Merle Dean Ellner (better known as Dean) - age 89, of Hays, Kansas, died Sunday, July 14, 2019, at Hays Medical Center, Hays, Kansas. He was born November 7, 1929, on a farm near Lebanon, Kansas, to Lewis Merle Ellner and Frances Mable (Finch) Ellner.

On December 18, 1955, Dean and Jennie Lee (Klingenberger) were married at the First Baptist Church, Superior, Nebraska. They moved to Smith Center, Kansas.

Dean graduated from Lebanon High School in 1947. He served in the U. S. Army during the Korean Conflict. Upon his discharge he was employed as a crane operator for the Smith County Road Department. In 1959 they moved to Hays where Dean joined Bob Finch Construction. In 1960, he received his real estate license with Bob Finch Real Estate. He was also licensed with Equitable Life Insurance Company. He and his uncle, Bob Finch formed Ellner-Finch Insurance in 1960. In 1965, he graduated from the Missouri Auction School, also graduate from Realtor® Institute, and Certified Residential Specialist.

Dean was a charter member of the Hays Board of Realtors®. He was President in 1972 and 1990. In 1981 and 1991, he was honored as Realtor® of the year. He served as Zone VII Vice President of the Kansas Association of Realtors® from 1989 to 1992. Dean received his Broker license January 1, 1974 and on May 1, 1974, Dean founded Dean Ellner Realtors®. The firm became Ellner-Bickle, Inc., Realtors® when he was joined by partner Donald G. Bickle in 1978. The firm also joined Electronic Realty Associates (ERA), a national franchise. In May, 1989, the corporate stock was purchased, and the firm again became Dean Ellner Realtors®.

Dean is a member of the First Presbyterian Church, a Deacon, and an Elder, a life member of the Hays V.F.W. Post No. 9076, a life member of RPAC, Hays American Legion, and Past member of Rotary and Jaycees, Hays Chamber of Commerce, past member of Junior Chamber of Commerce, he served as a fund raiser for Fort Hays State University, Benefactor of Thomas More-Marian High School, Past Board of Directors St. Johns, past member of Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development, charter member of Hays Board of REALTORS®, President, Hays Board of REALTORS® in1972, and 1990, President Elect, Hays Board of REALTORS® in 1989, Vice President, Hays Board of REALTORS® in 1988, Treasurer, Hays Board of REALTORS® in1987, Secretary-Treasurer, Hays Board of REALTORS® in 1970, Secretary, Hays Board of REALTORS® in 1988, Director, Hays Board of REALTORS® in 1974, REALTOR® of the Year, Hays Board of REALTORS® in 1980, and 1991, Chairman, Hays Multi-List in 1989, Zone VII Vice President – KAR from1989 to1992, Kansas Association of REALTORS®, National Association of REALTORS®, and retired in 2007. Dean has been a resident at the Good Samaritan Society of Hays since 2013.

Survivors include his wife, Jennie Ellner, of the home; three daughters, Kristi Jean Duncan, Hays, KS; Kelly Lee Leiker, Hays, KS; Robyn DeAnn Kisner, and husband, Craig, Hays, KS; one brother, Delbert Lee Ellner and wife, Marilyn, Holdrege, NE; one sister in law, Gladys Marie Dederman, Lincoln, NE; five grandchildren, Michael Dean Duncan, Melissa Dawn Oldfield, Hope Catherine Kisner, Cooper Dean Kisner, and Jenna Grace Kisner; two step grandchildren, Jeff Duncan and wife, Megan, Dianna Wright and husband Tom; four great grandchildren, Aireyana Skye Oldfield, Kamani Syncere Jones, Caliyah Unique Jones, and Lileigh Jean Duncan.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws, John and Elva Klingenberger; a son-in-law, Paul Duncan; a brother -in-law, Arthur Dederman; and a nephew, Patrick Ellner.

Services are 11:00 A.M. Saturday, at The First Presbyterian Church, 2900 Hall Street, Hays, Kansas. A private family inurnment will be at Mount Allen Cemetery, Hays, Kansas.

The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday, at Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas 67601, and from 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. Saturday, at The First Presbyterian Church. The family suggests memorial to the Good Samaritan Society of Hays.

Services are entrusted to Cline’s-Keithley Mortuary of Hays, 1919 East 22nd Street, Hays, Kansas. Condolences can be sent via e-mail to or left at guestbook at