Donald “Don” LeRoy Whitebread, known to some as “Sharp,” of Junction City, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
Born in Marysville, Kansas on December 3, 1927, Don was the oldest of three sons born to Cleo and Irma (Sipple) Whitebread. His parents later divorced and the boys were primarily raised by their single mother during the depths of the depression. Don’s early schooling was in Marysville, the intermediate years in Kansas City, MO and Independence, MO. He lived with his brother in McCune Boy’s Home from 1939-1941. Don returned to Marysville to live with his grandparents for high school. He graduated from Marysville High School in 1946.
After high school, Don’s adventurous spirit took him to California, but his Midwest roots quickly brought him back to Kansas City where he went to Radio School. Don worked in radio from the late 40’s through early 1970. In 1957, while working at KJCK Radio, Don met Florence York, who also worked for the station. They were married in November of 1958.
Mixed in with his radio career were odd jobs, including a lengthy stint at LaShalle’s Shoe Store. In 1973, Don began his career with United States Postal Service as a rural carrier. He retired from the postal service in January 1993.
In his spare time and well into his retirement, Don found pride in a huge garden, his collection of vinyl records, and his antique cars. However, Don’s greatest passion beyond his wife and family was his love of music and the theatre. Throughout his life, Don played drums in a number of Dixieland Bands or Jazz Combos---most notably the Skytones---and the Junction City Community Band. He also directed or performed in over fifty musicals and plays at the Junction City Little Theatre. He and Florence continued their love of music and theatrics in period shows for the Geary County Historical Society as well as various church and community events.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Florence (York); 3 children, Donald (Donnie), Junction City, Cleion Morton and her husband Mike, Wamego, and Crystal Mai, Lawrence. He was blessed with seven grandchildren---Angela, Daniel, Levi (Amanda), Claira, Sadie, Allie (Matt), and Katelin (Brett). And, he was doubly blessed with eight great grandchildren---Abygail, Irelynne, Kacelynn, Bella, Lily, Harrison, Brantley and Kinsley-who he delighted with silliness and shenanigans.
A Celebration and Remembrance of Don’s life will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Johnson Funeral Home, 203 N. Washington, Junction City, KS. Burial will be in Good Hope Cemetery, west of Junction City. The family will greet friends on Friday, May 17th, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m, at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions in memory of Don may be made to Friends of Animals, or the First Baptist Church, Junction City, KS.