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Alfred John Dreiling
November 9, 1920 ~ September 8, 2023 (age 102) 102 Years Old
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Alfred John Dreiling, 102, of Hays, Kansas, died Friday, September 8, 2023, at the Kansas Soldiers’ Home, Fort Dodge. He died the oldest military veteran in Ellis County.
He was born November 9, 1920, in Herzog Township, Kansas, to Nick and Anna (Stadleman) Dreiling. When was three years old, he moved with his family to a farm southeast of Ogallah, in Trego County, Kansas, where he graduated from Trego Community High School in 1938. He attended Fort Hays State University for one year as a pre-law major and baseball player, then worked as a brakeman on the Union Pacific Railroad the succeeding year to pay back his benefactor, Trego County Probate Judge Walter Swiggert.
As the nation prepared for World War II, he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was employed at the Douglas Aircraft Co. Long Beach factory as an experimental mechanic on the SBD Dauntless dive bomber. He was inducted into the U.S. Army in July 1943, serving as a clerk typist, and honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in June 1946.
Following his military service, he began a long career in banking and finance, beginning in 1946 with Bank of America in Los Angeles, during which he earned a Master of Banking degree from the California Bankers Association Graduate School of Banking at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1950. He moved to Aurora, Colorado in 1952, where he was executive vice president of United Bank of Aurora (now Wells Fargo Bank), until he moved to Hays, Kansas, and became vice president and chief operating officer of Hays National Bank in 1977 until his retirement in 1985. He enjoyed returning to the family farm, raising wheat, sorghum, and stocker cattle until he sold the farm in 2000, then working on his lawn and garden until he was 98 years old. In his later years, he enjoyed attending FHSU athletic events, watching the Kansas City Royals and Denver Broncos on television, as well as meeting up daily with friends for coffee at McDonald’s of North Hays.
He married his high school sweetheart Dorothea Nell Blakely of WaKeeney, Kansas, at St. Michael Catholic Church, Los Angeles, on February 20, 1944. She died June 7, 2005. He was appointed by Archbishop of Denver James V. Casey in 1967 to be founding president of the first Catholic parish council west of the Mississippi River at St. Therese Parish of Aurora. He was also an active member of the Aurora Rotary Club, Aurora Lions Club, and Aurora Elks Lodge #1921. He was a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church of Hays, and Hays American Legion Post #173.
Survivors include two sons, James (Linda), of North Charleston, S.C., and Larry, of Hays; four grandsons, three granddaughters, two great-grandsons, five great-granddaughters, two step great-grandsons, and one step great-granddaughter.
Along with his wife, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Donna Jeanne, his parents, six brothers, and three sisters.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Inurnment with military honors by the Hays VFW Post #9076 Honor Guard will follow in Christ the King Cemetery in WaKeeney. The family will receive friends from 9:00 am until service time on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at the church. Friends and family may gather from 9:00 am until 10:00 on Thursday, November 2, 2023 at McDonald's of North Hays, 3406 Vine Street, to celebrate Alfred's life and sign the register book. Memorials are suggested and payable to Fort Hays State University Foundation for the Alfred and Larry Dreiling Family Fund for Excellence in Political Science or to HaysMed Foundation. Services are in the care of Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home. Condolences and memories of Alfred may be left for the family at www.haysmemorial.com