In Loving Memory of Ronald Deffenbaugh, Sr of Deffenbaugh Industries


Ronald Deffenbaugh, Sr

Company: Deffenbaugh Industries

Years of Service: 50+

Comments: Ronald D. Deffenbaugh, Sr
1941 – 2014
Well-known businessman and philanthropist Ronald D. Deffenbaugh, Sr. died on August 28, 2014. He was 73. Ron built one of the largest waste management companies in the country starting with a single trash truck at the age of 15. His passing resulted from complications after an accident that left him a quadriplegic in June of 2007. Ron was born on a farm near Versailles, Mo., on June 7, 1941. He emerged from a humble beginning to become one of the great Kansas City financial success stories. The small company he started as a teenager grew to become a national waste management company providing services to most of the cities in the Kansas City area as well as Oklahoma City, Omaha, St. Joseph, Topeka and Wichita. In addition to the waste management business he also owned and operated a rock quarry business that provided materials for many areas roads and building projects, including KCI, Bartle Hall, Kauffman Stadium and The Kansas Speedway. He also started a curbside recycling company, a medical waste company and Johnny-on-the-Spot. Ron had an exceptionally strong work ethic and demanded the same from his employees. He would arrive at work at 5 a.m. each morning to be present when all of the drivers prepared to start their trash route. He had great affection for his employees and earned their loyalty, and they felt the same way about him. Many of his employees were with his company throughout their entire working careers and considered Ron a true friend. One of the policies he established that led to the success of his company was the “three people to a truck” rule ensuring that employees worked together as a team and were able to complete their jobs in a timely manner that pleased not only the customers but the employees. Ron was a very private person and a man of his word. Many of his business transactions were based on a handshake. His tough nature and outside appearance hid the fact that he was a very loving and caring person for not only people but animals. He often would carry one of his beloved Yorkies around with him, sometimes in his pocket. Although he contributed to many charitable and philanthropic causes, he customarily did it anonymously. He was more interested in helping others than gaining publicity. His generosity will benefit many in the future including Johnson County families who visit Shawnee Town 1929 outdoor museum interpreting small town farm life in the 1920’s. Ron made a substantial donation to the park which resulted in further development of the family attraction. Additionally, Ron established a foundation to aid in the research of spinal injuries. Rather than be a victim to his condition, Ron actively sought to make a difference for those with similar injuries by establishing and funding the Spinal Cord Injury Repair Program at The University of Kansas Medical Center. “This program supports cutting edge research using microcomputers to bridge spinal connections interrupted by the injury, and to generate new nerve cells to repair the injured tissue. Through Mr. Deffenbaugh’s vision and generosity, KUMC has made rapid progress toward improving outcomes in patients with this devastating condition,” said Peter G. Smith, Ph.D., Spinal Cord Injury Repair Program Professor, University of Kansas Medical Center. Ron also wanted to thank the doctors and staff at the Craig Hospital in Denver, Colo. He was treated there following his accident in Kansas City. Craig Hospital is a world-renowned rehabilitation hospital that exclusively specializes in the neuro- rehabilitation and research of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Upon his return to Kansas City, he assembled a wonderful medical team that created a nurturing home environment allowing Ron to live with a substantial quality of life while providing exceptional medical care for more than six years. Ron was fortunate to remain in his home and appreciated the care given to him by his supportive staff. Ron is survived by his sons, Ronald D. Deffenbaugh, Jr. and Robert D. Deffenbaugh. Additional family members include his six grandchildren; his brother, Donald Deffenbaugh of Hermitage, Mo.; and sister, Marjorie Ann Reed of Kansas City, Mo., and two former wives, Karen and Beverly. He was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Christine (Tassy) Deffenbaugh; his parents, Harry D. Deffenbaugh, Sr. and Alta Marie Bonine Deffenbaugh; and brothers, Bob Deffenbaugh and Harry Deffenbaugh, Jr. There will be a private funeral. Contributions in Ron’s memory may be made to: Spinal Cord Injury Repair Program, c/o Kansas University Endowment Association, 4125 Rainbow Blvd., Suite 300, Kansas City, KS 66103; or Shawnee Town 1929, 11110 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, KS 66203. – See more at:

We will not forget you, Ronald Deffenbaugh, Sr.

Together, let’s honor the memory of the men and women who have served by our side. Whether on the garbage trucks, delivering portable sanitation units, or working in the offices and repair shops, the employees of our industry serve important roles and are very special people. As we remember this fallen hero of the waste industry, we join with their family and co-workers to honor their service.

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