Donald Earl Sheriff

Military graveside service with full military honors, for Donald Earl Sheriff, 94, Lawrence, will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, September 10, 2021 at Leavenworth National Cemetery in Leavenworth, KS. A Celebration of Life will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 3, 2021 at Meadowlark Estates – 4430 Bauer Farm Drive in Lawrence. Donald passed away Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at his home.

Don was born on April 10, 1927, to William “Earl” and Kay Malott Sheriff, in Hamilton, Ohio. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in June 1944. Don retired as a regular USAF Major in July 1967. Later, he retired from Trans-World Air Lines. He graduated from Hamilton High, University of Nebraska, Omaha, USAF Navigation School, and the USAF Command and Staff College. His USAF rating was Senior Navigator

He married Darlene M. Kulhman on October 12, 1950 in Fort Collins, CO. They spent 17 years of their married life in the Air Force. Upon retirement, they moved to Darlene’s parents farm where they built a two-story log house. They enjoyed 68 years of married life together.

Don was a life-member of Lawrence Breakfast Optimist Club. He served as Kansas District Optimist Governor in 1974 and Kansas District Secretary-Treasurer in 1978. He received the Optimist International Key Man of the Year Award in 1970. He was the first Kansas District Past Governor to receive the Optimist International “Christian Larson” Award.

He was a life-member of the Dorsey-Liberty Post 14, American Legion; of the 40 & 8 Voiture 762. Kansas City, KS; of the Disabled American Veterans; of the Jayhawk Chapter, Military Officers Association of America; of the 301st Bomb Wing Association; of the Air Force Navigators-Observers Association. He was a past member of the Kansas Easter Seal Board of Directors; a Boy Scout Master in Hamilton, OH; Nome, Alaska, and Fort Collins, CO. He served 15 years on the Fort Leavenworth Retiree Council, and 10 years as Treasurer, Rural Water District 10, Leavenworth County.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Darlene, his oldest son, R. Earl Sheriff, his brother, James Sheriff, his sister, Bonnie Brown, and his parents Earl and Kay Sheriff.

Survivors include his two daughters, Kathy Lathrom, Boston, MA, Melanie Proctor, Lawrence, KS; and a son, Howard Sheriff, Aurora, CO; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

The family suggests memorial in Don’s name to the Optimist International Foundation or the General Clay Comfort Scholarship Fund at Kansas University Alumni Association and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

1 Condolence

  1. Helen "Hendle" Pendleton Rumbaut on August 27, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    I was so sorry to hear of Don Sheriff’s passing. He was an old friend and fellow Optimist of my late father, William Pendleton. Don and I exchanged letters, emails, photos, and reminiscences in the past months that were precious to both of us. After he suffered a recent fall, he no longer had the strength to correspond. Chemo also made him very fatigued. His departure makes me so sad and I will miss his friendship, but I am comforted in the knowledge that he was a fellow Christian and is now in the joyful presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Be like Don. The ultimate act of Optimism is putting your faith in Christ. My deepest condolences to all of Don’s family and friends.



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