OBITUARY: Philip Clyde Koontz

Philip Clyde Koontz, age 72, died suddenly May 13, 2021, at his home in Newton. Phil was born in Beatrice, Neb., on June 30, 1948, to Rev Elbert and Ruth Schroeder Koontz. He graduated from the Hillsboro public schools and Bethel College. He married Sondra Kay Bandy in Hesston on Sept. 4, 1970. They celebrated 50 years together in 2020.

At age 16, Phil was baptized in the Mennonite Church by his father. He became a faithful member of the Bethel College Mennonite Church, where he served as a member of the worship and trustee commissions.

Throughout high school and college, Phil and his brothers ran a custom combine crew. Phil was the crew’s mechanic. This business enabled Phil to graduate debt free from college. He was always astounded at the trust his father placed in three young men.

Phil was employed at Price Bros Equipment, Wichita, for 40 years, where he worked on industrial equipment. He loved a mechanical problem and was known at work and in the family for his strong work ethic and his ability to fix anything. He retired in 2012.

Music was one of Phil’s passions. While in college, he sang with Bethel’s madrigals, concert choir, and male quartet. At church, he sang in the chancel choir and played in the bell choir. He was a choir and board member of the Newton Chorale, and for more than 40 years, he sang in the Wichita Symphony Chorus.

Another passion was cars. While the family lost count of the number of cars Phil owned, Phil did not. He could recite details about every one of them and all the cars he saw on the road. Phil loved to read history, memoirs, and biographies. He enjoyed traveling and, with Sondra, toured 17 foreign countries and all but two of the 50 states. Give him a map to look at, and he was busy for hours.

Phil was a man of integrity, honesty, and kindness, a gentle man of subtle humor—reserved until he knew you well—and always curious about how things worked.

Phil is survived by his beloved wife, Sondra Bandy Koontz; two brothers, Theodore (Gayle) of Goshen, Ind., and Richard (Barbara) of North Newton; one niece and four nephews; and 10 great nieces and nephews, with another on the way. He treasured these family relationships and his many friends.

Public visitation (no family present) at the funeral home was from 3 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 19. A limited seating memorial service will be held Thursday, May 20, at 1:30 p.m. at the Bethel College Mennonite Church, North Newton. A public graveside service in Greenwood Cemetery follows at 3 p.m. Memorials may be sent to the Bethel College Music Department or the Bethel College Mennonite Church in care of Petersen Funeral Home, 215 N. Main, Newton, KS, 67114.

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