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Obituarys for the Kansas Grain Elevator Explosion Victims

Darrek Klahr
WETMORE- Darrek E. Klahr, 43, of Wetmore, KS passed away Saturday, October 29, 2011 in the Bartlett Grain elevator explosion.

He was born July 30, 1968 in Topeka, KS the son of Duane Arthur and Barbara S. (Olson) Klahr.

Darrek graduated from Jackson Heights High School in 1986. He attended Highland Community College for 2 years and graduated from Kansas State University in 1990 with his bachelors degree.

He was a grain inspector for Kansas Grain Inspection Service since September 2004. He was also a farmer and stockman. Darrek was a member and Elder of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Netawaka.

He married Inga Beitz on January 17, 1998 in Netawaka. Survivors include his wife Inga and two sons, Trevor and Garrett Klahr of the home; his parents Duane Arthur and Barbara Klahr of Holton and a brother, Doug Klahr of Wetmore.

Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m. Friday, November 4, 2011 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Netawaka. Interment will be in the Netawaka Cemetery. Family will greet friends from 6:00- 8:00 p.m. Thursday evening at Mercer Funeral Home in Holton. Memorials may be given to the Klahr Childrens Education Fund or Immanuel Lutheran Church c/o Mercer Funeral Home P.O. Box 270, Holton, KS 66436. To leave a special message for the family, visit


John William Burke
24 years of age, of Denton, Kan., was killed on Saturday, October 29, 2011, as a result of an explosion at the Bartlett Grain Facility in Atchison, Kan.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. on Friday, November 4, at the St. Benedicts Church, Bendena, Kan., with Fr. Roderic Giller, O.S.B. as Celebrant. Burial will follow in St. Benedicts Cemetery. A parish rosary will be recited at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, at St. Benedicts, Bendena, with visitation to follow with the family at the Church Hall until 8:30 p.m.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Atchison Humane Society or to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and may be sent in care of the Becker-Dyer-Stanton Funeral Home.

Condolences to the family may be left online at

John was born on February 5, 1987 in Atchison, Kan., the son of Mark and Eddie (Callahan) Burke. He graduated from Doniphan West High School in 2006 and was active in football, track, and FFA. He graduated with an associate degree from Highland Community College and Highland Vo-Technical College. Mr. Burke worked on the family farm in Denton and formerly as a cashier and stocker for Orscheln Farm and Home Store in Atchison for three to four years. John was presently a grain grader at the Bartlett Grain Co. since July of 2010.

He was a member of the St. Benedict’s Church, Bendena, and enjoyed fishing, hunting, animals, and playing video games.

Survivors include his parents, Mark and Eddie (Callahan) Burke, Denton, Kan.; a sister, Sarah and her husband, Jake Pound, Emporia, Kan.; paternal grandmother, Sue Burke, Denton, Kan.; and maternal grandmother, Pete Callahan, Atchison, Kan.; several aunts, uncles, and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his grandfathers, John Burke and Bud Callahan.


Ryan Federinko
ATCHISON, Kan. — Ryan Thomas Matthew Federinko, 21, Atchison, died October 29, 2011.

Preceded by: grandfather, James Stalder, Sr.

Survivors: fiancée, Stephanie Wood; mother, Michelle Stalder; father, Jeff (Tammy) Federinko; sister, Sarah Federinko; brothers, Aaron Federinko, Jeffrey Federinko, Jr.; grandparents, Loretta Maendele, “Mema” Olive and “Pepa” Thomas Potter, Paul Federinko.

Services: 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home, Atchison. Visitation: 9 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home.


Curtis Wade Field
Curtis Wade Field, 21, Atchison, died Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011, as the result of an explosion at the Bartlett Grain Facility in Atchison.

Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011 in the chapel of Arensberg-Pruett Funeral Home with Rev. Robert Ziegler officiating. Interment will follow in Sunset Memory Gardens Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 at the funeral home. Memorials are suggested to the Curtis Field Vo-Tech Diesel Tech Scholarship Fund or Trinity Lutheran School Endowment and may be left in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be left at

Curtis was born April 20, 1990, in Atchison, the son of Lynn C. and Patricia A. Kuhnert Field. He attended grade school at Trinity Lutheran School later graduating from Atchison County Community High School in Effingham. Following graduation he attended Highland Vocational Technical College in Atchison, graduating from the Diesel Technology program.

Curtis helped out on his grandfather’s farm and worked for the Bartlett Grain Company in Atchison, as a lead grain grader.

Curtis had many passions in life, most of which came from his love of farming. He enjoyed riding 4-wheelers and working on his truck. He was also fond of the outdoors, as he liked fishing, camping, and hunting. He also coveted all things John Deere as he had an extensive collection of model tractors. Curtis loved to spend time with his family and friends. He always had time for others and was willing to help others no matter the task at hand.

Survivors include his life partner, Laura Cairo, Atchison, his parents, Lynn and Patty Field, Atchison, his maternal grandparents, Lawrence “Junior” and Mary Kuhnert, Atchison, numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Arthur S. and Mary Laverne Field.


Chad Roberts
Chad Chadbo A. Roberts, age 20, of Atchison, formerly of Topeka, passed away Saturday in Atchison.

He was born March 26, 1991 in Topeka the son of Robin and Zoe Waymire Roberts. He graduated from Tonganoxie High School in 2010. He worked for Bartlett Grain Elevator in Atchison. Chadbo enjoyed fishing, hunting and playing xbox.

He was preceded in death by his father, Robin Roberts in 2003, great grandmother, Maxine Goodman in 2003, a cousin, Courtney Hayworth in 2004 and a grandfather, Ronald Waymire Sr. in 2006.

Chadbo was to be married November 19, 2011 to Alicia Cobleigh. Other survivors include his mother, Zoe Bock and step father, Kevin Bock of Leavenworth; great paternal grandfather, Norman Goodman of Topeka; maternal grandmother, Joy Waymire of Topeka; paternal grandparents, Keith and Sharron Cushing and Kenny and Sandy Roberts, all of Topeka; a brother, Dalton Bock of Leavenworth and a sister, Bailey Coleman of Tonganoxie.

Funeral services will be Friday, November 4, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. at the Davidson Funeral Home in Topeka. He will lie in state from noon 9:00 p.m. Thursday at the Davidson Funeral Home. Interment will be at the Rochester Cemetery. Memorials may be made to the Humane Society of Atchison or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and sent in care of the Davidson Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at Chad A. Roberts

Travis Keil
Man killed at elevator remembered

By TIM UNRUH Salina Journal

Travis Keil's interest in grain and agriculture stood out while he was a student at Salina Central High School.

"He always liked dealing with grain and grain samples in class," said Greg Anderes, an FFA adviser and teacher at Central.

Keil's move into the industry and eventual rise as a federal grain inspector was natural for someone with his yearning to learn about agriculture, Anderes said.

Keil's family was among those in Atchison since the weekend when an explosion ripped through Bartlett Grain elevator. Travis, 34, was among six killed in the blast. Two others were injured.

Anderes taught Travis Keil agriculture classes during all four years at Central, and remembered his supportive parents, Gary and Ramona Keil, who still reside in Salina.

"Travis was a good kid. That's a sad thing," Anderes said. "My sympathies go out to them."

A 1995 Central graduate, Travis won the state FFA agronomy contest during his senior year, "which is a pretty impressive thing to do," Anderes said. "He was a nice kid. He worked hard trying to do what was right."

Shortly after graduating from high school, Keil launched his career "at the bottom," Anderes said, pulling grain samples from railcars "for six or seven dollars an hour."

Travis worked for Kansas Grain Inspection Service, a private firm based in Topeka. The company is designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine the quality of grain in Kansas, Tom Tunnell said Monday. He is president and CEO of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association.

A war veteran, Travis worked as a site inspector for 16 years.

His three children, Justine, 15; Teagan, 12; and McKinley, 8, were in Atchison Monday with other family members when the last of the bodies were recovered.

A 'likeable' kid

Travis Keil was a "likeable" kid with a "super attitude," said Gary Harding, former wrestling coach at Central, who coached both Travis and his brother, Trenton Keil.

"I don't know if he ever missed a practice. He gave 100 percent at all times," Harding said. "Travis got along good with the rest of the wrestlers and improved from year to year. He wasn't a state champion, but he won his share."

News of Travis' death was a shock, Harding said.

"I feel totally upset and sick about the whole thing," Harding said. "It's almost like getting hit by lightning."

-- Reporter Tim Unruh can be reached at 822-1419 or by email at




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