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Linn County News

Published March 23, 2022


Harold Edgar Goss, born Jan. 3, 1923, to Edgar Merritt Goss and Carrie (Tucker) Goss in Pleasanton, Kan., died, at the age of 99 on March 19, 2022, peacefully at his home in Leawood, Kan.

Harold grew up in Pleasanton, a small rural town south of Kansas City. His father was a teacher, a minister at the Disciples of Christ Church in Pleasanton, and a farmer of dairy cattle and honeybees. Harold began working almost as soon as he could walk, working on the farm, delivering milk from his father’s dairy to families in town, and traveling with his father to sell honey to country stores in southwestern Kansas and southeastern Missouri. When he turned 10 years old, he began working in “town.” He worked in the town grocery store, the filling station and the town theater, among other odd jobs. After graduating from Pleasanton High School in 1940, he hitchhiked to Garden City, Kan., and worked the wheat harvest during the summer of 1941.

Harold enrolled at the University of Kansas in the fall of 1941. He joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and was beginning to feel comfortable in Lawrence when Dec. 7, 1941, changed his life forever. He finished the semester and in May 1942 enlisted in the Army Air Corps soon to become the Air Force. He wanted to fly airplanes. He trained at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., Washington University and attended flight school in San Antonio, Stanford and Perrin Field, Texas. He spent time as a flight instructor before shipping out for Europe in January 1944. Harold flew a P-47 Thunderbolt. He had a fierce Jayhawk painted on the fuselage of his plane modeled after a Kansas University calendar he brought with him to Europe. A photo of him in his P-47 is hanging in the “Remembrance” section in the front entrance of Allen Field house in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawk on his airplane is the same fighting Jayhawk that is used on the helmets worn by the Kansas football team during the annual military honors game. Harold flew 62 missions in Europe out of the 53rd squadron of the 36th Fighter Group based in Louvain, Belgium. He received the DFC and Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters. Harold was headed to the Pacific when the war ended, and he returned home and to the University of Kansas in 1946. He remained in the Air Force Reserve after the war and retired after 28 years as a Lt. Col.

Back in Lawrence he met Betty June Sullivan, the only daughter of Maude and Frank Sullivan. Betty was one of the first women to graduate from the University of Kansas Business School. Harold claimed he met Betty in class. Betty had a different story. She said it was at a dance for the returning service men. We always believed her. Betty and Harold were married at the Chapel on KU’s campus on Feb. 7, 1947, a little more than a year after Harold returned from Europe.

After graduation from Kansas’s Business School, Harold began working for his father-in-law at the Kansas Department of Insurance in Topeka, Kan., while he and Betty continued to reside in Lawrence. They moved to an apartment on the Plaza in Kansas City in 1951. Harold started in the life insurance business with New England Mutual Life. He went on to become the General Agent for National Life of Vermont. 

Among other organizations, he was a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Round Table, CLU and the Estate Planning Counsel of Kansas City. Harold enjoyed a lifelong career in the life insurance business, which he later shared with two of his sons, Gary and Michael. He was particularly thankful for the people that his work brought him to know and serve personally and professionally.

In addition to the love for their family and spending time with them, Harold and Betty loved to dance and listen to music. He was a member of the Carriage Club and the Vanguard Breakfast Club. It was seldom that they missed an opportunity to hear live music or attend a dance, Harold in his tux and Betty in a pretty gown until Betty’s death in 2010. Harold and Betty were longtime active members of the Country Club Christian Church on Ward Parkway. Their faith was an integral part of their lives and was reflected in their participation and contributions to many charitable organizations.

Harold was predeceased in death by his wife Betty and almost everyone else he knew. Not a bad life. He served his country, his family, his community. Harold will be missed dearly by his family. He is survived by his four sons, Harold Merritt (Joan), Frank Neil, Gary Tucker (Janet) and Michael Allen (Kit Smith); five grandchildren: Gregory Sullivan (Maggie), Peter Edward (Lindsay), Scott (Andy), Michael and Madeline; and four great-grandchildren: Charlie, Zooey, Annie and Eleanor. Dad is also survived by Judy Smith who the family could not be more thankful for her friendship and devotion to his care for the past 10 years.

A private service and burial will be held for the family. Contributions in Harold’s name may be made to the First Christian Church of Pleasanton, 613 Main St., Pleasanton, Kan. 66075.



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Ann Johnson ~ 09-14-1943 to 05-16-2024


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