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Donald Eugene Aitken, born on June 13, 1926, in Caney, Kansas to James Eugene Aitken and Clara Ella (Wall) Aitken, entered God’s eternal kingdom on April 14, 2023, at the age of 96, in Overland Park, Kansas. Don married Dana Marjorie (Rader) Aitken in the sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church in Independence, KS on December 30, 1951, and would have celebrated 71 years of marriage when Dana passed away on December 29, 2022, at the age of 90.
Surviving Don are his three children, Doug, Phil (Sara), and Cheryl (Ted); six grandchildren, Spencer and Trevor Aitken, Erin (Michael) Brearley, Brian Aitken, Caitlin (Jeff) Neneman, and Meggie (Richard) Olalde; and four great-grandchildren, Eleanor and Adelaide Brearley, and Elise and Wesley Neneman.
Don attended Independence High School, graduating in 1944. After high school, he served two years in the United States Navy, training Chinese nationals on how to repair radio, sonar, and radar equipment and was honorably discharged in 1946. After the service, he graduated from Independence Community College, and then attended the University of Kansas, graduating in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While at KU, Don tried out for the men’s basketball team, coached by Phog Allen. He is pictured in the 1949 team photo, which is displayed in The Booth Family Hall of Athletics museum in Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Don was a dedicated member of the Independence community, serving in various positions, such as the President of the Chamber of Commerce Board, Vice Chairman, and then Chairman of the Independence First Federal Savings and Loan Board of Directors for 30 years, and a member of the Independence Community College Board of Trustees for 17 years, where he served as Chairman of the Board when the current college was built. Don was also active in the Lions Club, and later, the Rotary Club of Independence.
Early in his business career, Don worked for Electra Manufacturing Company as a purchasing manager. When Electra management transferred the company to Kansas City, Kansas, Don accepted a position with City Publishing Company, where he spent 29 years as a business manager and General Manager before retiring December 31, 1996. While at City Publishing, Don was President of the International Association of Cross Reference Directories for two terms.
Faith and family were the two most important aspects of Don’s life. He and his wife, Dana, were lifelong members of the First United Methodist Church, where Don was a dedicated member, teaching many high school and adult Sunday School classes over the years. Don served as Chairman of the Council on Ministries, the Evangelism Work Area, and the Administrative Board, and served on numerous church committees. Don served two three-year terms as Lay Leader and was a member of the church choir for 50 years, readily admitting that he could “not hold a candle” to Dana when it came to singing.
Don’s greatest joy was spending time with Dana, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He will always be remembered for his humble nature, quiet generosity, sense of humor, and steady faith. After the loss of Dana, Don was a source of strength for his family, continually expressing his love for each one. His family is so grateful for his life, his love, and the example he set as a faithful servant of Christ.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at the First United Methodist Church in Independence, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Don’s name to the First United Methodist Church of Independence, 200 S Pennsylvania Ave, Independence, KS 67301.
Saturday, April 22, 2023
Starts at 1:00pm (Central time)
First United Methodist Church
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