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Gerald L. Witten, 94, died Saturday, April 20, 2024 at Lexington Park Health and Rehab of Topeka, KS.

Gerald was born May 12, 1929 on the family farm north of Jamesport to Vernie E. Witten and Zola (Ridge) Witten.

Gerald graduated from Trenton High School in Trenton in 1947 and then attended two years of community college in Trenton before teaching for one year in a one-room school near the family farm.

Gerald served in the United States Air Force as a Jet Engine Instructor in Amarillo, TX from 1950-1954.

He married Polly Warren on December 16, 1951. Three sons were born of this union. Gerald and Polly were later divorced.

Gerald earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education, Physics and Mathematics in 1956, a Masters degree in Physical Science in 1958, and a Specialist in Education and Physical Science in 1962, all from Emporia State University.

He taught high school math and physical science in Ulysses, KS from 1956-1962. After returning to Emporia in 1962, Gerald taught physical science at Emporia State University for 29 years, retiring in 1991.

On August 29, 2009, Gerald married Mary Anne Knowles at the First United Methodist Church chapel in Emporia.

Gerald is survived by his wife, Mary Anne of the home; sons Mark (Chris) Witten of Tucson, AZ and Joe (Dana) Witten of Emporia; daughter-in-law, Linda Witten of Emporia; and grandchildren Stacy (Brian) Tate of Seattle, WA, Josh Witten of Emporia, Kelley (J.J.) Nagy of Emporia, Josie Kindhart (fiancé Stefan) of Olathe, Blaze (Kelsey) Witten of Olathe, and Brandon (Maggie) Witten of Tucson, AZ. He is also survived by six great-grandchildren, Elizabeth, Abigail and Ian Tate, Clara and Laura Kindhart, Fenix Witten and two more on the way.

Gerald was preceded in death by his son, Karl Witten; brother, Vernie E. Witten; and sisters, Cleora McReynolds and Beula Pollard.

Gerald was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Emporia.

Gerald was an avid runner, competing in more than 850 races, and was the lead runner on a relay team that set a national record in 1994 for the 60-69 age group at the USA Track and Field National Masters Indoor Championships in Columbia.

He was dedicated to regular exercise and was often seen running through Emporia until his later years when he continued to walk every day.

Gerald helped many people during his lifetime, saying, “Sometimes someone just needs a hand up through a life event, and you look around and you’re the only one there.”

No formal service is planned. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the First United Methodist Church in Emporia, Shriners Hospital for Children, or a charity of the donor’s choice. Donations may be sent to Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, P.O. Box 175, Emporia, KS 66801.