Ivan Gallentine was born at the family home located two miles north and one and one-quarter miles west of Clayton Kansas to Elmer Ellsworth and Katie (King) Gallentine on February 4, 1908. He was the youngest of eight children: Ella, John, Jim, Birdie, Ida, King, and Elmer. Ivan received his name from Jessie Gallentine, the neighbor who attended his birth. He didn’t like the name and never forgave Jessie for giving it to him. In later years his friends nicknamed him “Spiff” because of the spiffy way he dressed. He always wore starched and pressed long sleeved shirts, even when working in the field.
Ivan attended District #97 school, a one room school known as the Gallentine School located two miles from his home in Garfield Township, Decatur County, Kansas. His father, who was a well known farmer, stockman and businessman in the area, died when he was 16 years old. Prior to that time, his parents had gone to Florida for Elmer’s health and his oldest sister, Ella, took care of the family. On August 6, 1932, Ivan married Thelma Tapp, who he had been dating for several years. The ceremony was conducted by the justice of the peace in the courthouse in Colby Kansas.
The Gallentine's first home was rented from the Vessey family and was located a mile north and a mile west of Clayton. Ivan and Thelma’s three children, Dolores (Slipke), John and Jerry, were born there. It was a very cold house in the winter and his children remember him sitting up all night long to keep the heating stove working. In 1947, the family purchased a house from Ivan's brother, Jim, a mile north and a quarter mile west of where they were living. This home was located only a quarter mile from where Ivan was born and where his mother and oldest sister still lived. After moving, Ivan did extensive remodeling and he lived there until moving to the Long Term Care Facility in Oberlin KS. It was in this home that Ivan finally had the modern conveniences of electricity, running water, telephone, etc. Ivan’s son, Jerry, now owns the house.
Ivan farmed his entire life, raising wheat and milo as well as cattle and hogs. During the “dirty thirties” times were very hard. Ivan’s brothers John and King and his sister Ida and their families lived within one and one-half miles, and in the true farming tradition, they exchanged work and helped each other survive. Ivan’s son John was his constant companion during these work exchanges and has many stories to tell of the experiences.
For several years, Ivan operated a feed yard where he fattened quality cattle, which he sold at the stockyards in Kansas City and St. Joe. His cattle established a reputation and were purchased by the better restaurants in the Kansas City and St. Joe area.
Similar to many farmers of the time, Ivan did not like to travel or leave the farm for any length of time. However, he did visit his children when they lived in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.
When Ivan was in his early 60’s he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After battling the disease for several years, he finally had to sell his farm to his son John. Thelma continued to care for him until he moved to the Long Term Care Facility in Oberlin Kansas in 1978. Ivan died there on July 13 1982.
Ivan was a quiet man and did not have any real hobbies. He enjoyed reading, was an excellent mechanic and carpenter. He liked to fish in Plum Creek with his youngest son when time permitted. Ivan loved Thelma's cooking, fresh fruit and sweets – especially Christmas candy. However, he never seemed to gain any weight.
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Ann Volpe Gallentine