William (Bill) Earl Claflin


William (Bill) Earl Claflin, 92, of Atchison, Kansas, passed away peacefully on September 26, 2019. Bill was born on February 19, 1927 to Edwin and Marguerite in Horton, KS. Bill attended college at Ottawa University and graduated in 1950. He loved to play football and was later inducted into the Ottawa Football Hall of Fame.

While in college, he married Martha (Underwood) Claflin in 1948. He started his career in Kansas City, and eventually settled in Hays, KS, with their family. Bill taught science at Fort Hays State University in Hays for 20 years. Upon retirement, Bill and Martha moved to Atchison, KS, and became active in volunteer work.

Bill attended church at the Atchison United Methodist Church and was very involved with the local Habitat for Humanity and other volunteer activities. Bill believed in helping others and sharing the love he had found with Martha. During the Vietnam War, he and Martha sponsored four Vietnamese refugee children. These children, and later their families, became a part of the Claflin family. Bill’s grandchildren knew him as “Papa”, and he was always quick with a joke or to offer a tractor ride.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Martha Claflin. Survivors include children: David Claflin, Chris Claflin (Katherine), Susan Claflin, and Kathy Bergmann (Grant); honorary children Tam Ta (Asha), Duc Ta, Mam Nguyen (Oahn), and Benny Dang; many grandchildren, and one great-grandson

No services are planned at this time. The family requests donations be made to your local Habitat for Humanity in Bill’s honor.


  1. Eric Knapp on March 2, 2020 at 8:28 am

    He was a hilarious old goat
    I loved watching him interact with all his food friends 🙂

  2. Eric Underwood on November 22, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    “Uncle Bill” was an amazing man, full of life, love, wisdom, and humor. I have great memories visiting him and Aunt Martha as a kid with my family, and the banter between them and my grandparents . They were awesome people and set quite an example for their family and extended family. One of my favorite memories of Uncle Bill was when he was attending one of my HS freshman football games and he picked me up by the shoulder pads as I walked in at half time to tell me good job. I weighed a buck forty then but he was still strong as an ox well into his older years! Quite a guy and he will be missed dearly.

  3. Nancy Vogel on October 13, 2019 at 8:58 am


    We missed you (and Martha) at the 40th anniversary of Plymouth School on campus at Fort Hays State University. My condolences to your family.


  4. Anne Pruett on October 10, 2019 at 11:21 pm

    Rest in peace good friend. Always happy to see him walk into the restaurant and then teasing ensued.

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