Wallace W. “Rocky” Welton, of Abilene, KS, passed away on July 4, 2020 at the age of 83. He was born June 27, 1937 in North Little Rock, Arkansas to Harold Welton and Geraldine (Sweeten) Walls.

Rocky attended schools in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Salina, Kansas. He graduated in 1955 from Salina High School. Rocky graduated from Kansas Wesleyan University in 1959 with a degree in history and physical education.

He was a multiple All-KCAC football award winner and a member of the KWU Athletic Hall of Fame.

He married Phyllis Duff on August 22, 1959 in Salina, KS. They began their married life in Liberal, KS, where he was tossed in as a last minute replacement as head wrestling coach. He began his love affair with the sport.

Rocky continued his coaching career in Oakley, KS, Clay Center, KS, Goodland, KS and Garden City, KS. While coaching in Goodland he led his teams to three state team titles and Kansas’ first four time individual state championship. His tenure in Garden City resulted in six team championships and many individual placers.

Rocky had a duel record of 268-91-12, 30 individual state champions and 166 overall state placers. He would comment, his greatest accomplishment as a coach was having former wrestlers become coaches and, more importantly, good men.

He was founding member of the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association. Following his retirement he was inducted into the KWCA Hall of Fame, National Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame, the KSHSAA Hall of Fame and recently the Garden City High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Garden City High School also honored Rocky by naming their annual wrestling tournament the Rocky Welton Invitational.

He is preceded in death by his father, mother, stepfather Edwin Walls, sister Judy McMahon and brothers-in-law Sammy and Gary Duff.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years Phyllis and daughters Shawn (Rob) Lowe, Nancy Kelly (Richard Perkins), Meriam (Tate) Thompson and Heather (Kevin) Unruh, 14 grandchildren and many sons.

A Celebration of life service will be announced at a later date. Memorials may be sent to Dickinson County Hospice or the Alzheimer’s Association.

To leave an online condolence visit www.ryanmortuary.com

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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