Hugh Franklin Emrich, age 79 of Manhattan and formerly of Leonardville, passed away Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at Stormont-Vail Hospital in Topeka.
He was born on July 6, 1940 in Salina, the son of Bernard and Genevieve (Fox) Emrich.
On August 21, 1959 in Tribune, he was married to Claudine “Kay” Smith. She survives of the home.
Hugh was a man of many skills. He was everything from a heavy equipment operator to a finish carpenter and helped start Emrich Family Creamery. He was a true conversationalist and enjoyed geology and fishing. He was a lover of art and an accomplished watercolorist. In his earlier years, he was an Eagle Scout and had a keen interest in herpetology.
In addition to his wife Kay, he is survived by five children, H. Thayne Emrich and wife Shannon of Leominster, Massachusetts, Dagna D’Ercole and husband James Miller of Lawrence, Rambr Emrich and wife Margaret of Hollandale, Wisconsin, Amber Emrich of Leonardville and Natasha Emrich Behrens and husband Jeremy of Leonardville; a daughter-in-law, Angela Emrich of Milford, Nebraska; one sister, Viriginia Fuller of Longford; twelve grandchildren, Maxwell Emrich (Jordan Williams), Noah Emrich, Rory Emrich (Emma), Christian Emrich, Abby Emrich, Lilly Emrich, Kaylie Emrich, Levi Emrich, Eryn Emrich, Brynna Emrich, Lisa Emrich and Tristan Behrens and one great granddaughter, Daphne Emrich.
He was preceded in death by his son, Ragnar Emrich; his sister, Susan Fox and his great granddaughter, Isa Emrich.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, September 7, 2019 at the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home with Pastors Steve Ratliff and David VanBebber officiating. The family will receive friends from 10:00 a.m. until service time on Saturday. Burial will be in the Riley Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to the Meadowlark Hills Foundation and left in care of the Anderes-Pfeifley Funeral Home.
Eulogy: Hugh Emrich, Sept 7, 2019
I’m Thayne Emrich—the oldest of my dad and mom’s children. Thank you all for being here with our family to remember and honor my father’s life. I will be mostly reading you my thoughts about our father and his life. Many of you know dad’s ability to talk—and have probably wondered sometimes if he would ever stop. I can see my last word at the bottom of the page, so you don’t have to worry about that.
When I think of dad, the first thing that comes to mind is more about me then it is him. My own understanding of God’s Amazing Grace is profoundly rooted in his being my father, and that close vantage point of being his son. Dad inspired an almost mythical range of emotion in those who knew him, especially his family. For me, through the years, I have seen so many ways that God has honored my dad’s imperfect desire to serve his lord—and that has always been a witness to me that our human brokenness is not a barrier to divine grace. For this, I am very thankful.
As some of you know Shannon and I and our family have lived in MA for over 30 years. I want to acknowledge my deep gratitude, and I know his, for my sisters—Dagna, Amber, and Natasha, and also Jim and Jeremy and Angela who have been the ones to help Dad and mom transition into a new place to live, and have been the ones there to help dad through many serious health issues the past few years.
Dad was a study in contrasts. One moment that sums up a whirlwind of conflicting emotions was when I was about 15. It was winter, and our water pipes would sometimes freeze, and Dad would use a propane torch to thaw them out. The backdrop to this story is that dad had an unending looped lecture about safety that included himself as the best example of safety awareness, and whatever I might be doing as its antithesis. It was a really cold morning and more than one pipe had frozen. He arrived in the kitchen with a small propane bottle and said that it was too cold to light it, turned on the oven, popped the bottle in, and left. I was standing there stunned, I couldn’t think of one single safe thing about this—and then the oven door blew off. His response was that “well, the bottle didn’t explode—that’s what the safety valve is for”. On the other hand, he was devoted to his family and loyal to his friends. He was totally in love with our mother Kay. If you were in trouble, he would move mountains—sometimes literally, to help. I do have to add that he also tended to come up with the most confounding solutions to relatively simple problems—which may be a clue that he was at heart an engineer. In the end, you were generally better off just going along with the plan. My father was also familiar with the pain of loss. Our dear brother, and his youngest child, Ragnar, was killed in a tragic accident 3 years ago and more recently our youngest granddaughter Isa passed away. He felt a deep sadness and expressed loving compassion to all of us as we have grieved these as well.
I have been encouraged to hear about dad from friends. A message from Dan Walter who knew dad for many years said “Your father is an example to me of a life lived well and finished well. He always treated me with the affection of a father, even when we didn’t agree. May the seeds of his life and ministry produce a harvest of righteousness in all our lives.” Another note I received is from a young man who is a close friend of my sons, and visited the farm with them for several summers. Nate Morrell wrote “Sorry to hear about your father Thayne. He was a true Kansan legend with quite a few stories.” Most of you know him so well that later we can share our own versions of his stories with each other and laugh and cry together. He was many things. Dad could be incredibly kind, wise, brave, and understanding. He read and studied his bible regularly and truly loved his lord and carried that love and knowledge with him even as he knew he was nearing the end of his time here. He also could be so contrarian and bull-headed that there were times you just swore and walked away.
What I think is most important though, is to say something to his grand and great grandchildren. those of you here today: Noah, Rory, Abby, Lilly, Kaylie, Levi, and little Tristin, as well as those who are not able to be here: Max, Christian, Eryn, Brynna, Lisa, and Daphne, Your grandfather loved each of you very much. Some of you are young enough that you probably won’t remember him. But as my sisters I and sat with him over the past few days, and he realized that he wouldn’t be with us much longer, he made two requests. He asked us to take care of our mother, and to remain together as family. Remaining together as family sounds like a simple thing to ask, but I think what he meant is a little harder to do. Even now, we live in many places, have many interests, and our lives continue to expand and grow in different directions. The bonds that hold us together will often be overshadowed by the things that draw us apart. I believe your grandpa’s legacy, and his charge to us, and particularly to each of you, is that you are a part of a family who loves you, and as each of you grow older, that you would hold on to that love, and know that you can carry it with you through the lives each of you have before you. Thank You.