Personal History

Small Town Roots. 4th Generation Kansan!

John R. Eplee is a 4th generation Kansan. He was born and raised in Fredonia. His great-grandfather homesteaded the original farm near Altamont, and his father was a local merchant, hog farmer and an agri-business entrepreneur in the alfalfa dehydration business.

John grew up raising hogs and custom-cutting alfalfa fields. He graduated from Fredonia High School, where he served as senior class president. John went on to attend Kansas State University, earning a degree in pre-medical sciences and graduating summa cum laude. While at Kansas State, he was a member of Delta Upsilon Fraternity and served as president his senior year.

Educational Background

Upon graduation, John was accepted and attended medical school at the University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City. Three years later, upon graduation, he developed a keen interest in family medicine. He was fortunate enough to immediately match with St. Joseph’s Family Practice (now Via Christi), and completed a three-year family medicine residency in 1981. During his senior year, he received the Robert A. Reiderer, M.D. award, which is awarded to the outstanding family medicine resident.

Professional Medical Practice

After completing his residency, John and his wife, Debbie, whom he met while delivering a baby at the KU Center on OB, where she worked; considered a number of locations and decided Northeast Kansas was the right spot to set up his practice. He’s practiced continuously in Family Medicine for over 40 years and was the founding physician of the Troy Clinic, which continues to operate today under the auspices of Atchison Hospital.

John has served in every capacity at Atchison Hospital, including chief of staff, a position he held three times. He participated in deliveries of more than 1,600 babies but stopped several years ago to catch up on his sleep.

During his career, John has held every one of the offices in the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians, culminating as president in 1992. He continued as a delegate to the national meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians for the next four years, and he was also Chairman of the National Committee on Rural Health in 1995.

Family and Fun

John and Debbie have three grown children all of whom attended public school in Atchison. They are especially proud grandparents of four grandsons. 

Commitment to Community


He is a former member of the USD 409 school board and a member of the Atchison Rotary Club. He is a faithful member of the Presbyterian Church for over 40 years.

John is a lifelong Republican and in 2016, he was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives on behalf of District 63, which includes Atchison and Doniphan counties. He was re-elected in 2018, 2020 and 2022.