William B. Lienhard, 92 years old died peacefully in his home. He is preceded in death by his wife Jeanine Lienhard, son Eric Lienhard and grandchildren Kelsey Kivisto, Kyle Scott and his twin brother Jim Lienhard (Evelyn). He is survived by daughters Julie Kivisto, KC MO; Betsy Scott (Bruce), Hurricane, UT; Amy Lienhard (Jack Smithback) Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. He is also survived by his grandchildren Blake & Lissa Kivisto, Jessica (Tim) Joyce, Ryan & Cody Scott, Sebastian & Chelsea Smithback and great-grandchildren Landon and Piper Joyce.
Bill was born on January 14th, 1930, in Slaton, Texas with his twin brother James Albert Lienhard to Leon Victor Lienhard and Ruth Barner Lienhard. His father was with the Santa Fe railroad and they lived in a number of different towns before settling in Newton, KS. He graduated from Newton High School in 1948 where he had straight A’s and his basketball team went undefeated until they lost to Lawrence High School in the state finals. He was the leading scorer in the state and a member of the All-State team. Upon graduation he went to the University of Kansas to play for Phog Allen. He joined the Phi Delta Theta fraternity where he lived for four years. He had an academic scholarship and majored in Finance in the Business School. He was a member of Sachem, the National Honor Society. He started for three years on the KU basketball team. His 1952 basketball team won the National Championship in Seattle, WA, where he was a second team all American. His team went on to the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland where they won the gold medal in 1952. After graduation he served two years in the Air Force as a training officer and was discharged as a first Lieutenant. Having majored in finance he went to work for the Fourth National Bank in Wichita, KS where he became Vice President in charge of the Correspondent Bank department.
In Wichita he met his wife Jeanine Joseph who was homecoming queen at Wichita State University. He married Jeanine Joseph on August 27, 1955, at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Wichita. They lived in Wichita for 10 years before moving to Lawrence, KS in 1965 where Bill went to work for what is currently US Bank. He was very active in numerous civic projects throughout his life. To name a few, he was Drive Chairman for the United Way, President of the United Way Board of Directors, President of the Kansas Advocates for Better Care, President of the Kansas Head Injury Association, President of the Lawrence Country Club, President of the Lawrence Kiwanis Club, Treasurer of Independence Inc, Treasure of the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association, and President of the KU Letterman’s Club.
In 1990 Bill was senior Vice President in charge of the commercial loan department and a member of the bank’s Board of Directors where he remained until he retired when he turned 70.
He was inducted into the Newton High School basketball Hall of Fame and had the basketball court named after him. He was also inducted into the University of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame where his Olympic medal can be seen in Allen Fieldhouse. He is a member of the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, where he was described as having the finest one-handed set shot in Kansas Basketball history at that time.
Bill accomplished so much in life, but one of the greatest accomplishments was his devotion to his family. He cared for his son, Eric, after a tragic car accident. He brought Eric to church, KU football and basketball games and numerous outings. His three girls greatly admired his devotion to his wife, Jeanine, who was limited to a wheelchair the last ten years of her life. He became her loving caregiver, full time, until 89 years old. He did the grocery shopping, laundry, cooking and he became proficient at all of them.
We also want to give a special thank you to Beth Robbins who was Jeanine’s devoted caregiver and stayed on with Bill allowing him to remain in the home until his passing.
A mass and funeral will be held at 1 pm, at Corpus Christi Parish on Friday, February 25, 2022. After the service he will then be laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery where his wife Jeanine, son Eric and grandchildren Kyle and Kelsey are buried. A reception will follow until 5 pm at the Lawrence Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, the family would encourage donations to Corpus Christi Parish, Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence or the Brain Injury Association of Kansas, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana Street, Lawrence, KS, 66044.