The Waste Industry Has Lost A Legend – Mr. Deffenbaugh Sr.

RON D. DEFFENBAUGH Sr. 1941 – 2014

The waste industry has lost a legend with the passing of Mr. Deffenbaugh Sr.
-John Arwood-

Read more here:
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.

Published in Kansas City Star from Aug. 30 to Aug. 31, 2014
– See more at:

Read more here:


Johnson County businessman Ronald D. Deffenbaugh Sr., who built one of the largest waste management companies in the country, died Thursday. He was 73.

Deffenbaugh’s death was attributed to complications related to a 2007 accident that left him a quadriplegic at age 66.

Deffenbaugh sold Deffenbaugh Industries that same year to a private equity firm for an unpublished price that industry observers estimated at $300 million to $350 million.

The company he started with one truck now provides commercial and residential waste disposal, recycling and portable toilet services in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa. It also operates a 1,000-acre landfill in Shawnee.

Deffenbaugh also owned and operated a rock quarry that provided material for many Kansas City area buildings and road projects.

His accident, a fall from a hospital X-ray table, resulted in a broken neck. He filed a lawsuit in 2008 against Shawnee Mission Medical Center, which was settled for undisclosed terms in late 2009.

Deffenbaugh’s longtime pastor and friend, Phil Kreiling, said he had handled his injuries “better than anyone expected” until his condition declined in the last year.

Kreiling said he visited Deffenbaugh two or three times a week in the custom-built home that Deffenbaugh had built adjacent to the landfill. He had medical staff with him around the clock and took pleasure in looking out over the property, Kreiling said.

After his injury, Deffenbaugh funded the Spinal Cord Injury Repair Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Read more here:

2 thoughts on “The Waste Industry Has Lost A Legend – Mr. Deffenbaugh Sr.”

Leave a Comment