Deffenbaugh founder passes away - KCTV5

Deffenbaugh founder passes away

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Well-known businessman and philanthropist Ronald D. Deffenbaugh Sr. died Thursday. He was 73.

Deffenbaugh 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 he received in June 2007 that left him a quadriplegic.

His company provided trash pickup services to most of the cities in the Kansas City area as well as Oklahoma City, Omaha, St. Joseph, Topeka and Wichita, employing nearly two thousand people.

Deffenbaugh had made the decision to sell his company early in the spring of 2007 prior to his accident. The company was sold in December 2007. A successful entrepreneur, he also owned and operated a rock quarry business that provided materials for many area roads and building projects including KCI, Bartle Hall, Kauffman Stadium and The Kansas Speedway.

In addition, he started a curbside recycling company, a medical waste company and Johnny-on-the-Spot.

Deffenbaugh had a strong work ethic arriving at 5 a.m. each day 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 Deffenbaugh a true friend. One of the policies he instituted 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.

Although he contributed to many charitable and philanthropic causes, he customarily did it anonymously. One of his generous donations included a substantial contribution to the further development of Shawnee Town 1929 which is an outdoor museum interpreting small town, farm life in the 1920s. His generosity will benefit many Johnson County families in the future.

Additionally, Deffenbaugh established a foundation to aid in the research of spinal injuries. Rather than be a victim to his condition, Deffenbaugh 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 at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Contributions in Ron Deffenbaugh's memory can 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 662033

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