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Dietz, William Kieth

Dietz, William Kieth

July 5, 1926 — October 22, 2020

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of our beloved father and grandfather, William Dietz. Besides being the constant pillar of our family, he was also a beloved star of Kansas City advertising history, as the memorable TV character & local commercial icon, “Colonel Billy”. At the height of his popularity in the 1980’s/90’s, he was profiled nationally as one of the pioneers of “corny” tv spots, highlighted in numerous articles for the Kansas City Star, and even took his turn acting in “Annie Get Your Gun” at Starlight Theater.

Bill Dietz grew up in Des Moines, Iowa during the Depression, and was a combat veteran of World War II, receiving the Bronze Star along with numerous other medals following his honorable service. Following the war, he graduated from Drake University, and began a very successful career in journalism and advertising — first in Des Moines, and then for over 50 years in his beloved Kansas City. Fans may remember him as the gravelly voiced character who flew through the sky in recliners and rocking chairs, got buried alive in a coffin, or ran around while donning his famous whiskey barrel delivering famous one-liners to pitch everything from restaurants to car dealerships — as only he could.

Besides his great artistic talent and success in advertising, he loved to golf, and was known to walk nine holes well into his eighties. He was able to golf from Hawaii to Europe during his lifetime, but his happiest outings were with friends and family at courses closer to home. He also enjoyed many happy events as a member of the Ararat Shrine and Veterans organizations, especially the DAV. While he was a creative genius and successful businessman, he also was always ready to help out those in need. Whether it was volunteering time to promote the Shriner’s Hospitals or helping friends and family, he always believed in supporting those who needed a helping hand in order to reach their full potential. He taught us to always look for the best in people. He took great joy in attending special events for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His charismatic nature made him a favorite to their friends and peers over their lifetimes. His bigger-than-life persona, in-hand with the love for his fellow man and country, will continue to live through all the lives he touched for generations to come. As James A. Fussell wrote in a 1996 Kansas City Star Magazine profile of famous Kansas City pitchmen “… Ah, the life and times of the one and only Col. Billy…”

William is preceded in death by his wife Betty; his son and daughter-in-law Danny and Bonnie Dietz, and brother Fenton Dietz. He is survived by his daughters Terry Paine and Amy Dietz; his grandchildren: Erin Rineberg (Nick), Ryan William-Dietz Rusin, Travis Dietz (Kerri), and Tina McKinney (Kyle); great-grandchildren: Megan, Jacob, and Jarrett Dietz, and Kellen and Katie McKinney; nephews Kirk and Carl Dietz, niece Mary Kay Seybold and their spouses; many great-nieces and nephews; and Betty’s daughter Janine (Colt) along with their 3 daughters.

Bill will be laid to rest by his wife Betty at Green Lawn Cemetery at Park Lawn Funeral Home. A Memorial Service to celebrate his most wonderful life will be held at a later date.

Service Information

Bill will be laid to rest by his wife Betty at Green Lawn Cemetery at Park Lawn Funeral Home. A Memorial Service to celebrate his most wonderful life will be held at a later date.

Dietz, William Kieth's Guestbook

Thank you for your service and years of entertainment.


💔 A true Kansas City Icon! Rest in Paradise, sir. Our deepest condolences to your loved ones. The Marriott Family - Warren, Edna, Crystal, Dawn, Calen, Kyle, Jesse and Ashley

Crystal Marriott

I worked with Col. Billy at Boots Williams Ford. There never was a dull moment when those two were together doing Commercials for the Ford Dealership in Red Bridge Road. Rest In Peace. I hope God is ready for you and Boots when you two meet up again.

Judy Farrow

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