Beloved husband and father, Karl Nicholas Verbenec, passed from this life into eternal rest on June 25, 2016. Karl was born on July 18, 1928 to Ivan (John) Vrbanac and his wife, Frances Gusparovich, Croatian immigrants who raised eleven children while living in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood of Kansas City, Kansas.
Kite attended Wyandotte High School, where he quickly demonstrated his athletic abilities, earning his first varsity letter as a freshman in baseball. He continued with similar successes in football and track, and was elected president of his sports fraternity and captain of the football team. In 1946, he enlisted in The U.S. Marines, and served for one year in San Diego before receiving an honorable discharge. Upon returning home, he attended Kansas City Junior College. Then, in 1949, he began his more than 51 years of employment with Proctor & Gamble, where he also played on the companys championship softball team. Through the years, he worked at various positions in the plant, and when he retired at the age of 71, he had achieved the longest tenure of any employee in the company.
In 1950, he married Marcelline Buckovaz and they set out upon a lifelong adventure which lasted for almost 66 years. Kite and Marcie were an amazing team, based largely on the fact that they were not afraid to try just about anything. This "Can Do" attitude made it possible for them to accomplish a great deal throughout their marriage, including raising eight children, and building two homes in large part with their own hands. And when it came to their family, their generosity and self-sacrifice knew no bounds; there was literally nothing they would not do to help their children.
Karl remained active in sports throughout his life, routinely running the course around Wyandotte County Lake and competing in local senior events well into his 60s. In addition, he excelled at coaching, and beginning in the mid-1960s, he worked with hundreds of students in football and track and field at St. Patricks Elementary School; in fact, he was still at it when his grandson attended the school some 30 years later. He was a skilled leader who developed some of the fastest runners, and his track teams often dominated the local youth leagues. But prior to St. Pats, and before any type of organized athletic programs existed in Western Wyandotte County, he actually created and coached for several years the first youth football team in the area, The Richland Raiders. Another admirable aspect worth noting was that one of Dads primary goals in coaching was to ensure that everyone had the opportunity to play, regardless of physical size or level of talent; he believed that the participation of every member of the team was far more important than the final score.
Dad also enjoyed travelling, especially family trips that involved outdoor activities. Some of his more memorable treks included the Bright Angel Trail to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, as well Angels Landing and The Narrows in Zion, and the Half Dome Trail in Yosemite. He loved being a father and grandfather, and his greatest pleasure was derived from the fact that these trips, which continued up until just a few months before his passing, provided special opportunities to spend time with his family.
Karl was preceded in death by his parents and by nine of his siblings: Carmen, Mary, John, Joseph, Michael, William, Elizabeth, Frank and Donald. He is survived by his wife, Marcelline, and his children: David, Barbara (Tim Cooper), Ronald, Brian, Michael, Karl, Gregory and Brent, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Paulyne Brewer (Herb), of Dallas, Texas, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will take place from 5:00 7:00 pm on Wednesday, June 29, (Rosary at 6:45 pm) and the Mass will be offered at 10:00 am on Thursday, June 30. Both of these events will be held at St. Patricks Church, 1086 N. 94th St. Kansas City, Kansas, with burial to follow at Mt. Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Karl N. Verbenec Memorial Athletic Fund at St. Patricks School.