Donald Bertram Kingsbury was born in Reinbeck, Iowa on August 4, 1924 to Paul and Alta (Wignall) Kingsbury. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family, on March 27, 2015 (90 years, 7 months and 23 days) at the Legacy Lodge in Chariton.
He moved to Chariton early in life when his parents relocated to start Kingsbury Grocery. After graduating from Chariton High School in 1941 he joined the U.S. Navy in a ceremony with 16 men on the Chariton town square on the 4th of July, 1942. Their memories are recorded forever on a memorial rock that Don commissioned near his final resting place in the Chariton cemetery.
After his boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois he advanced to Signalman Second Class and spent three years at sea during World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater of War on four different ships. He reminisced more than once that he should have kept a diary of all the islands that he visited in the South Pacific, but they were not allowed to do that…and he obeyed!
He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy on December 22, 1945. Since then he has flown the U.S. flag daily and was once noted by the editor of the Chariton Herald-Patriot as “the most patriotic person I have ever known”.
On June 3, 1951 he was married to Joan Stansbery at the First Baptist Church in Chariton.
Don learned to play the trumpet in 1936 and played with the American Legion Junior Band along with many local bands and ending with the Iowa Military Veterans Band (he learned to play the trumpet again, left-handed, after a stroke in 2004 prevented use of his right hand). He also played Taps at many funerals locally.
After his naval service, he returned to Chariton to work at several jobs including the Chariton Newspapers and serving two terms as Lucas County Treasurer. He later entered the insurance business on his own and nearly 50 years ago on April 1st, 1965 he and Mahlon Laing started L&K Insurance Agency. He retired in 1986 to continue some of his lifelong travels with Joan, especially loving the island of Maui where they met a host of new friends. He loved to note that after Uncle Sam paid for his first trip to Hawaii, he got to pay for several dozen more flights to the Aloha state after that!
One of his later trips he described as one of the best days of his life—the first Honor Flight out of Des Moines to Washington D.C. to see the World War II memorial.
In addition to the American Legion, he was also a 60 year plus member of Za-Ga-Zig and Lucas County Shrine, Chariton Lodge #63, and First Baptist Church.
Don is survived by his wife Joan, his son Bruce (Melissa) and grandsons Curran and Ryan.
Also by in-laws Jane Stansbery, Janet & Marvin Cottrell, Audrey McKnight, Lucille & Dick Young, Don Snodgrass and Karen Stansbery, plus many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his son Kevin, his brother Paul and in-laws Darlene Kingsbury, Daryl & Edna Stansbery, Cliff & Lorraine Stansbery, Marjorie & Bill Bingham, Gerald Stansbery, Keith & Margaret Stansbery, Ed & Beverly Westfall, Marilyn Snodgrass and Dick Stansbery.
If he were able, Don would love to say ‘Mahalo’ to everyone for their thoughts and prayers.