Melvin Neufeld

Melvin James Neufeld

Thursday, October 3rd, 1940 - Monday, August 3rd, 2020
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Melvin James Neufeld, 79, slipped into the arms of Jesus after a 10 month battle with Glioblastoma, a brain tumor, at his home in Garden City on Monday, August 3rd, 2020. He was born on October 3rd, 1940 to HJ (Jude) and Elsie Hiebert Neufeld at their farm home north of Ingalls. He attended Ingalls school, graduating from Ingalls High School in 1958. Melvin married his High School Sweetheart, Maxine Bond on February 14th, 1960 in Garden City. Melvin attended Tabor College at Hillsboro, Kansas and studied Executive Education at Kennedy School of Government at Harvard as well as the Visionary Leadership program at Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. Melvin was employed by the Menninger Foundation in Topeka as an adjunctive Therapist from 1959-1962. Melvin was a lifelong farmer and served his community in many ways including his local church board, the Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Livestock Association, KSU Agriculture Council, the Gray County Extension Council, the Santa Fe Railroad Historical and Modeling Society, the Kansas Bioscience Authority, and as a founder and board member of Shepard of the Plains Foundation in Cimarron.

In 1984, Melvin was first elected to serve the 115th District as a State Representative. He continued to serve until 2010. During this tenure, he served as Chairman of the House Appropriation Committee and the Joint Committee on Rules and Regulations and was elected Speaker of the House in 2007. He was elected President of the National Conference of State Legislators and served on numerous NCSL taskforces including Welfare Reform, Healthcare, and Military and Veterans’ Affairs. He was one of 9 Legislators from across the country who served on the Legislative Working Group, a partnership of the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. He served on the Steering Committee of the National Academy of State Health Policy, the National Scientific Council on Brain Science, and the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard. In 2011, Melvin was appointed by Governor Sam Brownback as the Chairman of the Kansas Human Rights Commission and continued in this position until his death. Melvin was well known for his “Melvin’s Rules”, a list of 10 rules for both political and everyday life.

In 2012, Melvin and Maxine moved to Garden City, where he served as a Trustee of Garden City Community College and served on the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees. He also was a member of the All American Beef Battalion, serving steak dinners to military troops across the United States. Melvin was a member of Turning Point Church of the Nazarene in Garden City and served as a Trustee. He received the Distinguished Service Award for the Church of the Nazarene in 2018. He taught various Sunday School and Small Group classes throughout the years. He volunteered with Children’s Ministries at the Church and enjoyed riding the bus as it picked up children around Garden City. He was also a member of the Kansas District Church of the Nazarene Advisory Board.

Melvin is survived by his wife, Maxine of the home and daughter, Sharla and Jeff Smith of Ingalls. Also surviving are his grandchildren, Shandon and Heidi Smith, Shayna and Dane Conant, Jenessa Smith all of Cimarron, Kayla Neufeld of Coralville, Iowa, and Kenzi and Tristan Comer of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He was lovingly called “Big Gigi” by his great grandchildren, Konner, Audi, and Camden Smith, and Raelyn, Daxton, and Rigstin Conant, and Dasia, James, and Juliana Fash. He is survived by his sisters, Joyce and Vaughn Prather, Beloit, Karen and Elgie Friesen, Wellington, Colorado, and brother, JD and Sylvia Neufeld of Sands Springs, Oklahoma. Also surviving are his House Daughter, Kavita Akula, of Bhilai, India (Garden City), daughter-in-law Dana and Brad Pryor of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and numerous nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends.

Melvin loved building model trains, tracks, and scenic displays since he was a boy. His collection of Series O trains has taken up several rooms in his homes over the years and was very popular with his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and many other children of all ages.

Melvin was proceeded in death by his parents, parents-in-law, Otis and Gladys Bond, son, Kevin Neufeld, great granddaughter, Arissa Smith, sister, Vida and brother-in-law Vernon Bartel, sisters-in-law, Donna Burns and Deloris Neufeld, and brothers-in-law, Marvin Snowbarger and Larry Bond.

Services for Melvin will be held at Turning Point Church of the Nazarene in Garden City on Saturday, August 8th, at 10:30 a.m. with Pastor Jim Bond, Kansas District Superintendent officiating. Friends may visit with the family on Friday evening at Garnand Funeral Home from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Turning Point Church of the Nazarene Bus Barn Project or St Catherine Hospice in Garden City both in care of Garnand Funeral Home of Garden City.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, August 8th, 2020 | 10:30am
    Saturday, August 8th, 2020 10:30am
    Turning Point Church of the Nazarene
    2720 Campus Drive
    GARDEN CITY, KS 67846
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Verlin & Rose Wedel

Posted at 01:31pm
We are sorry to hear about the death of Melvin. We have so many fond memories of him as a friend in the community, but also as a state representative who always stood for the Christian values that made our community strong. I can remember the strong support he gave to the school at Ingalls while I was a teacher there. My husband sold him seed for his farm and then later to Jeff and Sharla. May God Bless you, Maxine, Jeff and Sharla, and the rest of the family. Psalm 16:9-11. Verlin and Rose Wedel

Karen Witt

Posted at 10:30am
Maxine, Sharla, Jeff and family,
You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Linda Fund

Posted at 06:13pm
Melvin was so kind to me after the death of my husband, Rocky Fund, a state representative who served when Melvin was Speaker. I worked with Melvin when he was a Trustee for Garden City Community College. He always had a way of telling a story that had many teaching moments for those who listened. I enjoyed our visits.
I am so sorry for your loss. May your faith and good memories comfort you. I will truly miss him.
Linda Fund

Sandy Petrov

Posted at 06:11pm
My friendship with Melvin (and Maxine) has been very special down through the years. My heartfelt sympathy goes to Maxine and all the family. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116:15.
Sandra Sime Petrov

Keith & Jeanie Hall

Posted at 02:43pm
So sad to hear of Melvin's death. He was always a joy to visit with at anytime we would see him either at a reunion, parade, store or anywhere. He always was a very pleasant and a grin. Never missed shaking your hand. He will be missed a lot and I know there is lots of memories to cherish. Our sympathy to Maxine and family. Keith & Jeanie Hall, Ulysses, Ks.

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