John Wayne Gutsch was born on the family farm located 5 and a half miles east of Antelope, Kansas on December 21, 1937, in the master bedroom of the family farm to Carl Herbert Gutsch and Dorotha Belle Peddycord. John was the fourth of five children; Bob, Juanita, Charles, and Linda Gutsch. From first through eighth grade John attended Grapes School, a mile southeast of the Gutsch’s farm. After eighth grade, he did not want to continue going to school. As a result, he was given an ultimatum by his father. Carl told John that if he did not want to continue going to school, he needed to work. During this year John spent his time earning a living by trapping fur animals and working on his father's farm.
This experience paid dividends for John, as this sabbatical prompted him to again enroll at Lincolnville High School in 1952. During this time John played basketball and baseball and continued to play competitive softball until he was nearly 40. John also participated in band, playing the trombone. Sports and music have been predominant activities in the lives of John’s children and grandchildren.
During his freshman year, John met Marlys Sue Riffel. John’s mother, Dorotha, said that he only took a year off from school because he wanted to be in the same class with Sue. The couple began dating and were married following their graduation from high school at the Riffel residence on September 20, 1956. There were no attendants, and the couple’s mothers, Verna Riffel and Dorotha Gutsch, signed the marriage certificate.
After the wedding, the couple left in a 1954 Ford two-door. The couple had reservations to stay at a motel in Emporia. However, after finishing wedding pictures and driving to Emporia, the couple was late enough that motel management gave their room to someone else. The newlyweds settled on a room with two twin beds. The next day, the newlyweds drove to Duncan, Oklahoma and stayed with Harvey and Alta Fleming, Sue’s aunt and Uncle. After their marriage, they lived in Newton, and he began working at Montgomery Ward and later at Guerdon Industries where Sue had been working until May of 1957.
In 1957 John and Sue experienced the birth of their first child, Jeffrey Wayne. The child was born prematurely and lived only a few hours. Following the passing of their baby, John and Sue decided to move back to the farm where he had been born and to farm with his father once again. During this time, Sue learned to cook, take lunches to the field, and so much more from her mother in law. In September of 1957, John’s parents moved to Lincolnville and John, and Sue lived together on this farm until May 24.
They had their second child, a son, John Scott, on February 14, 1960. The family became whole with the birth of their three daughters; Lynley Sue, Holly Deann, and Jenny Lynne. John continued to farm and raise cattle and the entire family mobilized to help with the farm work. At age 7, Scott began to help John and Grandpa Carl with the field work.
In 1972 the Gutsch family along with John’s in-laws, Al and Verna Riffel, began traveling to Colorado after the completion of the summer harvest. John’s daughter Lynley noted that the family could not go on vacation until the wheat fields were ready for fall planting. Colorado camping companions include Sue’s brothers and their families and their beloved Uncle Richard Hatfield and Auntie Ruby. There were even campouts that included John’s siblings and their families. This family tradition has grown to include John and Sue’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
John would continue to travel to sale barns including Overbook, St. Mary’s, Junction City, Manhattan, El Dorado and LaCrosse which would include a Pizza Hut buffet whenever he could. On the day before his death, he attended the cattle sale in Salina, purchased 4 head, hauled them home and worked them, and parked his pick-up and stock trailer, ready to head out again the next morning.
John is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sue, son, Scott and Sharon Gutsch of Lincolnville, daughters, Lynley and Tom Remy of Burdick, Holly Brooks and Brenda Jones of Denver, and, Jenny, and Dan Heinz of Rose Hill. 10 grandchildren Curtis Gutsch and wife Erin, Bryant Gutsch and wife Emmali, Megan Suffield and husband Bryce, Tad Remy and wife Kathleen, Tye Remy and Katie Remy, Erin Brooks, Jadan, Colby, and Mandi Heinz, and 9 great-grandchildren.