Videos & Speeches

I also wish to speak this evening about a Kansan who recently died and pay tribute to his life. My tribute this evening is to Don Concannon. Don Concannon of Hugoton, KS, is an example of a life I admire and respect so much. He exemplifies so much the folks from my home State of Kansas. It is a tribute to the folks at home who get so involved in their local communities. They volunteer at school. They serve on their church board. They get involved in public service. Kansans are always looking for ways to improve the lives of those around them, their friends and neighbors and people they don’t even know. One of those Kansans is our former Republican Party State chairman, Don Concannon. We have lost a great man, a strong advocate and a dedicated public servant when Don recently passed away.

Don grew up on a farm in southwest Kansas and graduated from Garden City High School in 1945. Early on in life, Don began serving our country when he joined the U.S. Navy and fought in the South Pacific during WWII. After the war, Don graduated from Washburn Law School in 1952 and moved to Hugoton to practice law. It didn't take long for him to get involved in his new community because one month after his arrival, Don was elected Stevens County Attorney and went on to serve the county for four years in that role. That same year, Don married Patricia June Davis and spent the next 49 years by her side before her passing in 2001. Don later re-married his wife of the past ten years, Sharon Collins.

As a young man, Don became interested in politics and at the age of 32, Don was elected Chairman of the Kansas Young Republican Federation. The following year, Don served as Chairman of the Kansas Presidential Electors for the presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Then, from 1968-1970, Don served as the Chair of the Kansas Republican Party. His zeal for politics never faded and kept him involved for many years--chairing committees in support of his favorite candidates. He even put his name on the ballot one year for Governor but fell short by just 530 votes in the primary.

As a long-time Kansas resident, Don was well known and respected by many throughout our state, but especially in Southwest Kansas. He was a strong advocate for rural Kansas and the special way of life we enjoy in small communities across our state. Through his service on several committees focused on the future of rural Kansas, Don helped make certain the next generation can return to the towns and communities they call home. From his participation in Kansas politics to his public service career, Don was always looking for ways to serve his fellow Kansans and improve their lives. In recognition of that service, Don was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Washburn Law School in 2010.

His family and friends described him as someone whose generosity, enthusiasm, and overall optimism towards life touched the lives of so many. It has been said that Don had the character of “one in a million,” and that he did not “just participate in life, but made life happen.” Don had the unique ability to connect with just about anyone, but he was especially revered by his family and friends who looked up to him in many ways. Don lived each day to its fullest and his commitment to his fellow man serves as an inspiration.

I extend my heartfelt sympathies to his wife, Sharon, his son, Craig, his daughter, Debra, and his many grandchildren. I know they loved him dearly and will miss him greatly. I ask my colleagues and all Kansans to remember the Concannon family in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.