He was born on Aug. 2, 1921, in a farm home close to Lost Springs to Alvin A. and Leah G. (Notson) Daetwiler. He grew up on a farm near Herington and attended a one-room schoolhouse. He graduated from Herington High School in 1939 and for the following seven years worked on the family farm. In the fall of 1946, at the age of 26, he entered Manhattan Bible College in Manhattan and spent four years obtaining his undergraduate training for the ministry. During this time, he spent weekends serving a small Christian Church in Havensville.
On May 20, 1948, he married Vida Jean (Muhs) Hahlbeck in Manhattan. Later they moved to Enid, Okla., where he attended Phillips Theological Seminary for three years, receiving a bachelor of divinity degree in 1953. During his seminary years, he served as a student minister in Geary, Okla.
After completing seminary, the couple moved to Oberlin, where he pastored a Federated Church, which was a combined Christian and Baptist congregation. Next he served First Christian Church in Neodesha and from 1963 to 1973 was pastor of Central Avenue Christian Church in Parsons. He then served churches in Garden City and Newton and in Stroud, Okla., where he retired in 1987.
The Daetwilers returned to Parsons in 1987, and in retirement he served as interim minister at Christian churches in Fredonia, Sedan, Wichita, Erie and Sedalia, Mo. Throughout his years of service, he never missed a Sunday in the pulpit due to sickness or health. He also supplied pulpits throughout the city of Parsons and surrounding towns, as needed. He felt his greatest honor was to preach in the church where he grew up and from which he made his decision to dedicate his life to the ministry.
Throughout his ministry, Alvin performed 363 weddings, three of which were for his daughters and a granddaughter. He also welcomed, into the church 1,304 baptisms (which included his children and grandchildren) and transfers of membership. Alvin presided over 881 funerals, including those of his parents and son. His record book lists each person’s full name and date of service.
During his years in the ministry, he served as an officer in several ministerial alliances and was president of the Kansas Christian Churches in 1969. He was chairman of the development committee when the Christian Hills Camp was built near Eureka and was secretary of the Kansas Christian Churches committee on the Order of Ministry. He served as president of the Kansas Christian Ministers and Mates organization, was chairman of the regional ministerial scholarship fund and headed the New Church Establishment in Kansas committee. He also served as a board member and board president of Axtell Christian Hospital in Newton and as a board member of the Kansas Christian Home in Newton.
Alvin always had a great interest in construction work and was skilled at working with wood and with laying bricks, blocks and rocks because of his clearing the family’s farmland, at a young age, and using the limestone to build the fences and buildings on the farm. He was able to pay his way through college by doing this work. While serving the church in Oberlin, he laid the bricks for an addition to the church. He also laid the rocks for planters and fireplaces at the church in Neodesha and engaged in projects of this nature at other churches and parsonages which he served. He used his talents to help friends and family with their structures, including Habitat for Humanity. He also built a great deal of the Christian Hills Church Camp in Eureka and more recently helped build the storage unit for the Christian Church in Parsons.
Alvin enjoyed gardening and planting trees and shrubs, also. His daffodil bed is currently just about to bloom. It can be seen, in back of the Daetwiler home, from the Presbyterian Manor parking lot.
He had been a member of the Kiwanis Club in Parsons and served as president of the Lions Club in Oberlin and Stroud. In addition to being active in various service clubs, he also delivered Meals on Wheels, taught Sunday school classes and pastor’s classes, served as an elder and was church historian, chairman of church growth and an active member of Christian Men’s Fellowship and served on various committees, as chairperson, at First Christian Church in Parsons.
He was a member of the Parsons Amateur Woodworking Society, and one year made 37 miniature grandfather clocks, among other items, to sell at its fundraiser. Alvin served as chaplain of AARP and assisted people in their income tax preparation. He occasionally served as a hospital chaplain in the various communities where the family lived.
In 2010, Alvin was honored at the 92nd annual meeting of the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas as a recipient of the Olive Ann Beech Kansas Factual Story Award. His life story, “I Am Kansas,” was featured in its annual booklet and is housed at the Kansas State Historical Society. His thoughts on the meaning of life have been published in a book, of the same name, compiled by Hap C.S. Lyda.
One of Alvin’s favorite pastimes was traveling extensively throughout the U.S., visiting and videoing relatives and friends and attending the general assemblies of the Christian Church. While traveling or being with people, especially his grandchildren, he enjoyed playing train dominoes, Phase 10 and various card games.
Alvin had donated many gallons of blood at the Red Cross bloodmobiles. He and Jean had served as foster parents and had sponsored a Vietnamese family.
Survivors include his wife, Jean Daetwiler of the home; three daughters, Rhonda Buckles and her husband, Doug, of Independence, Deborah Depew and her husband, Doug, of Neodesha and Kyla Daetwiler of Parsons; six grandchildren, Rebeccah Buckles, Danielle Pippitt, Reagan Buckles, Doug Buckles Jr., Philip Depew and Emily Depew; two great-grandchildren, Landon and Nora Pippitt; a brother, the Rev. Dr. Richard Daetwiler of Aurora, Colo.; and three sisters, Geraldine Hodson of Herington, Anita Davis of Topeka and Jacqueline Rood of West Des Moines, Iowa.
Preceding him in death was a sister, Patricia Sager; and a 7-week-old son, Philip, who died in 1956 of polycystic kidney disease.
The service will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday at First Christian Church in Parsons. Burial will be Monday afternoon at Mount Hope Cemetery in Independence. The family will receive friends from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Carson-Wall Funeral Home in Parsons.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to First Christian Church of Parsons or the PKD Foundation (polycystic kidney disease), and those may be left at or sent to the funeral home, Box 942, Parsons, 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.wallfuneralservices.com.