Ernie's family requests that all COVID precautions
are practiced, wear a mask or face covering
and social distance when possible.
Funeral Service
11:00 a.m. Monday, January 4, 2021
St. Luke Lutheran Church
Wheaton, Kansas
1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 3, 2021
St. Luke Lutheran Church
(there is no formal visitation with the family)
St. Luke Lutheran-North

Ernest O. Haefner, Jr.

Ernest Otto Haefner, 88, of Wheaton, Kansas, died Sunday, December 27, 2020, at Onaga Health and Rehab.  He was a long-time member of the community.


Ernie was born on October 17, 1932, in Blaine, Kansas, the son of Ernest and Ruth Paxton Haefner.  He attended Wheaton schools and graduated from Wheaton High School in 1950.  Ernie served in the United States Army during the Korean War. He then graduated in 1961 from Kansas State University with a degree in Agriculture and Applied Science.


Ernie worked for six years for Gulf Oil Spencer Fertilizer.  He then worked for thirteen years for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Ernie then began working for the Soil Conservation Service NRCS and retired as a District Conservationist.  After his retirement, he did crop adjusting part-time for a rain and hail insurance company. In the years between Gulf Oil and Goodyear, Ernie broke, trained, bred, and raced quarter horses.


Ernie was an avid and savvy pitch player and enjoyed card games with a local group of men.  He enjoyed woodworking and built many pieces of furniture. He also enjoyed hunting pheasant, quail and deer, and horse racing.  Ernie was accomplished at sign language for the deaf and was often called upon to do translating. He was a member of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and the American Legion.  He was a member of St. Luke Lutheran Church and served as Sunday School Superintendent with his wife for several years.  But one of Ernie’s passions was Kansas State Sports. Words cannot express how much Ernie enjoyed tailgating at KSU football games from 1989 through 2005. The entire family was involved and many relationships were formed with other tailgaters at those games.  Ernie and Nila also enjoyed traveling to KSU Football bowl games; no matter where the location was.  When the grandkids were young, they seldom missed a KSU women’s basketball game with Grandpa and Grandma.


Ernie married Nila Elaine Kufahl on June 2, 1957, in Wheaton.  She preceded him in death on November 7, 2019.


Ernie is survived by his children; Curtis Haefner (Lori), Wheaton, Kari Kufahl (Randy), Wheaton, and Kevin Haefner (Lisa), DeSoto; six grandchildren, Lindsey Barnes (Andy), Wheaton, Garret Kufahl (Abbie), Overland Park, Mitchell Kufahl (Jocelyn), Salina, Erika Kufahl, St. Louis, Missouri, Megan Blow (Dustin), Wheaton, and Ellyson Smith, Kansas City; four great-grandchildren, Elliot, Jenner, and Beckham Barnes, and Stanton Kufahl; five step-grandchildren and seven step-great-grandchildren.  Ernie was preceded in death by his parents; and a brother, Rudy Haefner, and sister, Dora Davin.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am, Monday, January 4, 2021, at St. Luke Lutheran Church.  Burial with military honors will be in the St. Luke Lutheran North Cemetery.  Ernie will lie-in-state, on Sunday, at the Church from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm.  The family suggests memorial contributions to the Kansas School for the Deaf, and those may be sent in care of Campanella-Kufahl Funeral Home.  Online condolences may be made at

© 2019 by Campanella Family Funeral Home.