Donald R. Dibben, 83, Junction City, KS, passed away Sunday, March 22, 2020 at Good Shepherd Hospice House in Manhattan, KS. A private family graveside service has taken place. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 pm., Saturday, September 26, 2020 at the First United Methodist Church with Pastor Dirk Weiss officiating. Memorial contributions may be given to the Great Plains Theatre, 215 N. Campbell St., Abilene, KS 67410
Donald Dibben was the first of four children born to Norman and Bernice (Mickey) Dibben. Don got started on February 8, 1937. He lived in Geary County his entire life.
During his life, Don used 525,600 minutes a year. That’s a lot of sunrises, sunsets and plenty of cups of coffee. If you knew Don very well, you know there were lots of cups of coffee. He used those minutes to make a lifetime of memories - for himself, his family and those that crossed his path.
Growing up Don had plenty of farming and learning experiences in his younger years. Don lived on several different farms while growing up in Geary County. His children heard the stories many times of riding a horse to school in the dead of winter. When the story ended with a big smile, we really never knew if it happened, or it was just a good story. Don shared many of those experiences with his children and grandchildren. Giving a talk in public to the 4-H club or the FFA chapter (yes, the blue jacket is still in the closet) is something that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren continue, just as Don had done while growing up.
A lifetime event that was etched in Don’s mind with startling clarity was how he and his parents coped with the 1951 flood at their farmstead just north of what is now Grandview Plaza. Many times his boys were told where the old river channel was, where the water came across, where the new channel cut thru, and the escape from the house by boat, leaving most belongings behind. Fortunately, the water in that house did not rise as high as the top bunk on Don’s bed. A few more inches of water and Don’s prized Marlin .22 rifle would have been a casualty of the flood.
After high school Don suddenly took an interest in driving to Emporia almost every weekend. It wasn’t that he was going to college in Emporia, but rather he had an interest in one of the students, specifically Joleen Staatz. That courtship put a lot of miles on Don’s car. A wedding followed in 1958. It was a beginning full of dreams and excitement. A new house was found, and a sympathetic banker believed the newlyweds could make the $100 payment per month. And they did, every month until it was paid.
Don worked at a few places before landing a job at the Junction City Police Department. Don met people from all walks of life during his time on the force. In later years, he related many stories about patrol duty on East 9th Street that provided a different perspective for those that listened. One job led to another and Don found himself employed by Central National Bank. While at Central National, Don visited business after business in Junction City, explaining why it would be a good idea to accept a newfangled idea called a Visa card. While he can’t take credit for the use of Visa across the country, while at Central National Bank, he was definitely at the front end of promoting an idea that everyone takes for granted today.
Don always wanted to be a farmer. Planting a large garden was about as close as it came. Planting 100 pounds of potatoes was quite an undertaking. However, all three of his boys cheered when the four bottom plow was used to dig the potatoes. A lot of food was grown in that garden for the Dibben family.
Don’s last job was at Waters Hardware where he spent about 20 years. He came to work with a smile on his face and was always quick with a joke for customers and co-workers. There is no doubt that he was appreciated by the many customers he helped. Seldom does someone talk about Don without a reference to a time he helped them find something in the hardware store. He was quite adept at figuring out what that do-hickey, or that whatchamacallit actually was and finding it on the shelf at the surprise of a customer.
We could go on and on about summer vacations, yearly camping trips with the Better Builders Sunday school class, fishing with bank lines on Lyons Creek, playing cards with friends, teaching his sons the difference between a square knot and a granny knot, attending 4-H activities, going to ball game after ball game with sons, grandkids and great-grandkids, school programs, dance recitals, and more. You get the picture. Don did a lot of things, taught his boys a lot of things, and helped a lot of other people in life.
And in between all of these things Don found time to be a member of Kiwanis for just shy of 56 years, be active in First United Methodist church as an usher, working the sound system, multiple committees, United Methodist Men and other organizations along the way.
All those minutes, in all those years, are now just memories, memories that all of us have a piece of. All of us have a story about Don, his great smile, his easy going nature and his willingness to help others. The text message and emails that have poured in have had a similar theme, and the words “Don was one of the good guys” has been repeated many, many times. We believe that. And if you have met Don, then you probably believe it also.
Well done, Don.
Those still here to relive these and other memories are Don’s wife of 61 years, Joleen Dibben, sons, Monte Dibben (Becky) of Junction City, Mark Dibben (Lynn) of Melbourne, Florida, Daughter in Law Cheryl Dibben, of Wakefield, brother Craig (Susan) Dibben of Junction City, eight grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, along with nephews, nieces and numerous cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Matt Dibben.