Twist and splash: Family enjoys returning to King Memorial Park in Hesston

Charlie Jones, 5-½, gets water from the bucket portion of the splash park in Hesston dumped on him. Wendy Nugent/HC Now

By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now

HESSTON—The air was so thick on Friday afternoon that it felt like one could swim through it or at least drink it in.

There was a heat advisory in effect in the area and the Jones family decided to stop at the King Park water park to help battle that and enjoy a park they hadn’t been to for a while since moving to Toronto, Canada.

Ben and Johanna Jones were there with son Charlie Jones, 5-½, who said the water was refreshing.

The Jones family used to reside in North Newton and Moundridge before moving out of the country a while ago.

“We’ve been out of town for a year,” said Ben Jones, who used to work at Bethel College in North Newton. “We left right in the middle of a pandemic.”

They visited this particular park while in Kansas for one reason.

“Because he loves this park,” Ben Jones said about Charlie. “He used to go to Hesston Childcare Center, so after picking him up, this was an easy place to stop and get some wiggles out before going home.”

Ben Jones said Charlie picked the park to revisit.

“I like the splash pad,” Charlie said.

Ben Jones said the first thing Charlie did when visiting the park Friday was riding the spaceship swing.

King Memorial Park was named after Hesston residents Yvonne and Raymond King. They perished in the Wichita State University football game airplane crash on Oct. 2, 1970, according to a plaque in the park.

“Their seven children, ages 4-18, continued to live in Hesston,” the plaque stated. “Ray and Yvonne were known for their integrity and commitment to Christian faith, family and community.”

Ray served in the U.S. Army in World War II and Korean War as an officer.

He came back to Hesston, joining his brothers in King Construction Co.

“Ray and Yvonne’s faith was evident locally and globally, helping build the Hesston United Methodist Church, as well as working with overseas missions,” the plaque stated. “They both embraced education and were involved in many community organizations.”

Ray was a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, serving from 1967 until he died in 1970.

“May this park be a living tribute to their memory,” the plaque stated.

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