Bill Ulrich

1938 - 2021


March 3, 2021 - 9:43 AM

William “Bill” E. Ulrich, passed away Monday, March 1, 2021, at his home in Colony, surrounded by family in the same room he was born 82 years ago. 

Bill was born Sept. 12, 1938, to Benjamin Keith and Vera Marie (Newman) Ulrich in Colony. He graduated from Colony High School before going into the Navy in 1957. After returning from the Navy, he began working with his father on the farm. In 1967, he moved to California. He worked at Whittiker Boat Plant until returning back to his family farm in 1972. Bill continued to farm and raise cattle until he went to work for Beachner Construction where he began building bridges. He then worked for his brother-in-law, Larry Robertson, where he began laying brick until his retirement in 1999.

Bill married Shirley Dene (Ricks) Ulrich on Sept. 28, 1963, in California. Their union was blessed with two children. They were united in marriage for 57 years. 

Bill was very active with the Colony Lions Club with his son, Brian. He was a faithful member for 50 years. He was the club’s treasurer for over 20 years and held the office as president for two years. He was also a member of the Chanute Elks Lodge and was a member there for 17 years. He was very proud that he was initiated into the lodge by his daughter, Brenda, who was the Exalted Ruler at that time. He and his wife, Shirley, were very active in square dance clubs in California and Kansas. Bill, also known by his nickname “Shorty” to a lot of people, was known for always being there for anyone that needed help. He was a hard worker and always out “tinkering” and working on some type of project. There wasn’t anything he didn’t know how to work on, fix, or build. He loved fishing, camping, and spending time with his grandchildren. Bill could be quite the character, always willing to don whatever Halloween costume he was asked to wear. Bill could make one “pretty lady.” Bill also had a great love for animals. He was rarely seen without his faithful friends by his side. 

Bill was preceded in death by his father, Benjamin “Keith” Ulrich; mother, Vera Ulrich; infant brother, Robert Keith Ulrich; nephew, Melvin Dean Smoot; and great-niece, Marsha Kay Smoot. 

Bill is survived by his wife, of the home, Shirley Ulrich; daughter, Brenda Harrison (Floyd) of Chanute; son, Brian Ulrich (Darla) of Iola; four grandchildren, Trevor Harrison (Paige), Rebekah Harrison, Whitney Ulrich (Seth), and Zach Ulrich; two great-grandchildren, Cheyenne Harrison and James Focks; two sisters, Mary LaCrone (Don) of Gas, and Shirley Robertson (Larry) of Gas; beloved dogs, Maggie and Zoey; and numerous other family members and friends.

Services to honor Bill’s life will take place at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 5, at Feuerborn Family Funeral Service in Iola. Family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 4, in The Venue at the funeral home.

Memorials in honor of Bill are suggested to A.C.A.R.F. of LaHarpe, and may be left with the funeral home or mailed to 1883 U.S. Highway 54, Iola, KS 66749. Condolences for the family may be left online at 

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