Clarence Refer died at home on April 19, 2020 at the age of 82 of a lung condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He was born in 1937 in Denver, Colorado but moved to Kansas City as a child. He served in the Army from 1956 to 1958 in Korea. He married the former Linda Norwood in 1977. He and his wife built their house in Overland Park in 1978 and lived there for over 41 years. He spent most of his career as a computer programmer and later manager at Commerce Bank and UMB bank.
Clarence was a man of high energy and many interests. Before his illness he was an avid reader who devoured fiction and nonfiction books. In fiction, he preferred mysteries and thrillers. His interests included photography, astronomy, technology, history, science, foreign languages, woodworking, wine, Indian food, current events, cars, football and the stock market. At various times he studied French, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Arabic. What he loved most was travel. He walked on all seven continents. He went to Mexico (10 times), Canada, Hawaii (multiple times), Alaska (twice), France, Spain and Andorra, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway (twice), Russia, Japan (twice), South Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore, Tahiti and Bora-Bora, morocco, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Ireland and Portugal. He took a cruise through the Panama Canal and to the Caribbean. He also went to New Zealand on a separate trip and spent a month in Australia. He went to Antarctica and walked among the penguins. For his 80th birthday, he took a river boat trip along the Snake and Columbia River’s to the Pacific Northwest, and the following year he took another river boat cruise along the Mississippi through the American South. In addition, he took many trips throughout the continental United States and saw many of our national parks.
He was funny, witty and a great talker. He also was a kind person and loved all animals, including but not limited to cats and dogs. His favorite dogs were Chihuahuas. He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Linda; sisters Bonnie Cowan and Tamby Kenslow; and cats Walter, Leroy and Bella. He was preceded in death by his older sisters, Kay Barnard and Echo Clemens. His favorite cat Walter faithfully stayed on Clarence’s bed with him during his final illness.
A private graveside service was held at Longview Cemetery. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 16th at 1:00pm at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel (11200 Metcalf Ave. Overland Park, KS).
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