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William John Dufner

06/02/1941 - 09/29/2020

William Dufner, or Bill Dufner as he was known to all, transitioned to his new life on September 29, 2020. He was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 2, 1941 to William John and Mary Rafferty Dufner. Bill spent his early years enjoying the city’s West Side and being a true city kid. Upon graduation from St. Philip Basilica High School, he earned a scholarship to the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana where he earned his degree in Accounting. He remained an avid Illini fan throughout his life thanks to fond memories as a Manager of the varsity basketball team and the wrestling team, earning his “I” letter. He was a member of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity and served as president his Junior year.

     After graduation, Bill began a career in telecommunications by accepting a position with Illinois Bell Telephone as a Management Assistant. His career was interrupted by his time spent serving his country in the Army Reserves. He returned from active duty and married his college sweetheart, Janet Merrifield in Peoria, Illinois. They then embarked on a 9 year journey with Illinois Bell including assignments in Champaign, Springfield, Alton and Sterling. In the course of that time they were blessed with two adopted children, Stephanie Lynn and Matthew E.

     In 1972 Bill joined United Telephone of the Northwest in Hood River, Oregon. After one year he was appointed Director of Operations for the states of Oregon and California and he relocated to Redmond in Central Oregon. 3 years later the family returned to Hood River where he was appointed Customer Service Director. The following year they moved to the United Telecom Headquarters in Kansas City where Bill joined UniTel International, a subsidiary that was doing business in the Middle East as Operations Manager. In this assignment he had the opportunity to spend time in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait developing proposals for telecom projects.

     Over the next 23 years he had several assignments within the United family in Kansas City including sales at North Supply Company, process re-engineering at the Corporate Staff level, and Field Team Manager for the state of Kansas as the company evolved into SPRINT. Bill retired from working life in 2001, stating that he always wanted to retire before it was too late to enjoy and while he was still very healthy.

     Bill and Janet enjoyed their time in Kansas City and formed many lasting relationships. Lifetime friendships with neighbors in Post Oak Farm, Quivira Highlands and Lake Quivira provided great times throughout their lives. In April, 2006 Janet passed away fighting valiantly against cancer, something she was so passionate about fighting against, with donations to Cancer research. Bill subsequently decided to take some time to determine what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He sold his house and all the furnishings and moved to an apartment. The following year was a journey in learning, and he was so excited to learn more about Kansas City, and to meet new people. Many of his friends from Lake Quivira were very supportive of this effort.

     During the year-long solo adventure Bill reconnected with a former neighbor from Quivira Highlands. Arlene VanderVegt and her late husband Don had lived across the street from them for many of the years they were there. Arlene had lost her husband about 2 years before and she and Bill renewed their friendship over the next 6 months. After that time together it became more apparent to Bill that this friendship was evolving into much more…he asked her to marry him and in October of 2007 they were married at the Unity Church of Overland Park. They were joined by their immediate family in the celebration of this union. Bill and Arlene were determined to make the most of each day of their life together. They enjoyed traveling and sharing time with their children and their many friends throughout the country. Their membership in Unity Church of Overland Park, Ks was a constant source of joy and peace in their lives.

     Bill is survived by his wife, Arlene VanderVegt Dufner; children Stephanie Dufner of Phoenix, Az and Matthew & Nikki Dufner and their two children Kellen and Alexandra of Camas, Wa.; Step-children Julie Hansen and her husband Dave Hansen of Tucson, Az,  and Julie’s children Allie Evans and Jerrod Evans and wife Kristyn and their new daughter/ great granddaughter Rian; step-daughter Jayne Engelhardt and husband Chuck Engelhardt and their two children Macy and Austin of Lansing, Ks; and stepson Travis Vander Vegte and his wife Heather Vander Vegte and their children Finn and Jude of Kansas City.

     Bill was preceded in death by his parents, William and Mary Dufner, his wife Janet Merrifield Dufner, brother Don Dufner and sister-in-law Mary Dufner.

     A memorial service will be held this coming February (date TBD) at Unity Church of Mesa, Az. Per Bill’s wishes, his earthly body will be cremated and part of his ashes spread on the Western slope of Mt Hood in Oregon with the remainder sprinkled on the family grave site awaiting his arrival in Peoria, Il.

     This part of his journey is completed. He was always looking forward to the next step with great excitement and joy. Bill requested that memorial offerings be directed to either: the Cancer Center at Kansas University Medical Center https://securelb.imodules.com/s/1312/giving/interior.aspx?sid=1312&gid=1&pgid=791&cid=1843&bledit=1&dids=443.493.387.386.1083.375&sort=1&appealcode=WDP

or donations can also be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Phoenix/ Desert Southwest


 Both organizations were near and dear to Bill and donations can be made in his honor on those pages.



  • I remember Bill as a fraternity brother. He was then, as always I’m sure, a gentleman and a good friend. Sorry to hear of his passing. The obitutuary brought back pleasant memories. My condolence to his family.

  • Steve and Margo Faust

    Our deepest condolences to Arlene and family.
    Duffy was a brother, friend, and wonderful man whom we will never forget!
    RIP dear friend. We love you forever.

  • TOM ROWLEY UoI Grad FEB 1961

    I believe I first met Bill Dufner at his home in Bellwood Illinois… I grew up in Maywood Illinois, and graduated from Proviso Township HS in 1955 — during my first year at Zeta Chapter we had 7 graduates of PTHS… I recall that Bill was a serious golfer and also a cool BB forward during our InterMurals competition… His bio reveals a successful professional career + truly great family life, too. Best wishes to the surviving family members… “Aloha” Tom Rowley from Monterey CA on the “smoky” Central Coast of Califormia… Home TEL: (831) 373-5204

  • Jan and Harry Enyart

    Our deepest condolences to you and all the family. We never met Bill if you loved him as much as it seemed with a mutual love, he must have been a wonderful man. Sending you out love and support..

  • My heartfelt sympathy to Arlene, my sister and family. Bill was so very kind. He loved & adored Arlene & was so proud of Stephanie & Matt. He
    was always very welcoming to visitors. (In laws too) He was a great cook & made a great martini! He will be missed but remembering his smile warms my heart.

  • Sympathies to you Arlene. May God give you peace during this difficult time. “How beautiful it is in His sight when one of saints is called home.” Psalm 116:15.

  • Dear Arlene, you have my heartfelt sympathy. It was such a pleasure for Jim and I to be housemates with you and Bill at a family reunion and then on another occasion cruise the Caribbean. Sending my hugs and love across the miles to you and your extended family.

  • Never met him seems like he was a very nice man May God Bless

  • Bill was my boss (I was his secretary) at North Supply Company in Gardner, KS. He created a very stable and good relationship with his employees and I will always be grateful for that. I really enjoyed working for him and wish his family condolences on his passing.

  • Arlene; When we first met you, we knew that Bill had ” done good”. In dealing with Bill and his disease, one must have a high degree of patience. We know that you have that. It is most difficult to maintain patience ‘consistency ‘ day in and day out with the care they need and deserve. Bill and I won the Sandbagger WAKA-WAKA golf tournament one year. It was a highlight for both of us. When you are in KC, look us up and we will go to dinner. Condolences to you and his family. Bruce and Mona

  • Jeanette Cleary

    I knew Bill through Sprint North Supply and he was by far one of the nicest men I have ever met. He and Jan played golf with us and I always think of him with that great smile on his face. So many great years together and so many North Supply friends gone too soon. My sympathies on your loss.

  • I knew Bill from his work at North Supply. I always appreciated his integrity, professionalism, and willingness to jump onto any problems. He was a good person and I know his family greatly misses him and his great smile. My condolences to the family.

  • I knew Bill from United Telecom in KC and I don’t recall exactly when/how. I went to Saudi Arabia twice for United on short special assignments. One of my main responsibilities was training United employees, including North, to testify before Regulators such as the Missouri and Kansas Public Service Commissions. I was at Gardner several times. So I am not sure how/where but I did know Bill and he was a great enthusiastic smiling guy, and ethical. Seeing his face brought a smile to my face on a normally sad occasion. He is in my prayers.

  • Bill was always a great guy to be around and to chat with, so sorry Arlene, I pray strength for you, blessings and love.

  • Wonderful Person I Ever Knew.. Thank’s Bill You Were Special..

  • I was secretary to Bill in Gardner in about 2004. What a wonderful man he was to work for. Very kind and easy to work for. So sorry for your loss. Sending comforting prayers to the family 🙏🙏🙏

  • Gary and Debra Hild

    Dear Arlene, sending our love and comfort to you and your family. We were so blessed to get to know Bill and be with you both at your beautiful home in KC, where you included us in family gatherings for Thanksgiving dinner and other delightful times together. After knowing you and Don and your family for many years, it was so wonderful to meet Bill for the very first time at a holiday service at Unity Church of Overland Park those many years ago. Bill will be missed by so many but his Spirit is strong, and we imagine you see him in the beauty of Nature, your home and loving family. Thank you for sharing some highlights of his wonderful life here.

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