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Donald Louis Esslinger

August 13, 1932 February 12, 2019
Donald Louis Esslinger
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Obituary for Donald Louis Esslinger

Donald Louis Esslinger, 86, of Kearney, MO passed away on February 12, 2019 at Liberty Hospital in Liberty, Missouri. He had battled Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency since 2007.Esslinger was born the fourth child of Charles and Kathryn (Wohlschlegel) Esslinger of Madison, KS on August 13, 1932. He attended KSU majoring in General Agriculture & was in the Army ROTC. After graduation, he went active duty taking the Basic Officers Course and became a lieutenant at Fort Lee, Virginia.Esslinger married Carline Ann Hanes of ElDorado, Kansas on April 23, 1955 in a military wedding at Fort Lee. They had three children, two girls and a boy.Esslinger later earned his Master’s Degree at the University of Maryland. He retired professor emeritus of agriculture of the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1994 after 26 years as an agricultural editor.Growing up on a Kansas farm was influential in Esslinger choosing a career in agriculture. He served nearly 10 years in county extension and Kansas State University appointments in Kansas as well as editor of a magazine of the Kansas 4-H Foundation. At Mizzou he edited technical publications in agriculture and related areas, wrote news and feature articles as well as coordinated a publications program that included more than 3,000 agricultural and continuing education publications. During his tenure at UM he was a visiting editor at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and a communications consultant at the Mid-American International Agricultural Consortium.Esslinger conducted technical writing workshops in developing countries, which took him to numerous countries in Asia and Africa. Following an interest in travel, he and Carline traveled in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. The last four years of his career were in Egypt as advisor on a food production project for the U.S. Agency for International Development.After retirement, they moved to the Phoenix, AZ area until 2002 when they settled in northwest Arkansas. They moved to Liberty, MO in 2010.Esslinger is survived by his wife Carline of Kearney; daughter Kristi & Shane Rumpf of Liberty; son Brad & Cindy Esslinger of Bella Vista, AR; a brother George of Madison, KS; four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is also survived by sister-in-law Rita Esslinger of Georgia and son-in-law Carl Spellmeyer of Texas.Esslinger was preceded in death by his twin sister, a daughter Jetta DuBose, his parents, two sisters and three brothers.A Celebration of Life will be held February 22, 2019 from 3:00-5:00 PM at Westbrook Care Center, 401 S Platte Clay Way, Kearney, MO. (Enter through the 700-800 doors.)A graveside service with military honors on Feb 23, 2019 at 1:00 PM at the Number 8 Cemetery, 2371 KS-58, Madison, KS.Donations may be made to the Alpha-1 Foundation online at or by calling(877)-2-CURE-A1 or (877) 228-7321.

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