OBITUARY: William Preston Hand

William Preston Hand, “Bill,” 92, passed away peacefully on June 28, 2021, surrounded by his loving family.

Bill was born on Jan. 11, 1929, to Nancy Ethel and Samuel Robert Hand in Newton.

He married Judith Jane Jackson on Dec. 24, 1955. Bill and Judy recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary at home with their children.

A lifelong resident of Newton, Bill is a graduate of Newton High School and attended Kansas State University. Growing up in Newton near Sand Creek, he enjoyed swimming, fishing and ice skating, activities, which were later shared with his children. During his youth, he lifeguarded at the Newton Municipal Pool and later, family gatherings at the backyard pool were a highlight of his retirement years.

Bill was a Railroad Locomotive Engineer on the Santa Fe Railroad until his retirement on Nov. 3, 2000. In prior years, he served on active duty in the U.S. Army as a Corporal from 1951-53 and was stationed in Germany during the Korean War. He continued service in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1953-57. He also worked for several years as a meat cutter for Dillons and Fey’s Market prior to and following his military service. For 12 years, Bill and his brother, Duane, were the owner/operators of the Hand & Hand Phillips 66 Truck Stop and Service Station, on old US-81 south of Newton, where Bill also helped run the café. He finished out his career on the Santa Fe Burlington Northern Railroad as a Railroad Locomotive Engineer, after 39 years of service.

Bill, along with his wife, Judy, was a charter member of Trinity Heights United Methodist Church in Newton. He was also a life member and officer of the local VFW and the American Legion posts, serving in the color guard and honor guard, presenting colors for events and as a contingent to bear honors at funeral services, as well as marching in many local parades over the years.

Bill is survived by his beautiful wife Judy and their children, Julie (Michael) Sadowski, Jennifer Villa, Jill (Max) Gatz, Robert William Hand and Jacqueline Hand. Surviving grandchildren are Tjaden Sadowski, Holly Sadowski, Jessica (Chris) Leiser, Nicholas (Angela) Gatz, Melissa Gatz, Jenna (Anthony) Juarez and Justin William Hand. Great-grandchildren include John William, Eva, Stella and Juliet Gatz, and Casen and Preston Leiser. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Preceding him in death were his parents, sisters Wilma (Stribling) Fey and Doris Littlefield and his brother, Kenneth Duane Hand.

A celebration of life will be held at 3:30 p.m., July 17 at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church with the Rev. Donna Voteau presiding. The family will be available for visitation at 3 p.m., prior to the service and a light meal will follow. Memorial contributions may be made to the THUMC Respite program, in care of Petersen’s Funeral Home.



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