Don Shimkus, of Wichita, KS died August 31, 2021.
Donald Thomas Shimkus was born on July 6, 1966 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the eldest son of Thomas J. & Barbara F. (Boza) Shimkus. He had 2 younger twin siblings, Elizabeth Ann Shimkus & David M. Shimkus. Don grew up in South Holland, IL, graduated as valedictorian from McKinley Grade School and Jr. High and with high honors from Thornwood High School. He graduated from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL with his bachelor’s degree in music performance and obtained his master’s degree in music from Emporia State University, Emporia, KS.
Don married Keri Thomas in Oxford, KS and they had two sons together. Don and Keri later divorced. Don loved his family very much. His sons were the most important people to him. He enjoyed being part of what they loved to do whether it be playing sports, singing in the choir, or just hanging out. He eventually learned to love baseball because that’s where he could find his sons. Special memories were made traveling to baseball games of all levels.
Don was involved in music throughout his life, starting early on when his dad introduced him to jazz. He incorporated music into his career by restoring and selling musical instruments, teaching private lessons and performing. Sharing music with others was important to him.
As his sons started school, Don became interested in the school system and wanted to give his talents to help schools and students. Don spent 12 years on the Oxford School Board, devoting many hours and much energy to what became a passion. He was very involved in the Kansas Association of School Boards, eventually becoming President. Don truly valued the relationships he had with other people who shared his dedication to schools. His school board involvement led him to run for political office. Don pursued a seat in the Kansas State Senate. He lost the race, but met many wonderful people and enjoyed the experience.
Don is survived by his two sons, Ogden Shimkus of Wichita and Callen Shimkus of Manhattan, KS. He is also survived by his father, Thomas Shimkus of Largo, FL, his brother, David Shimkus of Belleair Bluffs, FL and sister, Elizabeth Ann Shimkus of Blue Island, IL. Also surviving are multiple nieces and nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends. Don’s mother, Barbara Shimkus, preceded him in death.
Cremation has taken place with a private memorial service to be scheduled at a later date. Although Don loved beautiful flowers, he would have encouraged people instead, to contribute funds to the Oxford High School Music Program to use in furthering and encouraging the musical experience of students. Donations should be sent to the Oxford Funeral Service – PO Box 123 Oxford, KS 67119.
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