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Don Whitman

Mike Smith

Donald R. Whitman

Donald R. Whitman, 76, of Kansas City, Mo., passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 17, at Hospice House after a nine-month battle with brain and lung cancer. He will be missed by the many people throughout the world whose lives he touched with humor and kindness. Don was born October 6, 1931, in Buffalo, Mo., and graduated from Buffalo High School in 1949. He served in the United States Air Force and was stationed in the Marshall Islands in weather reconnaissance for Operation Ivy, the detonation of the first hydrogen bomb. He studied meteorology and earth science at Washington State University in Seattle and the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he received his degree. His career was in meteorology with the National Weather Service. In 1975 he was honored as a Silver Medal Award Winner by the United States Department of Commerce. At that time he was the Assistant Director for Meteorology and Management at the Technical Training Center of the National Weather Service in Kansas City, Mo. Don was cited as being the driving force behind the training program, which resulted in a substantial increase in technical competence and a dramatic improvement in the morale and dedication of field personnel. Don was quite sensitive to the handicapped and minorities and was a strong proponent of programs to aid these people. The special technical courses that he developed for Alaskan natives and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Scientific Upward Mobility Program were highly successful. Don developed an interest in Cornwall, one of six Celtic nations, and traveled to Cornwall twice in the last decade. He has been the editor of the Greater Kansas City Cornish Society Newsletter since its inception, available online at (www.greaterkccornishsociety.com). He was an activist for justice, fairness, equality, and preservation of Celtic heritage. On April 16, the day before his death, the Cornish American Heritage Society nominated Don for the first Founding Members' Award for foresight, initiative and dedication in support of Cornwall and the greater Celtic family in the United States. He was preceded in death by his father, Ray Whitman, his stepfather, Elzie Faucett, and his sister Nancy Sue Hombs and his wife Polly. He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Roberts, his mother, Lillian, his daughter Kathi, his granddaughter Jessica, and his extensive step family: Jennifer and Jeff French of Santa Monica, Calif., Alex and Azar Freeburne of Olathe, Joy and Lee Kimzey of Overland Park, Jill and Mike Davis of Overland Park and grandchildren Ellen, Emily, Sarah, Whitney, Dylan, Spencer, Alyssa, Arianna and Amber. He is also survived by numerous cousins and friends from his church and Sunday School class, the Greater Kansas City Cornish Society, his Brookside neighborhood, the National Weather Service and Atomic Veterans. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23, at Central United Methodist Church, 5144 Oak St., Kansas City, MO 64112. A visitation will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. prior to the service. Contributions may be made to Kansas City Hospice. Cremation. (Arr.: Park Lawn Funeral Home, 816-523-1234)
Published in the Kansas City Star on 4/20/2008

Don was an outstanding person and meteorologist. He helped found the National Weather Service's training center in Kansas City. He will be sorely missed.