Cover photo for Darrell Mcginnis's Obituary
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Darrell Mcginnis

September 23, 1932 — August 24, 2020

Darrell Mcginnis


Darrell Dean McGinnis died suddenly at Via Christi, Hays, Kansas with his wife by his side on August 24th 2020. He was born on the 23rd of September 1932, in the Regan house rental just West of Esbon, Kansas in Jewell County, to Ivan and Frances LORENCE. He was born just after Don and before Connie and Larry.

His parents bought a farm, with the help of Frances father. Darrell, in his memoir, speaks fondly of this time, going to country school and playing in the near-by creek. This innocent time came to an end in 1939 with the death of his younger brother Larry (age 2 years and four months) from stomach flu and the loss of the farm after the terrible droughts of the 30's. In 1941 his father moved the family to Missouri. They first rented a farm near Osborne and later bought 133 acres in the Keystone community near St. Joe.

The family moved back to Jewell County in 1947 to a farm south of Esbon. Darrell went to high school there and graduated in 1950. His father died in 1950. Having never liked farm life, and having always enjoyed school more, Darrell took the opportunity to join the Navy to get out and served in San Diego from 1952 to 1956.

He then went to the then "Fort Hays College and met Joel Moss, his great mentor, who was in the art department and convinced him to study art there. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in Fine Arts in ceramics.

It is at the art department where he met fellow student Grace Staab and they were married on August 20th 1960 at Saint Joseph's Church in Hays. They celebrated 60 years of marriage just four days before his passing.

Their first child, Erin, was born in 1961, and then Martin in 1962 before they moved to Maryville, Missouri, where he got his first teaching job. Collin was born there in 1963.

Tragedy struck in 1964 when Marty died of complications of a strep infection and Darrell moved his family back to Hays in 1964 when offered a teaching position at his alma mater.

Two more children followed : Sean in 1965 and Patrick in 1968.

Darrell spent the next 30 years teaching ceramics at Fort Hays State University, before retiring in 1994. He had a special talent as a teacher and many of his students thought of him as an admired mentor and an important influence on them.

He created sculptures in an abstract expressionist style, using combinations of simple forms and natural textures, where the clayness of the object was always evident. He showed his work in many exhibits throughout the Midwest and Rockies.

Always the defender of the arts he was one of the founders of the first city arts councils in the country and worked tirelessly while dragging his children along to develop the Hays Arts Council. This included the council's decision to buy the old Hays Daily News building on East 11th Street and convert it into an arts center. In order to raise money he was heavily involved in the fundraisers of haunted houses that were created in the building before it was transformed into the gallery and shops it is now known for.

He had a knack for conversation and was always lagging behind somewhere talking to someone. He could and did strike up a conversation with anyone and was always interested in people. He genuinely liked everyone he met. But he could also take up the battle and fight for the causes he believed in against those that did not share his vision.

He will be remembered by his family for the yearly August vacations taken in a cabin in Green Mountain Falls, Colorado. The cabin was rented from his friends the Gwynns starting in 1968 by trading them sculptures for a week's stay in the mountains. With John Denver records, squeal games, puzzles, bologna gravy and grilled steaks, the yearly time together brought the family close and gave them many wonderful memories. Darrell and Grace bought the cabin in 1986 and the family still goes there every summer, fifty odd years later.

He had many lifelong friends and stayed in contact with him. He was particularly close to his sister Connie, throughout their lives. He had weekly breakfast with the retired art faculty, including Kathleen Kuchar, Mick Jilg, Joyce and Cal Mahon, John Thorns, and Jim and Sue Hinkhouse among others.

He is survived by his wife, Grace of Hays, his daughter Erin Hughes and her husband David, of Hays, his son Collin and his wife Maria of Maize, Kansas, his son Sean and his husband Stphane Lescoules of Paris, France and his son Patrick and his wife Penny, of Hays. He was much loved by his grandchildren, Martin, Megan, Jeremy, Jessica, Hannah, Anthony, Shelby, Sydney, Emily, Josh, Aubrey, and Andrew and by his great-grandchildren : John, Ada, Ally, Evelyn, Lincoln, and Liam.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ivan and Frances, his brothers, Don and Larry and a son Martin.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 9:30 AM Friday, September 4, 2020 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Hays. Burial will follow in St. Joseph's Cemetery.

Visitation will be Thursday from 5 PM 8 PM with a combined rosary and parish vigil service at 7 PM at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 215 West 13th Street Hays, Kansas 67601.

Due to the corona virus if you have a cough, fever or are not feeling well, please use our e-mail or on line guestbook. Social distancing and wearing masks will be required at the visitation and are suggested at the funeral service.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Darrell and Grace McGinnis Memorial Scholarship at FHSU.

Condolences may be left by guest book at or by email at

Arrangements in care of Brock's-Keithley Funeral Chapel and Crematory, 2509 Vine Street Hays, Kansas 67601.


Visitation Thursday

September 3, 2020

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM

St Joseph s Catholic Church

Combined rosary and vigil service Thursday

September 3, 2020

7:00 PM

St Joseph s Catholic Church

Mass of Christian Burial Friday

September 4, 2020

9:30 AM

St. Joseph s Catholic Church (Hays)

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Darrell Mcginnis, please visit our flower store.


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