NU Online News Service, Nov. 9, 2004, 7:04 p.m. EST

The head of a Midwestern life insurance dynasty has passed away.[@@]

Joseph Bixby, chairman of Kansas City Life Insurance Company, Kansas City, Mo., died Monday, the company says.

Bixby, who was 79, was the grandson of J.B. Reynolds, who served as president of Kansas City Life from 1904 to 1937.

Joseph Bixby’s father, W.E. Bixby Sr., was president of Kansas City Life from 1939 to 1964, and Bixby’s nephew, R. Philip Bixby, is the current president of Kansas City Life.

Joseph Bixby began working as a clerk at Kansas City Life in 1941, when he was 16.

He left the company to serve in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1944 to 1946, then returned to the company in 1946 and began working his way up through the company’s agency department.

Bixby served as president of Kansas City Life from 1964 to 1990, and he was elected chairman of the company in October 1972.

Bixby was a past director of the Heart of America United Way Campaign and past trustee of the University of Kansas City. He also was a past member of the membership committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.