Paul E. Fleener, 88, son of Weaver L. and Emily (Beck) Fleener, was born February 1, 1933 in his parents’ home in Greensburg, Kansas, and died of natural causes on January 20, 2022 at Collins House, Meadowlark Hills, Manhattan, Kansas.
Paul graduated from Greensburg High School in 1951 and from Kansas State University in 1956. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1956 to 1959, serving on the USS Shangri-La, attaining the rank of Lieutenant JG. On June 28, 1953, Paul married Shirley Venard. Paul and Shirley lived in San Diego while working with Project Concern, and in Hong Kong helping serve the boat people. In 1966, Paul and Shirley moved back to Manhattan with their two young daughters, Sheri (b. 1964) and Pam (b. 1965). Their son, Bob, arrived in 1970.
Paul enjoyed a 30-year career in Public Affairs with Kansas Farm Bureau. In these years, he became a familiar face and voice across Kansas and spent time in Topeka working with the legislature in support of farmers and ranchers. State legislators could easily find Paul by following what had become familiar whistling in the hallways of the Kansas Statehouse. In 1985, Paul was instrumental in the passing of the federal Farm Bill, a significant piece of legislation with positive impacts on farmers across the U.S.
After retiring from Kansas Farm Bureau in 1998, Paul focused more of his time supporting Heart to Heart International, Shepherd’s Crossing (where he and Shirley were volunteer co-directors for three and a half years), and The Jesus Film Project. Anyone who knew Paul could easily confirm that he was a warrior for Jesus, being a witness for Christ in any opportunity he found. His love for Christ impacted many lives through personal relationships and also through the work he and Shirley have done with the Jesus Film Project, sharing the story of Jesus through films translated into more than 1,800 languages, reaching more than 490 million people worldwide.
Paul was a member of the First Methodist Church where he sang in their choir, and later was an active member of Westview, a Wesleyan church in Manhattan.
In his final three years, he was a resident at the Collins House at Meadowlark Hills, where he received excellent support from the care team, for which we are so thankful.
He was preceded in death by his parents; sister Margaret Belle and brother-in-law, Glen Riley; sister Neva Jean Spare; brother John Eldon Fleener and sister-in-law, Barbara; and their extended families. Paul is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughter Sheri Lynn Fleener; daughter Pamela Sue Enright, son-in-law Daniel Enright and their children Sophie Caitlin and Joshua Paul Hawthorn; son Robert (Bob) Beck Fleener; brother-in-law Richard Spare; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A funeral service for family and friends will be held on Monday, January 24th at 10:30 a.m. at Westview Community Church, 615 Gillespie Drive, Manhattan, KS 66502. An additional service in Greensburg, KS, will be held on Tuesday, January 25th at 12 noon, at the Fleener Funeral Home, 514 S. Main Street. Burial will immediately follow at the Fairview Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Jesus Film Project (www.JesusFilm.org) in memory of Paul’s passion for Christ and sharing His story, or via a check made out to Westview Community Church, noting “In memory of Paul Fleener”. https://westviewcommunity.churchcenter.com/giving