Howard M. Immel 1915 - 2010 Lawrence

Paid family tribute

(August 29, 1915 - October 27, 2010)
State legislator, past president of the University of Kansas Alumni Association, a leader in the Kansas Bar, past president of the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, holder of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Kansas School of Law, dedicated Republican leader — these outstanding accomplishments don’t begin to take the measure of Howard “Tony” Immel, who died Wednesday morning at Windsor Place.
Immel was recognized as a potential political leader from the day he graduated from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1938 and became the personal secretary of Gov. Payne Ratner. Immel went from that insider position to join the legal department of the State Tax Commission. He then became a special counsel to the Kansas Corporation Commission while Andy Shoeppel, who would soon be governor, was chairman.
Because he was a reserve officer as a graduate of Wentworth Military Academy, he was called to active duty early in World War II and served on the staff of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Allied Command. At the end of the war, he was discharged as a lieutenant colonel.
Before the war, he and Elizabeth R. (Sue) Reid were married and Sue stayed with her parents in Iola while her husband was at war.
Immel returned to Iola, began his practice of law and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1948. He served four terms and then was elected to the Kansas Senate in 1956.
Immel was a charter member of Iola Industries, Inc. and served on its board of directors until his retirement. He also was chairman of the board of Allen County Hospital for many years and was an active participant in all of the Iola-building projects initiated during his long career. Among those was the creation of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center, which many consider to be the most important of Iola’s cultural attractions.
As both the friend and the attorney of Thomas H. Bowlus, Immel collaborated in the writing of the Bowlus will, which established the Bowlus Center, connected it with the Iola school district, and established a trust fund that continues to help maintain the Bowlus Center for the benefit of the public in general and the students of the school district in particular.
In addition to his other honors and accomplishments, Immel was a trustee of the University of Kansas Endowment Society and received the coveted Ellsworth Medallion in 1976 in recognition of his “unique and significant service to the university.” He was a past president of the Board of Governors of the KU School of Law.
Immel was born in Denver, CO on Aug. 29, 1915, the son of Ralph Waldo and Hazel (Seibel) Immel. Two brothers, Ralph and John, and a sister, Hazel, all died earlier.
He and his wife, Sue, raised two sons, John J. and his wife, Sheila, of Lawrence, and James M. and his wife, Carol, of Iola. His wife and sons survive as do grandchildren Jay Reid Immel, James M. Immel, Jr., Jody Kaufman, Jamie Reid Turner and Jennifer Oldridge, and eight great-grandchildren.
FUNERAL SERVICE: 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 30, 2010, at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Iola.
BURIAL: Highland Cemetery, Iola, Kansas
MEMORIAL CHOICES: Friends Of The Bowlus or Wesley United Methodist Church
Memorial gifts may be left with the Waugh-Yokum & Friskel Memorial Chapel of Iola, which is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences for the family may be left on this website,

This information was provided to the Journal-World as a paid tribute.