In Memory

Phil Greathouse

PHIL "RUSTY" GREATHOUSE Phil "Rusty" Greathouse, 67, Prairie Village, passed away while watching the KC Chiefs lose their game Sunday, September 18, 2016. It was a hard day for all of us. Sharon, his wife of 38 years, was by his side. Rusty was a gentle lion. He liked to say one of his greatest achievements was "not getting caught," and many of his oldest pals remember him as a fierce friend and loyal defender, even as early as third grade. He reached his tall height way before the other kids started to grow and became a bad boy with a big heart, a heart so big it couldn't help but win out in the long run. He became the kind of husband who happily renewed his wedding vows in an Elvis chapel in Vegas, even though he didn't like Elvis but Sharon really, really does. He made sure the family came together for birthdays and holidays throughout the year, every year. He loved to have the grandkids and great-grandkids over for slumber parties and entertain them with glow-in-the-dark yo-yo shows after lights out. As a friend remarked, Rusty was the kind of man who "sat back and watched everyone else, but got a kick out of watching!" We will miss his quiet, but giant, presence in our lives. Rusty's dry and off-the-wall humor is famous with his family, friends and colleagues. He graduated from Southwest High and Penn Valley College. After attending Northwest Missouri State, he worked for Russ Berrie & Co., selling plush toys on the road in his unforgettable orange Cadillac. Later, he decided it was time to stop traveling and learn a new trade. That's when he accomplished two achievements that meant a lot to him -- he earned national certifications with the American Board of Opticianry and with the National Contact Lens Examiners. He worked at several optical shops before signing on with Costco to establish and manage the optical department. He always felt fortunate to work for Costco because the company's personal and business ethics matched his own. He was a well-liked boss and colleague who came up with nicknames for other employees. He also had a special talent for fine-tuning lenses for customers with the same care and pickiness he gave to his own. In recent years, his favorite hobbies were gardening and Sharon. Rusty was born Aug. 7, 1949, in Kansas City, Mo., the son of Roland A. and Phyllis (Russell) Greathouse. Rusty's father died while Rusty was still a boy. He often said it was his grandfather who taught him to be a man. Rusty married Sharon (Hiller) Greathouse in 1978. In addition to Sharon, he is survived by their children, Maggie (Greathouse) Endsley, her husband Scott, and their children, Spencer and Lily, Lenexa; Deborah (Bloomer) Mance, her husband Gary, Prairie Village, and their children, Kathleen Mance and her partner David Ralabate, Prairie Village, and Stephen and Jessica Sharpe-Mance, Seattle, Wash.; Michael "Andy" Bloomer and his wife Mary Wharff, Lawrence; great-grandchildren, Bradley Mance and Coulomb Sharpe- Mance; six nieces and three nephews; his sisters, Susan (Greathouse) Wheatley, Draper, Utah, and Stacy Greathouse, Prairie Village; sister-in-law, Elizabeth Quist, Front Royal, Va.; and many good friends. We will celebrate Rusty's life with a Final Kick-off from 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25. Please wear your favorite Chiefs gear and join us after the program for the game. We'll cheer on the team and share stories of Rusty at McGilley and Hoge Johnson County Memorial Chapel, 8024 Santa Fe Dr., Overland Park, KS. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Salvation Army. Condolences may be left online at Arr.: McGilley & Hoge Chapel, 8024 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS 66204 (913) 642-3565.

Published in Kansas City Star on Sept. 24, 2016

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09/21/16 12:53 PM #1    

Larry Arlan

This is always painful. Rusty was a big gruff sweet bear. Would always put an arm on my shoulder. Say hi. Sorely missed. Richly liked. And loved. Rest well my friend. Peace be with you for ever. 

09/22/16 12:02 PM #2    

Trudy Royster

I am so sorry to hear of Rusty's passing. He was a good guy, full of mischief at times, handsome and a lot of fun! He leaves us all way to soon. I know you will be missed by many. RIP, Rusty!

09/23/16 08:03 AM #3    

Lynnette Barker (Seehausen)

I am so very sorry. He was a wonderful person.


09/23/16 09:07 PM #4    

Jerry McGinley

Sorry to hear about Rusty. He was a good frind to all.

09/24/16 03:38 PM #5    

Sheila Hesselroth (Kilpatrick)

Rusty was a big lovable teddy bear.  My condolences to his family.  A wonderful guy!

09/24/16 04:06 PM #6    

Larry Haith

Dear family,

I don't have to tell you what a great person Rusty was. You know it! In our class, he was loved by everyone. Rusty was a very good person with a beautiful heart. I will miss seeing him at our reunion.

My sincere communication condolences.
Larry Haith

09/25/16 05:12 PM #7    

Maggie Finkel (Gilmore)

So very sorry to have learned about our friend Rusty Greathouse.    My thoughts to the family and closest friends at this very sad time--but with some wonderful memories to share.

Maggie Finkel Gilmore

09/25/16 09:27 PM #8    

Carole Kidwell (Wall-Simmons)


I will always miss seeing you at the north door- Was a special place guarded by you and your tribe- my heroes! My sincere blessings to your wife


09/28/16 09:22 PM #9    

Kay Maas (Coward)

This is a very sad thing. This has happened to one of the good ones. He lived life fully to the end I am told. We have lost too many of our great classmates. Rest in peace.

12/01/16 08:33 PM #10    

William Tipton

Deeply saddened to hear that my big bear of a friend is gone. We were friends all through grade school at Border Star and Southwest and we shared numerous moments hanging out around the plaza with other old guys know who you are.

There is so much to say about this guy...but I only just found out he passed several minutes ago. Words are so inadequate.

This was a guy who was always a friend no matter how long the passage of time. When people you know die it feels actual grief is something reserved for the ones who touched your life and helped define who you are. I feel grief right now...part of my life is gone with The Bear.

I remember times with Rusty Greathouse, Paul Lynch, Tommy Cavalaro, Joey Maggio and Kay Underhill, all of us in the same place at the same time...

...we felt immortal


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