Jon William Gaines

Memorial services for Jon William Gaines, 68, Overbrook, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, November 18 at Worden Cornerstone Church in Baldwin City, KS. Burial will immediately follow at Twin Mound Cemetery in Overbrook, KS. A visitation for family and friends is being held at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home on Friday, November 17 from 5-7 p.m.

Jon William Gaines was born on July 17, 1955, in Topeka, Kansas, the son of Floyd and Lois (Downing) Gaines. He passed from this life surrounded by his family on Monday, November 13, 2023, at KU Medical Center after a courageous battle with esophagus cancer.

Jon grew up in rural Douglas County as the fifth generation on the Gaines 3M family farm. His childhood was spent enjoying the best of country living with a tight-knit family within the communities of Richland and Clinton.

He attended Wakarusa Valley Elementary, South Junior High, and graduated from Lawrence High School in 1973. Jon graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelors Degree in Environmental Studies. Many treasured friendships that were formed during his school years were carried through the remaining decades of his life. He dedicated 26 years as an employee of Life Span Institute at the University of Kansas.

On June 13, 1981, he was joined in marriage with Elizabeth (Betty) Marie Ryan in Colby, KS. He was a nurturing and supportive father to their children, Jeremy Lawrence and Stephanie Rose. His favorite past times in life involved caring for his herd of Hereford cattle, spending the summers in the hay fields, family time around a fire in his beloved Gaines Walnut Grove, deer hunting, pheasant hunting at the Ryan family farm, watching KU Jayhawks, and smoking meats for countless gatherings. Those who knew him have described him as a kind, caring friend to all, always willing to help in any way, and an all-around great man. He was a man of principle who valued respect, honesty and man’s word.

Jon was an active member of the Albert Neese Masonic Lodge where he served several terms as Grand Master. He also served many years as the President of the Twin Mound Cemetery.

Jon will be greatly missed by his wife, Betty and son Jeremy Gaines, daughter Stephanie McNish and son-in-law Earl. He was a proud and loving Papa to his grandchildren: Asher Gaines, Baret Barquist, Savannah, Henry, and Evan McNish. Other survivors include his siblings: Linda (Bernie) Faust, Saundra (Paul) Hiller, Diana Skinner, Tom Gaines. He is also survived by sisters-in-law: Margaret (Don) Spangler, Rosie Schell, Mary Woydziak, Patricia Ryan, Lois Ryan and brothers-in-law: Larry (Linda) Ryan, Bill (Kathy) Ryan, Terry Ryan, Donald Ryan, and Jerry Ryan and many nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his parents, in-laws H.L. and Ethel (Bailey) Ryan. Brothers-in-law: Delbert Skinner, Thomas Ryan, Jim Ryan, Jerome Schell, and Jim Woydziak.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the Wakarusa River Valley Heritage Museum sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1260, Lawrence, Kansas 66044.