Don Stratton, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, cousin, and friend, died Saturday morning, December 30, 2017, at home in the presence of his family. Born November 13, 1924 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Elbert Tilman (E.T.) Stratton and Muriel (Umphrey) Stratton, his parents and brother, Kenneth Leroy Stratton, preceded him in death.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Dorothy Jean (Mills) Stratton (married July 8, 1944); three children, Steven Don Stratton and wife, Christy Ann (Monks) Stratton of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, John Elbert Stratton and wife, Debbie Jean (Heese) Stratton of Liberty, Missouri, and Jean Ann (Stratton) Janner and husband, Wayne of Olathe, Kansas; five grandchildren, Carly Elizabeth (Stratton) Sefrit and husband, Robert, Christopher Steven Stratton and wife, Courtney, Cali Jean Stratton, Caleb Josiah Stratton, and Zachary Wayne Janner; three great-grandchildren, Calla Elizabeth Sefrit, Dietrich Asher Sefrit, and Adelaide Rhea Stratton; nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.
Don accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior at First Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, Missouri, soon after marrying Dorothy. He was ordained as a deacon at Bethel Baptist Church in 1955. He shared his faith by faithfully serving as a deacon and 6th grade boys Sunday School teacher and later served as a deacon at Chandler Baptist Church in Liberty, Missouri, where he was a member.
Don shared his life-long love of aviation with others as a flight instructor, airport operator, and aircraft mechanic. He operated the Excelsior Springs, Missouri Municipal Airport with his wife from 1962-1975, while also working at Trans World Airlines. At Excelsior Springs he provided aircraft maintenance and a flight school, which was one of the first VA-approved flight schools in Missouri. As a flight instructor he taught hundreds of students to fly. Following a first solo of each student, he would cut off the student’s shirt tail and hang it with others in the airport office.
Don first soloed June 24, 1944, in a Piper J-3 Cub on a grass strip beside the paved runway at Municipal Airport (now Downtown Airport), Kansas City, Missouri. After the war he joined a flying club with 10 others in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. The club bought a new 1946 Aeronca 7AC Champion (“Champ”) that they flew off a grass strip where Excelsior Springs Middle School now stands. During the early 1960s he earned his commercial license, flight instructor rating, and multi-engine rating.
Don helped build B-25 Mitchell light bombers at North American in Kansas City and California during World War II, then worked on the F2H Banshee fighter at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis. From 1955 to 1986 he worked first as a sheet metal mechanic and later as aircraft inspector at the Trans World Airlines overhaul base at Mid-Continent International (now Kansas City International) Airport, Kansas City, Missouri. While at TWA he first worked on Martin 202s and 404s, Lockheed Constellations, and Lockheed Super Gs, later replaced by Boeing 707s. He also serviced Convair 880s, Boeing 727s, Boeing 747s, DC-9s, MD-80s and L-1011s. The Boeing 757s and 767s were coming on line when he retired from TWA in May 1986.
After retiring from TWA, Don and Dorothy enjoyed extensive travel in their RV. As a member of the Santa Fe Trail Holiday Ramblers Club, Don served on the Engineering Team at Holiday Ramblers International Rallies. They also enjoyed RV travel in the winter to South Texas and Arizona where Don was a contract aircraft mechanic while enjoying the warm weather until 2000. He volunteered with his wife at Liberty Hospital TreeHouse and Gift Shop before he suffered a debilitating stroke in 2007, after which his wife cared for him at home.
The family thanks Dr. H. Andrew Pickett and care providers for their comforting support during the final weeks.
Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. and memorial service at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 6, 2018, at Chandler Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri. Cremains private family burial at a later date at Union Cemetery, Orrick, and Chandler Baptist Church Memorial Garden, Liberty. In lieu of flowers, the family recommends memorial gifts to Chandler Baptist Church.
Our Sincere Condolences
So sorry for your loss.
So sorry for your loss Carly. It sounds like your grandpa led a very exciting life. Prayers for you and your family.
Judy and Bill Burchfield
Dear Steve and family,
Sorry to hear of your father’s passing. He will now be with our Lord to keep in his grace till we all meet again. Our deepest sympathies go to you all. If we might be of help don’t hesitate in letting me know.
Patrick O’Dell and Family
I’m so very sorry about the loss of your dad. Know you have a huge group of friends sending their love, prayers & thoughts to you during this difficult time. Hugs to you, your family & your mom.
Just heard about your father and want you to know that our love and prayers are with you and your family.
It sounds like your father was a man of faith and family. Because of his faith we all know there will be a day of reconciliation and to that we looking forward.
May God give you peace in your time of sorrow.
Terry and Jenifer
Our deepest condolences to the Stratton family. Mr. Stratton was a very kind and gentle man and will be missed in the neighborhood. May God continue to comfort you all during this difficult time.
James & Janet Wesley
Steve and Family:
So sorry to hear of your loss, but it certainly sounds as if your Dad lived a full and satisfying life. My best to all of you and you’ll certainly be in my thoughts in the days to come.
To Dorothy, Steve, John, Jean…
Well the bible says to be absent from the body…is to be present with the Lord.
I am sad for you all, but know that Don has graduated to glory…Precious are the death of his saints!!! Sande and I love each of you, and know we share in your grief at this time…
All our Love…Dan and Sande Mills
p.s.Just wish we could be with you. I let Roger and Jean Wholf and Donna know of Don’s passing…
I am truly sorry to hear of the passing of your father. You, your mother, and the rest of your family are in my prayers. May God give you all the strength, love, comfort, and support you need during this sad time.
Vernia L. Lewis
Steve, Christy, Mom and family, my prayers go out to you in the loss of your father, husband, grandfather and great grandfather and other family and friends. Praise the Lord for allowing your dad to see 94 years of life. He outlived the 70 score years promised and that is a blessing. Looks like he enjoyed life to the fullest. May God continue to bless you, your mom and the family.
Gaye V. Martin
Don gave me my first few flying lessons in Excelsior Springs. He was a great, gentle and calm man. He lived a full life and was loved and respected by everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
So sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. He was such a strong influence at church back when we were all at First Baptist. I really admired him greatly. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Dear Steve ,
I’m so sorry to hear about your father . I’m sorry I’m late in responding but I just found out. In reading about your dad he certainly was a man of faith and accomplishment. I’m sending u my thoughts and prayers for u and your entire family. I know the Lord will provide the strength needed for u and family knowing that the Lord has called him home. Another angel for the ages has been added, your father, Don. Steve, may God keep u and bless u & family.
Your friend, Rick Woods