Donald “Don” Ralph Ward passed away peacefully at Neosho Memorial Regional Center Wednesday, March 7, 2012 comforted by his children and grandchildren at his side.
Don was born the second child of Timothy O. and Cora Kiker Ward on May 7, 1932 in Chanute.
He attended Chanute schools and graduated from Chanute High in 1951. There, he met and fell in love with a young beautiful woman who he married in 1952, Shirley Stover.
From this union, they had four children;¬†Kenneth Alan, David Lewis, Neil Boyd, and Dee Ann. They lost Neil to illness at the age of two. They later divorced in 1973.
Don was always an entrepreneur.¬†He had his own paper route as a teen and worked at the Chanute Tribune with his father after school. Early in his carrier, he managed Western Auto Store in downtown Chanute.¬†He then moved his young family to Lexington, Mo., where he opened a furniture store and a laundry mat. He then moved to Kansas City in 1965 where he opened another furniture store and went to night school to learn television repair. After he completed his studies, he moved his family back to Chanute where he opened his own television repair and sales on Main Street. He built a shop in the carriage house beside the home and built his business up eventually adding another shop on the frontage of Lincoln Street.
In 1974, he married his soul mate, Francis L. Ikehorn. who survives of the home. They started a small used furniture in the same shop of the television repair on Lincoln.¬†It grew with their hard work, love, and determination and eventually bought the Montgomery Ward building on Main and moved their business there. They truly enjoyed working together as partners, going to the Furniture Mart in Dallas, going to furniture auctions and having close-out sales in nearby towns.¬†You would never see one without the other. They were very successful selling new furnishing and, during a time, beanie babies.¬†They said people were lined up down the street to buy the new beanie babies.
In 1998 they retired and closed the store. He continued to sell used autos from the location on Lincoln until he was forced to move the business a block away due to the new Lincoln bridge project. He continued to go to the auto auctions, which he loved until he could not longer stand all day. He was always a very industrious man, fixing the plumbing, making a sidewalk, repairing a roof, making gates….always improving on something.
Don was a kind and wonderful man who was greatly loved and will be missed by all. He loved animals of all kinds, taking care of any stray cat he would find.¬† He loved collecting dog figurines and would enjoy taking Fran to various antique and flea markets to find them.
He is survived by his wife, Francis; son, Kenneth and wife, Barbara, Bonner Springs, son David and wife, Judy, Chanute, daughter Dee Bondan and husband, David Fehr, Chanute, stepdaughter Sharon Phillips and husband, Steve, Olathe, stepson Randy Ikehorn and wife, Johnna, Wichita, stepdaughter Carol Anderson, Chanute, stepdaughter Patty Olson, Chanute, two grandchildren, six stepgrandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a baby sister, child Neil, and son-in-law John Bondan.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13 at Penwell-Gabel Johnson Chapel. Burial will follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.
The family will receive friends on Monday, March 12, from 6 until 8 p.m. at the Penwell-Gabel Johnson Chapel.
Memorials in his name may be made to the American Cancer Society and may be left with the funeral home.
Penwell-Gabel Johnson Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
To leave a special message for the family on-line, visit www.PenwellGabelChanute.com