Wesley Paul “Wes” Unruh died at his home in Lawrence Saturday (May 17, 2008).


Wesley Paul “Wes” Unruh, former member of Bethel College Mennonite Church, died at his home, 4003 Parkway Circle, Lawrence, KS 66047, on Saturday (May 17, 2008) following a courageous five-month battle with acute leukemia. He was the brother-in-law of Esther Bohn Groves and Stanley Bohn of North Newton.

Wes was born Sept. 9, 1933, in Champa, India, the son of Mennonite missionaries William F. and Pauline Unruh. His boyhood was spent in Iowa and Kansas during his father’s pastorates.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Bethel College and master and doctorate degrees in physics from The University of Kansas. He was a researcher with Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, taught physics at Ohio University and was a researcher and professor for 14 years at KU.

He spent the last 10 years of his career doing research at Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico where, among many projects, he pursued his interest in detecting an analyzing tornado formation. He retired in 1994 to Lawrence.

As a young man, Wes was a violinist and later studied the flute. He became a ship-certified ham radio operator, was an amateur astronomer, loved sailing and canoeing, built an extensive model railroad, and had a deep appreciation for both classical music and jazz. He maintained membership in a number of professional organizations.

Survivors include his wife, Ellie Bohn Unruh of Lawrence, with whom he shared 50 years of marriage; three daughters, Amy Unruh of Austin, Texas, Julie Unruh of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ellen Unruh Brandon of Canberra, Australia; a brother, Will of Palm Harbor, Fla.; two sons-in-law; and two grandsons, Conor and Quinn, sons of Peter and Ellen Unruh Brandon.

A service to celebrate Wes’ life will be at 3 p.m. June 7 at the Unitarian Fellowship of Lawrence.

Memorials may be given to Healthcare Access, 1920 Moodie Road, Lawrence, KS 66046, or Douglas County VNA & Hospice Care, 200 Maine, 3rd Floor, Lawrence, KS 66044.