Donald Vernon Friend was born June 26, 1924 in Charles City, Iowa to Bert Elmer Friend and Josephine Wilhelmina Cook. He was the oldest of three boys. He quit high school after the Japanese Bombed Pearl Harbor and joined the Army Air Corp at the age of 18. He did not wait to be drafted, but thought it his duty to serve his country. He served for 4 years as a propeller specialist and then returned to Charles City to finish high school. He married Jean Francis Bunn in 1947 and they relocated to Wichita, Ks so Don could put his military training to work at Boeing. They had four children, Katherine Kay, James Edward, Max Allen and Dan Carl. In 1965 his wife Jean died in childbirth and he was left to raise their four children. He met and married Bernice Esther Klassen in September of 1967 and had two more children, Dean Robert and Bernice Ann.
Don worked as a flight line mechanic. His love for beekeeping soon developed into a full time job and he opened a business in Norwich, Ks where the family resided. When most of his bee hives ended up in the beautiful Gyp Hills of Barber Co, the family moved to Medicine Lodge in 1976. In 1980 heart problems forced him to sell his bees as it required much heavy lifting and long hot hours in the sun. Later that year he and Bernice moved to Bentley, Ks and then on to Newton where he resided until Bernice’s health was failing and they returned to Medicine Lodge to be close to Ann. One of the first things he wanted to do upon his return to Medicine Lodge was take a ride down the Gyp Hill Road, fondly recalling all the placed he had bees and enjoying the beauty of the area he loved so much. Always hoping to see dear, antelope, jack rabbits or any wildlife and making Ann “slow down” so he could get a good view.
Don loved to fish and did so up until about a month before his passing. He loved taking his grandchildren, nieces and nephews fishing. On a nice day, residents of Medicine Lodge would see him out on his scooter with his tackle box and poles tied to the front making a beeline for the lake, binoculars and bird book in his basket in case he saw a bird. Fishing was not Don’s only passion. He loved the Lord and served him by pastoring several churches in Kansas and Oklahoma during his life time He always had a Bible Study going wherever they lived. Upon returning to Medicine Lodge he held a Bible Study after lunch at the Leisure Center and was quick to make new friends and reconnect with former friends. He was always excited to tell how many attended the Bible study and prayed he could touch someone’s life by teaching them about the Bible. That is what truly keep him going. His amazing faith in God brought him through the loss of his parents, brothers Bob & Bert, half-brother Albert and half-sister Bess, two wives, Jean & Bernice, 5 children, James, Max, Kathy, Danny,& Dean, and 1 grandchild Philip Fagan. He is survived by his daughter Ann, sister in law Gail Friend, 12 grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
Brighten your day.
Funeral service will be 10:00 a.m., Friday January 27, 2017 in the Fireside Room at Grace Community Church in Newton, Kansas with Pastor David Reimer presiding. Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday evening with the family receiving friends from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Petersen Funeral Home. Burial will be in Springfield Cemetery North of Goessel Kansas in Rural Marion County, Kansas.
Memorials are suggested to Salvation Army in care of Petersen Funeral Home.