Alan Sleeper


August 21, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Iola native Alan Roy Sleeper died Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012.

Sleeper was born in southeast Kansas in Iola to Nora Edith Wright and Allan Roy Sleeper on Sept. 4, 1917. After finishing school in Iola in 1935, he followed his brother, John to KU, pledged Phi Delta Theta as John had done, and studied history. He was a scholar of Winston Churchill. While at KU, he obtained a law degree and met many lifelong friends, the most important being Sara Fair.

After having served on Navy flagships during World War II in North Africa during the invasion of Italy and France, Alan returned to Kansas and married Sara Fair of Alden. Sara’s father was in the farming and ranching business and Alan joined him, embarking on a life he neither trained for nor had any experience with. Alan could not have imagined he would have such a passion for the land. He loved hunting with a favorite bird dog, planting old farm ground back to native grass, maintaining pastures by burning and buying and herding cattle with local men. While he often flew to far away places in his own plane, he was always happiest to return home. He wanted everything he was involved in to be the best it could be. His standards could be demanding of those around him, but they produced important results. He was a pioneer in pasture management and educated himself and those around him on the subject.

Various boards in Kansas benefited from his thoughtful ideas: the Alden School Board, the Alden United Methodist Church Building Fund, the Sterling College Board, the Alden State Bank Board, the Kansas Banking Board, the Kansas City branch of the Federal Reserve under Paul Vogel and the KU Endowment Fund. In remembrance of his mother, father and brother, he established the Sleeper Family Trust at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center in Iola.

His family and friends never lacked for entertainment. Alan always found the best restaurant, the newest play, latest movie or a baseball game on their many travels.

He leaves his wife of 68 years, Sara Fair, Alden; daughter Barbara Hulsizer, Lexington, Mass.; son Jim Sleeper, Santa Fe, N.M.; grandson, Noah Hulsizer and his wife, Nikita Maxwell, and their children, Marsh and Echo, Brooklyn, N.Y.; granddaughter, Eva Hulsizer, Dallas, Texas; and nieces Janet Kerr and Jill Hemphill. He was preceded in death by his brother, John Lyman Sleeper, and his sister-in-law, Virginia Maupin Sleeper.

Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Alden United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Alden Valley Cemetery. Visitation is this evening from 5 to 7 o’clock at Birzer-Sillin Funeral Home in Sterling. Donations are suggested to Alden United Methodist Church.


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