Dr Donald Earl “Don” Hufford

Dr Donald Earl “Don” Hufford

Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas, USA
Death 27 Sep 2016 (aged 86)
Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, USA
Burial Cremated, Specifically: Ashes kept by his family.
Memorial ID 170768435 · View Source
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On September 27, 2016, Donald Earl Hufford, age 86, passed away at the home he shared with his daughter, Tara Hufford Walker, and his son-in-law, Mark Walker. Don was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 50 years, Eva Lee "Evie" Nelson Hufford, who passed away in the same room (the bedroom they shared) in 2002. Don was also survived by his son, Scott Hufford, of Beverly MA, and his son Brian Hufford, of Rye NY, and 11 grandchildren, Adam, Alex, Ashley, Austen, Axel, Alec, Allison, Andrew, Amanda, Amber and Ayden.

Don was born on October 29, 1929, in Kansas City KS to Leslie Earl Hufford and Viola Victoria Kier Hufford. A graduate of Wyandotte High School, Don was the Kansas High School State Champion in the pole vault. Don graduated from Baker University in Baldwin KS where he lettered in football, basketball, and track, and met the love of his life, Evie.

Don did graduate work at Southern Methodist in Dallas TX, and then at Boston University. While in Boston, Don worked as a director at Morgan Memorial Youth and Children's Center in Boston's then-notorious South End. Don fondly remembered a one-on-one basketball game he played with the leader of the "Scorpions," for that game opened the door to encouraging the group to get off the streets and into an organized program, and led to their changing their name from the deadly "Scorpions" to the "Majestics." Amazingly, until his death Don maintained contact with young men from those Boston days, men now in their 70s.

Don and Evie had their first two children, Tara and Scott, in Boston, before returning to Kansas in 1958, where their youngest son, Brian, was born. After two years at Methodist Youthville in Newton, Don was hired to be the founding Executive Director of Youthville at Dodge City, a residential treatment center for adolescent boys, where he served for nearly 30 years and Evie was a teacher. Don and Evie had a tremendous impact on hundreds of boys during their tenure at Youthville, serving as critical role models.

After "retiring" from Youthville, Don and Evie did post graduate work at the University of Kansas, and Don earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education, with his published dissertation entitled Polarity Thinking in the Educational Philosophy of W.E.B. Du Bois. Youthville subsequently named Don and Evie's former residence on the Youthville campus the "Hufford House," where it continues to support the lives of young people.

For 24 years, until his final retirement in December of 2014, Don was a Professor of Education at Newman University in Wichita. When Don joined the faculty at the age of 61, he was the oldest professor at the University. He remained so until he retired at the age of 85. Don was selected as the Kansas Newman Professor of the Year for 1999-2000, and throughout his tenure was recognized for his tremendous ability to connect with his students. He had a profound impact on those he taught over the years to become effective teachers themselves. The School of Education at Newman University has dedicated rooms to Don and Evie in McNeill Hall, the Evie Hufford Education Resource Laboratory, dedicated in 2003, and the Don Hufford Conference Room, dedicated in 2016.

Don was a prolific writer and published in numerous journals and made presentations at professional societies and associations throughout the country. In 2004-05, Don received the Presentation and Publication Award from the University to recognize his widespread contributions to the educational literature. Among other things, he served as President of the Missouri Valley Philosophy of Education Society in 2001; President of the Society of the Philosophy and History of Education in 2008; was the Keynote Speaker for the 2009 Drake Lecture for the Educational Foundations Society; and was as an Honorary Coach for the Kansas Newman Women's Basketball team in February 2009 at the request of one of his students, who was a team member.

As Don was preparing to retire for the final time, the Society of the Philosophy and History of Education dedicated its 2014 Journal to him. After detailing Don's lengthy and meaningful career, the Dedication summarized his impact on education, stating: "He is a kind, thoughtful, and thinking man with experiences few educators have to bring to their teaching and scholarship. He has tread where few have had the courage and passion to pass and yet remains positive, affirming, and relentlessly adamant that education improves individual lives and society at large."

After Evie passed away in 2002, Don made it his mission to ensure that his grandchildren never forgot her. He spoke of her often and in detail and wrote about her in every birthday and holiday card. The grandchildren were fortunate to hear hundreds of stories and to see thousands of photos of the life he and Evie built together. They were the model of what marriage and parenthood could and should be, and proof that marriage is more than just love, but also hard work, courage, trust, compassion, and faith in one another.

After Evie’s passing, he lived every day in her honor, with a need to learn and to teach. He urged his children and grandchildren to, quoting Evie, "keep becoming." He liked to bike (going on long bike rides until he was 84), to watch old black and white television shows, to listen to music, to read and discuss philosophy, and to write. Mostly though, he loved his Evie.

Don left us peacefully and ready to be reunited with the love of his life, surrounded by his children, and in the home he had shared with his wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, a fitting death for a man who lived his life quietly and in the service of others. We miss you, Dad and Grandpa, but know you are finally whole and home with Evie once again. We promise we’ll keep becoming.

Family Members


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  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Donald Earl “Don” Hufford (29 Oct 1929–27 Sep 2016), Find a Grave Memorial no. 170768435, ; Maintained by dscott (contributor 47242970) Cremated, who reports a Ashes kept by his family..