.m., both at the funeral chapel.

Memorials are suggested to Hospice of Hays Medical Center or St. Joseph Church Building Fund in care of the funeral chapel.

Condolences can be left by guestbook at or by email at