Donald Duane 'Don' Willson 1941 - 2011 Lawrence
A memorial celebration of life visitation for Donald Duane “Don” Willson, 70, Lawrence, will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home and Crematory.
Mr. Willson died Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, of heart failure at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
He was born Aug. 21, 1941, in Hoisington, the son of Lawrence and Pearle Thoman Willson.
Mr. Willson attended schools in Hoisington and Ellinwood, and graduated from Winfield High School in 1959. He later graduated from Southwestern College in Winfield in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in math education. He went on to earn his first master’s degree in mathematics from Pittsburg State University in 1971 and a second master’s in school administration from Wichita State University.
Mr. Willson spent 45 years as a public school educator in Kansas and Colorado. He taught math for many years in Newton and Lawrence, as well as Washburn University and Ottawa University. Mr. Willson was an assistant principal, athletic director, principal and assistant school superintendent, eventually retiring as superintendent of schools in Concordia. After retiring, he taught math at Free State High School. He was a member of Rotary Club, a Paul Harris fellow, member of the Elks Club, and served as president of the National Association of Athletic Directors from 1978-79. He was a former head high school and college football coach, and a high school wrestling coach. He was an avid 30-year Canadian fisherman, enjoyed traveling adventures and 14 cruise vacations, and was an avid Kansas University Jayhawk fan.
He married Carol Otto in 1964, and together they had three children. He later married Gay Gregg in 1982. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include three children, Sheri Burge and husband Chris, Overland Park, Debbi Croxton, Kansas City, Mo., and Brad Willson and wife Lesley, Overland Park; two brothers, Wayne, Weatherford, Okla., and Garrell, Loveland, Colo.; and 14 grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and grandparents Lorena and Clyde Thoman and Ida and Floyd Willson.
Because Mr. Willson was a child polio survivor, the family suggests memorials to the Rotary International Polio Plus Program, sent in care of the funeral home, 601 Ind., Lawrence, KS, 66044.
Online condolences may be sent at rumsey-yost.com.