Cover photo for Donald A. Ubben's Obituary
Donald A. Ubben Profile Photo

Donald A. Ubben

March 25, 1931 — February 21, 2022

Donald A. Ubben, 90, of Blue Rapids, KS, died February 21, 2022, at Blue Valley Nursing Home in Blue Rapids. Visitation was Friday, February 25, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Kinsley Mortuary in Marysville. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. A funeral service was held at 2 p.m., Saturday, February 26, at Kinsley Mortuary in Marysville. Pastor Berniece Ludlum officiated. The honorary pallbearers were Greg Ubben, Jeff Ubben, Jason Hammett, Shawn McIntyre, Jim Flower, Terry Gunn, Ron Hinkle and George Callison. Private burial will be in Prospect Hill Cemetery. Don was born March 25, 1931, on a farm a few miles east of Oketo, KS, to Ubbo Wilhelm and Jesse Mildred (Dolen) Ubben. He attended country school at Whiteway School and Gallup School before attending Blue Rapids grade school and graduated from Blue Rapids High School in 1948. After graduating he worked for the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railway before enlisting in the U.S. Navy on March 13, 1952. After the Navy, he attended Kansas State University for two years, majoring in Electrical Engineering. During this time, he married Barbara Johnson of Blue Rapids in 1955. To this union one daughter was born, Jacqueline Ubben. They later divorced. After leaving college, Don returned to Santa Fe Railway as a communication electrician. He had a goal to work for Boeing, so he moved to Seattle, Washington, where he had friends living. Don was hired at Boeing in Seattle, where he started out as an experimental electronic technician. Not long after, Don met Barbara Dixon who also coincidentally worked at Boeing. Don was offered a transfer to the NASA Minuteman Missile project at Cape Canaveral in Florida which hastened their plans to get married, which they did shortly before moving to Florida. After a few years working in data acquisition for Boeing, Don was transferred to Boeing in Seattle, where he moved with his family. He worked in the micro-electronics lab, building prototypes, fixtures, and jigs for the lunar orbital satellite. In 1966, in order to keep the family farm going, they moved back to Blue Rapids. He worked for Georgia Pacific as an Assistant Plant Engineer for 2 years, helping with the farm on the side. He left that position to farm the family farm on the east side of the Big Blue River until retiring. Don was a member of the Eagle Lodge in Topeka, the American Legion, the Masonic Temple where he served as Master of the Lodge for 2 terms, and then Past Master, and was very proficient at giving work lectures and charges and funeral oration. When he was young, he loved scuba diving off the coast of Florida, Puget Sound, and off the Grand Bahamas. He loved camping, taking his family and mobile home on memorable trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton parks and to the Kansas and Nebraska State fairs. After the family moved back to the family farm north of Blue Rapids, he started raising and selling peafowl (peacocks, hens), and other birds, including “Grumpy” the buzzard, who he hatched from an egg. Don enjoyed showing them off to visitors that would come to the farm to see the menagerie. Don even rescued a fawn from the edge of a field and bottle fed it, letting it hang around the farm until adulthood. On Christmas Day, 1977, Don was pulling a tree out of a ravine for firewood and his tractor kicked out of gear and overturned on him. He was fortunate to survive, spending three months in hospitals recovering. He was an avid morel mushroom hunter. In his older years, he enjoyed working on family genealogy, fishing in the Big Blue River, doing crossword and sudoku puzzles, and gardening. Don learned how to read and write German at the age of 50 to correspond with several German relatives. He researched all his father’s and mother’s family back to the 4th generation. If you were around Don much, you likely heard him recite the Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll or talk to you in German. He always had a good memory and enjoyed memorizing poems and entertaining friends and family with them. He was President of the Marshall County Historical Society for two terms. He walked and recorded all the gravesites in Prospect Hill, Fairmont, Greenwood, Saville, and Thompson Cemeteries, entering the data into a spreadsheet which was contributed to the Marshall County Historical Society and Blue Rapids Historical Society. He transcribed three different histories of Marshall County and local towns from newspaper clippings: on John W. McPherson - one of the first colonists that came to Blue Rapids, William F Boyington, a previous Marshall County coroner, and Franklin G. Adams - who gave a good history of Waterville and Blue Rapids, and who eventually ended up working for the Kansas State Historical Society. These booklets can currently be purchased from the Blue Rapids Historical Society. About 10 years ago, for the Blue Rapids Library, he took the entire card file, which was about 30 pounds at that time and computerized it into spreadsheets, which we believe are still used by them today. Don was a caring man, always offering to help others in need, inviting visiting friends to stay the night or to join him for a meal. He dearly loved his family, and valued the times he spent with his wife, children and later his grandchildren camping, fishing, and hunting mushrooms. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Arlene Schmidt. Survivors include his wife, Barbara; children, Jacqueline Mankin, Topeka, Teresa (Steve) Hammett, Marysville, Greg (Susan) Ubben, Laurel, Maryland, and Todd Ubben, Manhattan, KS; and two grandchildren, Jason (Shannen) Hammett and Dustin (Caitlin) Hammett. A memorial fund has been established to the Marshall County Historical Society. Contributions may be sent in care of Kinsley Mortuary. Video of funeral for Donald Ubben To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald A. Ubben, please visit our flower store.



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