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Robert Franklin Hembree (Bob) 1931 - 2024
Robert Franklin Hembree (Bob)

NESS CITY — Robert Franklin Hembree (Bob), 93, passed away on May 13, 2024 at the Legend of Hutchinson. 

Bob was born in Lyman, Okla., on Jan. 13, 1931 to Joseph Franklin Hembree and Hazel (Clapp) Hembree. His family moved to Kansas and settled between Lyons and Chase in April of 1939 when Bob was 8 years old. Bob attended various small country schools as his family moved several times. Bob started his career at a very young age, working for various farmers before starting his future in the oilfield in the late 1940s. He worked on pulling units for Flint Rig and Chase Well Service. 

In the early 1950s in Lyons, Bob smashed his thumb at work and was in search of bandages, which landed him at the Rexall Drug Store. Bob met Phyllis, who worked in the drug store, and she provided the remedy for his ailment. And Phyllis liked his car, she decided to start dating him, and they were united in marriage on May 28, 1953. 

In the late 1950s, Bob’s father, who lived in Ness City, became ill. His father had two old water trucks, so Bob went out to Ness City to help his father. Bob’s father passed away in 1961, and shortly after, Bob moved his family to Ness City and purchased the business from his mother, Hazel. With the help of his wife and children, Bob successfully grew the oilfield business to 23 well service rigs and various allied oilfield equipment, providing operations in western Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle. In 1982, they built the Derrick Inn Motel and also owned the Frigid Creme and Park Motel. At one time, he had over 200 employees. He started drilling oil wells in 2009, successfully building an oil company to be proud of. Bob retired and sold the oil company in the fall of 2019. 

Bob and Phyllis enjoyed traveling with friends and family. A few of their favorite trips included Hawaii, Alaska, Africa, England, Ireland, Brazil, Tahiti, several Caribbean cruises and various trips in the continental United States. 

Survivors include his wife Phyllis; three sons, Fred (Sherry) Hembree, Hutchinson, Bobby Hembree, Garden City, Steve (Joy) Hembree, Great Bend; one daughter, Tena (Rod) Wasinger, Bennington; 11 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; four sisters, Norma Keller, Shirley Hudson, Patsy McCoy, and Sue Buchanan; sister-in-law Mary Hembree; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; daughter-in-law, Diana Hembree; three brothers, Jim, Bill and Donnie; and two sisters Betty Foster and Joan Quick. 

A funeral service planned for 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 20, 2024. At Fitzgerald Funeral Home, Ness City followed with burial in the Ness City Cemetery. Viewing will be on Sunday, May 19, 2024 at Fitzgerald Funeral Home from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be given to the National Alzheimer’s Association. Words of comfort and support may be left for the family at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Fitzgerald Funeral Home

207 N Pennsylvania Ave. 

Ness City, KS 67560

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, May 18, 2024