Thomas J. Junkins, Jr., 85, of Winfield, died Sunday (March 3, 2013) at the Kansas Veteran’s Home of Winfield. The celebration of his life will be at 10 a.m. Friday at Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home in Arkansas City. Burial will be at Noon at Sunset Lawns Cemetery in El Dorado.
Tom was born in a small frame house on South Allegany, in El Dorado, on April 9, 1927. Tom was like a little boys, some good, and some bad. He got into trouble several times and got his share of spankings.
Tom went to El Dorado grade schools until his family moved to Valley Center. He finished grade school there and one half of his freshman year. The family were living there when they heard the news about Pearl Harbor. They moved to Oil Hill where Tom finished school at El Dorado High Like many young men Tom’s age, he enlisted in the Navy before his 18th birthday. He spent his time in the Navy in the Pacific, his ship went into Shanghia with the occupation force. His ship was assigned to the Yangtze River Patrol. Later Tom was transferred to a sea going tugboat, the USS Tolowa. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
After his discharge from the Navy, he attended El Dorado Junior College for one year where he met and later married Phyllis Jean Cain. They were married 43 years and raised three daughters. Tom worked for many companies, Sears, Firestone, Western Auto & Graves Drugstores, but he found the work he was destined for when he went to work for the White Coffee Company in Arkansas City. Traveling sales was the type of selling he liked and he worked for several years building a good route in Eastern Kansas.
Later he joined John Werner in building a commercial dishwasher business. This was a good life but he was on call 24/7. After John sold the dishwasher business, Tom and John joined John’s two sons in a pipe testing business. Later, Tom and Phyllis went on the road helping to build the business, attending oil shows and giving seminars to supply stores. Tom retired from Seal Tite Lining in 1989.
After retiring, Tom worked at the Cherokee Strip Museum in Arkansas City until he was 77 years old.
Tom loved being with his family, fishing and being involved with the VFW and helping veterans. He held the office of Junior Vice Commander, Senior Vice Commander, Commander, Chaplin and Surgeon of the VFW Post 1254 Arkansas City. He was instrumenting in helping establish the Veterans Home in Winfield. He also helped with the Veterans Upward Bound Program. He was District Chaplin in Arkansas City before moving to Winfield where he continued as post Chaplin until 2011. Later, he moved to the Kansas Veterans Home.
Page 2 of 2 - He was preceded in death by his wife Phyllis, his parents Tom and Mary Junkins, brother Jim and sister Mary Lee Junkins. He also lost a grandson Clifton Bishop to the Iraq war and a great granddaughter Kathrine (Kat) Tredway.
Tom is survived by his three daughters, Vickie (Bill) Tredway of Oxford, Karen (Lynn) Thompson of Cedar Vale, and Janet (Brian) Bishop of Towanda; eight grandchildren and eighteen great- grandchildren; and one great-great- grandchild.
Memorials may be made to The Kansas Veterans Home, Rivercross Hospice or the Veterans Upward Bound Program at Wichita State University. Donations may be made through the funeral home.
Arrangements are being made through Rindt-Erdman Funeral Home of Arkansas City, Kansas. Online condolences may be made at www.rindt-erdman.com.