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DeVry, Henry William “Bill”

DeVry, Henry William “Bill”

May 18, 1932 — November 29, 2019

Henry William “Bill” DeVry, Jr., 87, passed away peacefully on November 29, 2019, at the Kingswood Senior Living Community in Kansas City where he resided for the past year and a half.

Visitation will be held from 4-6 pm Saturday, December 7th, at the Park Lawn Chapel, 8251 Hillcrest Road, Kansas City. Private burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery. The family requests no flowers. In thanksgiving for the staff and residents at Kingswood, contributions in Bill’s name are suggested to the Kingswood Employee Holiday Fund, 10000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64114.

Bill was born May 18, 1932, in Elgin, Illinois, the younger of two children of Henry William and Mary Jeanette (Crumley) DeVry. Bill moved with his family to Kansas City at age seven, when his father, Henry, came to run Memorial Park Cemetery. It’s location at 78th and Hillcrest Road was in rural Hickman Mills, MO at the time. During Bill’s childhood, he lived on the cemetery grounds and began work in the family business digging graves by hand, milking cows before school and endless mowing grass. His horses Charlie and Sissy were his transportation to Benjamin’s dry goods store and to the streetcar at the Swope Park Zoo, which he rode to school and the post office.

Bill was an alumnus of Pembroke Country Day School, Rockhurst High School, Bullis Naval Preparatory Academy in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the University of Kansas where he attended on a football scholarship. During his time at Bullis, Bill joined the Navy reserves and was called to active duty for a brief time when a football injury at KU required discharge. At KU, Bill was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and remained a lifelong Jayhawk fan.

Following the death of his father in 1958, Bill acquired Memorial Park from his mother and ran the business, serving as President for 40 years. During this time the business grew to include Green Lawn Cemetery, Park Lawn Funeral Home and Crematory, Glenridge Cemetery and Park Lawn Northland Chapel in Liberty. Five generations of the DeVry family have worked for Memorial Park. Professionally, Bill was a licensed Missouri funeral director and served on the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors. He was a member of Associated Cemeteries of Missouri and a charter member of the Cremation Association of North America.

Bill was a lifelong Catholic and a member of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Mission in Climax Springs, MO. While living at Kingswood he was active with its Catholic community served by Christ the King parish. He was a 60-plus year member of Country Club Lodge #656 AF & AM, Scottish Rite Bodies Valley of Kansas City and Ararat Shrine Temple. Bill was a 50-year member of Hillcrest Country Club and a longtime member of the Elks Lodge #26.

For 30 years Bill was a champion handball player in Kansas City leagues, playing at the Kansas City Athletic Club and Jewish Community Center. He also enjoyed 50 years at his home at the Lake of the Ozarks, boating, fishing and being close to his family and many friends there.

Along with his parents, Bill was preceded in death by his son, Vincent DeVry; and sister, Mary Louise Bledsoe. He leaves his son and daughter-in-law, Hank and Jenny DeVry of Liberty, MO; daughter and son-in-law, Diane and Jim McBride of Austin, TX; grandchildren: Kate, Claire, Henry IV, Cyrus, Olivia, Michael, David, William and James; great granddaughter, Aubree, and a second great granddaughter due December 29th. He also leaves his dear friends Rick and Linda Childs and their family, as well as the entire Park Lawn family.

Service Information

Visitation will be held from 4-6 pm Saturday, December 7th, at the Park Lawn Chapel, 8251 Hillcrest Road, Kansas City. Private burial will be in Memorial Park Cemetery. The family requests no flowers. In thanksgiving for the staff and residents at Kingswood, contributions in Bill’s name are suggested to the Kingswood Employee Holiday Fund, 10000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64114.

DeVry, Henry William “Bill”'s Guestbook

Hank, Jenny, Diane, Jim, and grandchildren, I was saddened to read of Bill's passing. Even though I was related to you by marriage (to Bo) for several years, the only time I met him was at Hank and Jenny's wedding. But reading his obituary in the paper made me regret that I had not had an opportunity to know the good man that he was. I am sure he will be greatly missed by the many whose lives he touched over a long life. My thoughts are with all of you.

Jamie Kathryn Lansford

Hank & Jenny, Each of you & your entire DeVry family(s) are in my prayers of peace & comfort at this difficult time. Bill was truly one of a kind! Fond & very fun memories will always be what I remember of him. Will see each of you Saturday. Warmest regards, Matthew

Matthew Leisman

Dear Hank and family, Please accept my deep and most heartfelt condolences with the passing of your father. You introduced me to him once and it was an honor to meet him and talk with him. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Rev. Jack DeWees

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