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.