Donald Lee Flory, 75, of Baldwin City Kansas, passed peacefully from this life into eternity on April 25, 2020, in his home. He lived courageously while managing prostate cancer for 14 years. Despite the unknowns of this disease, he greeted each day with optimism.
Don was born on November 8, 1944, in Lawrence, Ks, the first of four sons, to Harold and Mary (Kinzie) Flory. On November 29, 1969, he married Kathleen Sue Denlinger of New Carlisle, OH. Because of his commitment to Jesus Christ, he publicly professed his faith and was baptized in September, 1974. Don served his church in various capacities and enjoyed the rich blessings and fellowship of the Old German Baptist Brethren Church.
Don attended Baldwin High School for two years before graduating from Lawrence High School in 1963. Late that same summer, while working the harvest in Modesto, California, the course of his life was changed; he was called back to Kansas following a farming accident that took his father’s life. Just a boy, he was thrust into the role of father figure to his three younger brothers and became the man of their home and family farm.
Don embraced this calling, and so began the depth of his character. He was a dairy farmer until 1983. He worked for Horizon Systems in Lawrence, Kansas, where he found his niche in metal fabrication and production management. He later used these skills as a founder of Sunflower Fabrication in Desoto, Ks. While he enjoyed this profession, perhaps he found his greatest satisfaction in managing and encouraging the shop employees, with whom he formed lasting friendships.
In 2001, Don became the Co-owner and President of Mobile-Envirowash, also in Lawrence. Excited to lead and be an owner, he invested energy into the business as an employer and salesman. He was also a dedicated vendor at the Lawrence Farmer’s Market for over 20 years and was well-known for his tasty sausage and biscuit sandwiches. Once again, lasting friendships were forged, this time with his customers and fellow vendors. His enthusiasm for this endeavor was fueled by his desire to connect with people. Through this platform he served many, from the wealthy to the homeless.
Don loved his Kansas grandsons and his California granddaughters to the fullest, taking the boys to pancakes every Wednesday before school and making trips to California to spend time with the girls. He waited in hospital waiting rooms for the birth of each grandchild and made his first and only international journey to China to welcome his oldest granddaughter into our family.
Don enjoyed horses and horsepower, the wind at his face, and the scenery of a ride. Farm life seemed to be the perfect canvas for him to sketch out a life of meaningful relationships and warm hospitality. He welcomed friends and strangers alike, taking them on horse rides and buggy rides and sharing his big heart and warm smile with each one. He lived on the family farm for 72 years, until health and age developed the need to sell the farm and move to town. Don was talented, artistic and innovative. Often, if there was something he needed for his cooker or for life on the farm, he would just make it. His energy and work ethic were summed up in this often used phrase “Let’s get ‘er done.” Sometimes he was quiet, other times witty and funny. His priorities never wavered and were always in this order: His God, his family, his friends, all before himself.
Don will be remembered for his Godly character, and his steadfast faith and trust in Jesus Christ. He never became bitter or held grudges; he just did the next right thing. He trusted God with his life and the life of his family. He lived intentionally, and often was a father to the fatherless. It was never showy but instead, always genuine and humble.
Preceding him in death are his parents; his brother, Eldon; an infant granddaughter, Caroline Hope Carr; and an infant grandson, Henry Mortenson. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Kathy; along with 3 daughters; Kristin and Loren Thompson of Modesto, California, Kelly and Pete Carr of Baldwin City, Kansas, and Katie and Dustin Mortenson of Baldwin City, Kansas; six grandchildren, Emi and Everly Thompson, Caleb, Cooper and Spencer Carr, and Hudson Mortenson; two brothers, Ralph (Sarar) Flory of Beijing, China, and Merle (Judith) Flory of Chiang Mai, Thailand; Sister-in-law Cheryl (Mike) Flory and many close cousins, nieces, nephews and relatives.
The immensity of our gratitude for who he was and what he stood for can not be adequately expressed. Our last week with him, caring for him as he outwardly faded away, was our greatest privilege. Moment by moment to the very last, the hand of God’s mercy was displayed. A visitation will be at Rumsey Funeral Home on Thursday, April 30. Friends may call between 9:00AM and 8:00PM. A graveside service will be held at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Lawrence, Ks on Friday, May 1 at 10:00 AM. Memorials may be made to Lamb Services, Inc. P.O.Box 1050, Ceres, CA 95307- Mission/Outreach Fund.
Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.
Messages & Condolences
To Kathy and the entire Flory Family…
I knew Don for too short of time! As you know, after 110 years, Don and I finally connected the two branches of the family tree and went on that motorcycle adventure – wind in our faces (as the wonder obit outlined) – to discover that long lost and abandoned railroad bridge that our Grandfathers and kin went over in 1907 on their Indianapolis, IN to Denver, CO historic motorcycle trip!
It was, without doubt, the BEST motorcycle ride I had ever been on and likely always will be on given the history, family, and Don’s pleasant and humorous personality. I will remember and treasure it always…
While briefly staying in Lawrence with Don (before this motorcycle trip), I was truly struck at how many people knew and obviously valued Don Flory! (Frankly, it seemed like EVERYBODY in Lawrence knew him…). Maybe it’s a Kansas thing…but I believe it had more to do with Don’s GOODNESS. An increasingly rare commodity in today’s society is always remembered by people. I know I will remember it.
Bless Don Flory and his life…and may he be truly worthy before our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope to again see him one day after my passing…
Kathy, Kristin, Kelly and Katie, I’m so very sad to have just learned of Don’s passing. I’m sending you a big tight warm hug over the internet! At a very special time in my life you guys were a big part of my world. I miss driving out to the farm, riding Alex, playing with Alicent, and watching the girls grow up. Those memories are very close to my heart. Don taught me how to properly saddle my horse, and safely ride my horse. I loved watching him teach, I think it was cinnamon?, how to pull a travois. My heart goes out to all of you. Don was very special. Carey
Praise the Lord for a life well lived! We pray God’s comfort and strength as you rejoice in his home-going and grieve your loss! So thankful you have the hope of joining him! God bless you all!
We are so sorry for your loss but know this: Heaven is peaceful beyond description and Don’s in good hands now.
My condolences to Kathy and family. I remember a lot of Saturday mornings where Don would help me set up at the Farmers Market. He was such a kind and generous man and he will be missed.
Dear Kathy and family,
We want you to know that you are in our prayers.
For many years, Don was the highlight of my trips to the Lawrence farmers market. I loved his brats; but, I enjoyed my visits with him even more. He brought positive energy to the market and his upbeat personality was always appreciated. He will be missed.
May the Holy Spirit comfort and encourage you through these messages and other expressions of God’s love. We were blessed to know Don and Kathy through our attendance at the Bill Gothard’s Basic Youth Conflict Seminars in KC during the latter 70’s. We even went to each other’s churches to build the bond of love between us. Of course, we saw Don and Mrs. Flory (we think Don’s mother) at the Farmer’s market. Bless be the tie (being brothers and sisters in Christ) that binds our heart in Christian love.
Kathy, Kristin, Kelly & Katie, Our hearts are sad with Don’s passing, but rejoice he is with his Savior, Jesus. He will be missed by all. He was truly a beacon of God’s light to everyone. Love & prayers to you and your families.
Dear Kathy and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. I have many fond memories of Don growing up and whenever he would see you he was so happy to stop and visit always asking about my families well being
I mourn with you and wish you to know my thoughts and prayers will be with you through these next days and weeks.
Grateful the knowledge that you will see him again!
Donita Bouton and family
Dear Kathy, Kristin, Kelly, Katie and families,
we send our heartfelt sympathy to all of you. It was a privilege to have known Don all of my life and also to be neighbors. He always made time to stop for a chat. We will have fond memories of Don going by our house, be it in his truck, on a bicycle or horse and buggy, and of course always with a wave and that big smile. He will be missed by all.
Kathy, Kristen, Kelly, Katie & family,
So sorry for your loss of a wonderful husband, dad, grandpa, brother and friend. We look back over life and being with your family is one of the bright refreshing memories! Don was quite a guy – so genuine with love for every one he met. It has been a true blessing having him and his four ladies for friends. Bless you all with God’s love, peace & comfort.
My husband Zack and I stopped by to get sausage biscuits on Saturday morning as much as possible. We always saw Don and even though we did not know him well he touched our lives in those brief moments. We are both so saddened to learn of his passing. We send condolences and prayers for the family at this sad time. Life is so enriched with those family, friends and acquaintances but even a brief conversation, a quick mention of the weather, a smile and a short moment of laughter made a difference to us. He touched so many lives as a steadfast part of this community at so many levels and that is the essence of a great man. We share your grief with much empathy because it was just short moments that we interacted but he made such an impact on us just for being himself that our tears flow with yours.
We are so sorry for your loss! Never saw Don without a smile on his face. He will be missed by many.
Dear Kathy, Kristen, Kelly, Katie and families, We are so sorry to hear of Don’s passing, We know what a huge comfort it is, the promise of our heavenly Father, to realize and understand that Don is in Heaven and safe forever. One thing we always appreciated about Don and, in fact your whole family, is that he never acted as if he did not know who you were. It was always a nod or a handshake and a smile. . Status and position did not matter in the least. His genuine friendliness and kindness will not be forgotten. Our love and prayers will be with you, Margaret and Janice Jarboe
We are so sorry for your loss! Our thoughts and prayers will be with you all during this difficult time.
We are so sad to hear of Don’s passing. We have many fond memories of your family. Don always made us feel so welcomed at the Flory farm! Our prayers are with Kathy and the girls, Ralph & Merle, Cheryl and Mike.
Kathy, Kristen, Kelly, Katie,
Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to you. Don was a quiet, salt-of-the-earth man. You are truly blest to call him husband and dad.
Terry & MaryAnn
Don was the kind of man that made every new acquaintance feel like a valued, “old” friend. He was a gem. He will be missed by us all but mostly by his dear family. You “Flory girls” were well loved. We are better people for having known such a gentleman and all around great man. Please accept our deepest sympathies.
Dear Flory Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. Don was such a wonderful man and I always enjoyed talking to him. He will be missed.
Dearest Flory Family I am saddened to hear that Uncle Don is gone. Joining with you to mourn his passing and rejoice over his life well lived.
Kathy, Kristen, Kelly, Katie, and family. We were sorry to hear of Don’s passing! We have special memories of all of you when we lived in Baldwin! Kristen and Angie were very special friends and enjoyed many good times and memories! Don was a special husband, father, and friend to many, and his strong faith that was shared with many! Our prayers and thoughts are with you and pray the special memories you shared will help to comfort you at this difficult time!
Kathy & Family–Don always held a special place in our heart. May the comfort of the Savior be with you. Do you suppose Don and his Dad are having a beautiful long chat? Blessings today and tomorrow.
Kathy and Girls ~ What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful soul!! Don was truly a ‘Giant’ of a man and had a personality to match! I always looked up to him as a little girl and enjoyed our visits as an adult. I am so very thankful he got to take the cross country trip on his bike. May God Bless each of you as you figure out how to move ahead without his earthly presence in your lives. His spirit lives on in many of us. Hold tight to your memories! R.I.P. Don!! 💙
Kathy, Kristin, Kelly, Katie: So very sorry for the loss of Don in this Life! We have many, many fond memories of Don living near us a couple years. His love and laughter will long be remembered! We do have a wonderful promise that we will see him again and enjoy rest with the Lord! We certainly wish we could be there to share in comforting your family! God bless and may His Spirit rest upon you and give you peace!!
Kathy and family,
So very sorry to hear of Don’s passing. He meant so much to so many. Am thinking of you all..
Kathy and Kristen, Kelly and Katie,
My sincerest condolences. My heart goes out to you. May you feel God’s comfort is my prayer. It is so hard to say goodbye to someone
who embraces life so completely. I know that you will see him again.
May God Bless you all now and in the days that lie ahead.
Janet Churchbaugh Grant
Dear Kathy, Kristin, Kelly, Katie and families-
Brenda & I are deeply saddened to learn of Don’s passing. As was so clearly expressed in his obituary, Don was a role model for all of us. EVERYONE respected Don Flory. His positive influence will live on in his family and the many other lives he touched. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and sympathies at this most difficult time.
Our deepest sympathy. Don was one of the good guys.
My family is so thankful to have known Don, and we’re holding the Flory family in our thoughts. My husband and I got to know Mr. Flory when our band played next to his stall at the Farmer’s Market for a few years. We would serenade him with Blue Moon of Kentucky, and he would feed us with sausage biscuits. My kids considered his sausage biscuits to be the key part of the Farmer’s Market, and he always had a moment to check in, talk about how fast they were growing, and talk about his grandkids. I know Blue Moon of Kentucky will always bring a smile, as I remember his laugh and kindness.
I will miss a good friend. I enjoyed going to harvest with him in the summer of 1961.
Dear Kathy, Kristin, Kelly and Katie — our deepest sympathies and love to your family at this difficult time. May you find comfort in your many fond memories shared throughout the years. Don will live on in your hearts forever.
We are so sorry to hear about Don’s passing, however, 14 years is a long time to fight a disease and a person can rejoice that he no longer suffers. We are selfish creatures and just want to hang on to what is familiar to us forever. God has provided a way for us to peacefully let go, knowing He has provided memories to remember a loved one by! Best of all God has a Home in Heaven provided for His Faithful and that gives hope of residing forever someday with our loved ones once again!!! May the Lord give you comfort and may you feel His strength as you walk through the next several days. May the Lord bless you!!!
Don was a wonderful man and friend. Our thoughts and prayers to Kathy and family, also to Ralph, Cheryl and Mike, and Merle. We would often bump in to each other around town and always talked and caught up on each other and had long talks. Will miss you Don. You always were entusiastic and upbeat. RIP my friend.
Kathy & family, our hearts & prayers are with you. Please know we are here for anything you might need, even just to talk any time. May God put His loving arms around you to comfort you & give you peace. 🙏
Being around Don, these past few months, I often heard him express his pride and love for “His Girls” or “My Girls” when referring to his daughters as well as his caring and love, for Kathy. His sincere expression of these feelings was quite honest. He will be well remembered and missed, by all who knew him. I am very happy that I knew him well. He made this world just a little better for the rest of us. May more of us, adopt a few of his very good qualities.
Kathy, Kristin, Kelly, Katie and family
So sorry to hear of the passing of Don. He was a wonderful man.
May he rest in the Lord’s arm.
You all will be in our prayers.
My heartfelt condolences to Kathy, and the Flory family during this time of sorrow. Don was truly the kindest person I have ever had the honor to know. I originally worked (Superior Elec) for Don at Horizon, then his Desoto venture and then Enviro Wash. The obit said it all, very nicely written. You’re in my thoughts and prayers!
Like my sister said, Betty Sander said I also have known the Flory for over 50 years. Our family made many trips to KS Don was always kind. He is healed and probably singing with the angels. Prayers to the entire family, may angels comfort you and give you peace.
What a loss for the ones who are mourning, but what a reward Don has been given!
I’ve known the Flory family for more than 50 years. He had a gift many wished for…
Rest In Peace, my friend.
To the family here on earth, know prayers will continue for your comfort!
Sorry to hear about Don passing will miss him at ROMEO rides,
What a great & talented guy Don was with the most wonderful family. So sorry to hear of passing.
Kathy’ Kristin’ Kelly and Katie’
So sorry to hear about your loss. I have many fond memories of your family and of Don selling those wonderful sausage biscuits at the market. He certainly will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Our condolences to Don’s family and community friends. When graduation from LHS lead us in our different ways We looked forward to getting together at class reunions. Don was an excellent return the fun of high school.
Very sorry to learn of Don’s passing. My condolences to his family and close friends; I knew Don in high school and always enjoyed his wit. He will be missed, I know.
Our deepest sympathy and prayers to the family. I met Don many years ago and began a friendship that I will truly miss. I will always remember and miss, that smile he had every single time I would see him. He will truly be missed.
Kathy, Kristin, Kelly & Katie
So So Sorry Y’all and the world lost a great man. The loss of a classmate, true friend & just a good ole’ Boy is heart breaking.
Please accept my deep sympathy. Prayers for You.
Dear Kathy, Kristin, Kelly and Katie—So very sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for your family. I am sending healing prayers to each of you. Hugs to all of you. Nurse Debbie
Kathy, Kristin, Kelly, Katie: Kay and I send our love and condolences. I so enjoyed Don’s spirit and was always glad to see him at the Saturday market. I have told Joanna about his death. I will hold all of you in my prayers.
We were sorry to learn of the news of Don’s passing. While he has gone he will not be forgotten! He was a special person and all of us here at the Mar Lan Construction family send along our thoughts and prayers to the family. i can’t think of a time that I did not see him smiling. Just a good ole boy!
My deepest sympathy for the loss of Don Flory. I worked with him for many years and have known him more. Such a tremendous loss. Always treasured his company, his humor, his laughter and his friendship. He is in God’s hands now and will be treasured in heaven as he was in our presence.
I have known Don from our Lawrence high school days. He was a joy to be around. My condolences to the family.
Don was the guy I could always talk horses with, he was full of great stories. He was always such an upbeat person and I very much enjoyed the time I got to know him.
I only met Don recently. He was a Lawrence icon and quite the character. He was able to complete his ‘bucket list’ recently with a major motorcycle trip. He’s another ‘end of an ‘era.
My deepest sympathy and prayers. Don was a wonderful caring person. We appreciated all the joy he brought to the residents at Presbyterian Manor.He will be missed. May God comfort you in your sorrow. Rev. Dottie Scholtz
We are so sorry for your loss. Don always had a smile for everyone. We have been blessed that our paths crossed as our children attended school together.
Don and his wife came by 1 year ago today to visit my dad and brother after loss of my nephew. Meant a lot to them. Classy. I’m sorry for your loss.
Very sorry to hear about Don. Super guy. Honored to have known him for many years! Know he is in a good place.
Don was deal high school friend. My sympathy to his family. He was a good man.
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