OBITUARY: Donald ‘Don’ William Gibbens

Our loving father, Donald “Don” William Gibbens of Newton, passed away on April 20, 2022, at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., at the age of 72. He was born in Newton, Kan., on July 30, 1949, to William Earl Gibbens and Lillie Adger Franklin. Don was the third generation of the Gibbens family to be born in Newton. He was the youngest of two children; his parents were also guardians of his Uncle Butch (David), so they grew up like brothers. He spent his childhood working on cars with his dad, especially Mopars! Don grew up in Newton and graduated from Newton High School in 1968. Don married Carol Eda Auernheimer in Hesston, Kan., on March 25, 1972. Don and Carol were blessed with three sons, Scot, Jason and Allan. They would later divorce.

Throughout his working career, he held several positions working at Koehn and Associates as a mechanic and maintenance man, a school bus driver for USD-373 and worked at The Newton Kansan part time. In the 1990s, he was the supervisor of the Railroad Taxi Service for Santa Fe Railroad (now BNSF) at the Newton Rail Yard. He also did janitorial work at Hesston Middle School and later worked for Kaye Electric before retiring in 2012.

He loved model railroading, having received his first Lionel train set at the age of 5. For eight years, Don and his friend, Angie Smith, set up a train display for the Chisholm Trail Festival in Athletic Park. In his retirement years, he worked on and repaired computers and had a houseful of pets!

Don is survived by his ex-wife, Carol Gaeta of Newton; three sons, Scot and Crystal Gibbens of North Newton, Jason Gibbens of Moorefield, W.Va., and Allan Gibbens of Newton; and a sister, Dorothy Bryant of Temple, Texas.

He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents and uncle, Butch (David) Gibbens.

Anyone who wishes to attend is welcome; please dress casual. Per his request, Don will be laid to rest in jeans and a t-shirt. Don’s family would like everyone to celebrate his life and share the wonderful memories of his life.

Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 28, with family greeting friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at Petersen Funeral Home 215 N. Main, Newton. A graveside service will be at 2 p.m. April 29 at Greenwood Cemetery, Newton, with a late lunch to follow at Hillside Community Church, 431 W. 12th (12th and Elm), Newton.

Memorials can be made to Caring Hands Humane Society in care of Petersen’s Funeral Home.


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