Michael Joe “Mick” Dudte of rural Newton passed away quietly at home Dec. 6, 2021, with his loving wife and close family by his side. He was 80 years old. Mick was born to Hazel (Williams) and Fred Dudte on Aug. 14, 1941, in Newton.
Mick grew up on “the farm” a mile north of Bethel College on Kansas Highway K-15 where his parents farmed, gardened, and raised cattle and sheep. He attended country school at Shadyside and graduated from Newton High School in 1959. He was among the fourth Dudte generation to graduate from NHS and has been followed by two more generations of Railers. He was a member of Highland 4-H Club and FFA. He attended Kansas State University, and subsequently Bethel College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts.
In 1964, Mick was united in marriage to Rebecca “Becky” Spencer, his life-long partner, friend and companion.
Mick served in the U.S. Navy from 1963 to 1968, attaining the rank of Yeoman third class. He served in the U.S. Army ROTC and in 1963, enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served on the USS Tidewater of the 6th Fleet in Norfolk, Va. His naval service included tours to the Caribbean and eventually the Mediterranean where the 6th Fleet was assigned offshore duties during the Six-Day War. After serving his country, Mick returned to Newton with his young family.
In 1968, he began a long career as an administrator for the Starkey Developmental Center in Wichita. During his work with Starkey, he designed and received a U.S. patent for the first plexiglass ice scraper, known as the Snow Dozer. The Snow Dozer was produced and sold through Starkey’s sheltered workshop and helped support the financial operations of the Center. The Snow Dozer was the model for many other plastic “scrapers” to follow the original, some even produced in Newton.
Mick later opened his own businesses in Newton, Woodstock and Locust Hill Farms.
Mick was a man of strong faith and service. He was a member and served on the board of the Newton Assembly of God in Newton for more than four decades, and subsequently on the board of Maranatha Worship Center in Wichita. He served the church in many roles including choir member, usher, deacon, elder, missionary, Sunday school teacher, group leader, committee member–and the guy you go to when you need ideas or help.
Mick and Becky loved to travel and went on five mission trips to Europe, including Ireland, France, Poland, Czech Republic and Belgium. They also would visit their daughter and son-in-law’s ministry in Mexico. Mick’s free time was focused on woodworking.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Stella Rebecca “Becky” Dudte (Spencer) of the home in Newton, sons, Michael John (Eyimife) of Port Richey, Fla., and Matthew Wayne (Audrey) of rural Marion County, daughter, Anna Lee Ward (Dallas) of Newton, sisters, Janice Schroeder (Vern) of Newton and Dr. Cheryl Clay (Jim) of Bayfield, Colo., and brother, Tim Dudte (Karen) of Newton. He was blessed with nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild, whom he loved dearly and individually: Levi Dudte, Sophia Dudte, Caleb Dudte, Michel Dudte, Rebecca Ward, Nathaniel Dudte, Katherine Dudte, Rachel Dudte and Joshua Dudte; and great-grandson, Owen Ward Garza.
Mick was preceded in death by his parents, H. Frederick and Hazel Ruth Dudte.
Visitation was from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Monday, Dec. 13, at Newton Bible Church, 900 Old Main, Newton, with funeral services to immediately follow. The family requested a time to share memories at the funeral service. Following the funeral service, the family met with friends for a meal and fellowship at the church. Graveside services were at 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at Highland Cemetery, 8322 N Anderson Road, Newton.
Memorial contributions may be made to benefit the mission work of Dallas and Anna Lee Ward, Commission To Every Nation, and of Teen Challenge missionaries, Don and Gail Starnes, in care of Miller-Ott Funeral Home, P.O. Box 32, Hesston, Kan., 67114.