John Milton (“JM”) Thies, born July 5th, 1936, left his earthly body to be with The Lord on November 10, 2018, in the presence of his adoring wife, children and grandchildren, following a weeklong celebration and observance of his life, filled with music, stories, laughter and tears.
JM was a devoted family man, a gifted leader, a cherished business executive and partner, passionate sports fan, a supporter of the arts and a student of his faith. He touched countless lives through organizations he believed in and through the many business ventures he founded and helped build.
With a seemingly endless supply of energy, he reengineered a long-standing family business started by his father, uncle and other elder family members. After a catastrophic explosion at the Thies Meatpacking Company plant in Great Bend nearly ended his family’s legacy in the late 60s, JM dedicated the next twenty years of his life to rebuilding and expanding the company. Formerly a small regional meatpacking plant, Thies Packing acquired the OhSe brand, and this Kansas company ultimately distributed its products from coast to coast, a result of the hard work of Thies-OhSe teams in Great Bend, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas.
JM went on to help develop and expand multiple enterprises including Clearly Water, a purified drinking water company in Arizona and Suntell, a bank software company headquartered in Topeka, Kansas. His most satisfying achievements centered around his family, his employees and partners and their respective families. Educational and scholarship funding was one of his primary objectives. In this regard, Thies was heavily involved in local school boards and the funding of scholarships. Later in life, he participated in numerous committees through Kansas State University.
JM helped facilitate funding for College of Business at KSU and for The Pride of Wildcat Land, the KSU Marching Band. A distinguished alumni fellow at Kansas State, Thies was awarded Kansas Business Leader of the Year in 1998.
Along with his wife, JM developed an at-risk camp for Kansas Youth and promoted music education throughout his lifetime.
He is survived by his wife, two children, their spouses, three grandsons and a granddaughter, and one great-grandson. He is preceded on death by his son John Alan Thies, who died in 1994.
Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 3601 SW 17th, Topeka. A rosary will be prayed at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at Penwell-Gabel Cremations, Funerals & Receptions, 1321 SW 10th Ave, Topeka with visitation to follow until 7:30 p.m.
A memorial mass will be 1:00 p.m. Thursday, November 15, 2018 at Prince of Peace Parish, St. Patrick Catholic Church, 4100 Broadway, Great Bend. Private interment will be at Great Bend Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 1800 SW Stone Ave, Topeka, KS 66604 or Kansas State University Foundation, 1800 Kimball Ave, Suite 200, Manhattan, KS 66502 or Prince of Peace Parish, P.O. Box 87, Great Bend, KS 67530 or Golden Belt Community Foundation, 1307 Williams St., Great Bend, KS 67530.
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