Donald Laird Atwell, age 74, passed on to his heavenly home on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, while he was at St. Luke’s North Hospital due to multiple medical issues following a heart attack the previous month.
Don was born on August 9, 1946 in Kansas City, MO, where he was a lifelong resident. He grew up in the Westport area where he attended the Elementary Schools of Kansas City and graduated from Westport High School in 1964. He was a member of the Honor Society and participated in various extra-curricular activities, including football.
After graduation, he attended the University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) where he received the Victor Wilson Scholarship. He was a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity and served as Secretary from 1965 – 1968. He was also a member of the Program Committee for the Student Board and participated in UMKC intramural athletics for the fraternity. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History.
Don then enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1968 and went to Texas for basic training at Lackland AFB. Thereafter, he was sent to Wichita Falls AFB in Texas for medical helper and pharmaceutical training. He was ultimately stationed at Eglin AFB in Florida and became a Staff Sergeant. He was honorably discharged in 1972.
Following his military service, Don attended UMKC Pharmacy School from 1973 – 1975. He was employed as a student pharmacist by St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City from 1973 – 1976. He concurrently obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1974.
Don’s pharmacy background led him to the position of pharmaceutical Purchasing Agent at Farmland Industries, Inc. His purchasing positions and duties changed throughout the years to facilities and fleet operations. During his tenure at Farmland from 1976 – 1996, Don was nominated to be included in Who’s Who in American Business.
In 1996, Don was offered a purchasing position as a Negotiator for Sprint. The company and the Purchasing Department went through various mergers, spin-offs, sales and acquisitions causing Don to subsequently be employed by Sprint Nextel, Embarq, CenturyTel and CenturyLink. He received his Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) lifetime certification in 1997. His retirement from CenturyLink in November 2015 capped thirty-nine years in the purchasing field.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Herbert and Elizabeth Atwell, infant brother Herbert Atwell and brother Kenneth Atwell.
Don was deeply loved by his entire family: Konnee, his wife of 32 years, his daughter, Melody (Jeff) Salyer, daughter-by-marriage Kristin (Jay) McConnell, son-by-marriage Jarrod (Kerrie) See and grandchildren Elizabeth, Jack, Levi, Alyssa, Dylan and Shawn.
He leaves behind many family members, friends, former co-workers and fraternity brothers. Oh, the stories that could be told. Don was a gentle man with great underlying strength and a happy and cheerful spirit. He was a family man who very much loved and supported his family in all that they undertook. He had a great sense of humor and kept his workplace light by surprising his co-workers with fun practical jokes. His work ethic was very strong and he rarely ended his workday at eight hours. He literally walked to work one night in the snow to get to his one-time supplemental job. On weekends he found enjoyment working in the yard, planting flowers, attending entertainment, arts and dining activities with his wife, watching sports games and attending family events. He had a great sense of responsibility for upkeep of their home and cars and all things needed to keep life running smoothly.
Don was a member of King of Kings Lutheran Church, where he served our Lord over the years as usher extraordinaire on two usher teams, coffee committee member, choir member and other various activities. Don shared the paintings of the life of Christ and the large wood-carved triptych that were done by his grandfather with the church where they continue to be displayed.
It is an understatement to say that Don - husband, dad and grandpa - will be missed immeasurably by us, as there is now an empty chair at our table and an empty space in our hearts. But we are so thankful for Don’s life with us here on earth and take great comfort in the knowledge of God’s abounding love for us and His promise of the gift of eternal life in heaven where we shall meet again.
Memorial contributions may be made to King of Kings Lutheran Church or to a favorite charity in his honor should anyone desire to do so.
A private funeral service will be held at King of Kings Lutheran Church, followed by burial at Leavenworth National Cemetery. The funeral service will be available to view on Monday, March 8th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. via live stream/recording at the following link;
Terrace Park - https://event.forgetmenotceremonies.com/ceremony?c=ca7e1ba6-778b-402d-8e76-587c1549e820
King of Kings - https://vimeo.com/518756560/c31d121062