font size  A A

John O. Rees

John O. Rees John Owen Rees Jr., 94, died August 10, 2018 at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community.

He was born in Cleveland August 27, 1923, the son of John Owen Rees and Julia (Brannock) Rees. The family soon moved to Chicago where John lived until he enrolled in Amherst College in Massachusetts. He left college to serve in the U.S. Army Air Forces for three years in the Pacific during WWII.

After graduating from Amherst in 1947, John spent a brief time at the University of Chicago Law School but quickly realized his interest was in literature. He earned a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and later a doctorate from the University of Iowa. He taught at Colgate University in New York and the University of Colorado Boulder before joining the English Department at Kansas State in 1965. He taught American literature for 30 years at K-State with a specialty in humor and satire. His scholarship included the work of Finley Peter Dunne, Damon Runyon and others. He also served as an editor of fiction and poetry for Kansas Quarterly magazine.

John's maternal grandfather, who resided in New York State, gave him a love of fly fishing and the outdoors. From his childhood on, he loved fishing for trout in the many streams of New York's Adirondacks, including Elk Lake, a special spot in the high peak area. He made fishing trips to Argentina, Alaska, and Canada's Northwest Territories and Labrador. He also enjoyed trout fishing at Bennett Springs and Montauk, Mo. John travelled extensively during vacations with his family and he especially enjoyed a sabbatical in Cambridge, England in 1982. Passionate about music, he collected jazz records dating back to the 1920's. He was also passionate about tennis. John was as kind as he was sharp-witted. He had an encyclopedic memory but his modesty did not make it obvious.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Barbara, of Manhattan; daughter, Katy Rees Carr; son-in-law, David Carr; and twin grandsons, Owen and Quinlan, of Austin, Texas.

A memorial service will be held at Meadowlark Hills Community Room at 2:30 p.m. Friday, August 17. The Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be left for the family at

Family Login

Incorrect password