News Column

Waste mogul Ronald Deffenbaugh dies at age 73

August 29, 2014

By Diane Stafford, The Kansas City Star

Aug. 29--Johnson County businessman Ronald D. Deffenbaugh Sr., who built one of the largest waste management companies in the country, died Thursday. He was 73.

Deffenbaugh's death was attributed to complications related to a 2007 accident that left him a quadriplegic at age 66.

Deffenbaugh sold Deffenbaugh Industries that same year to a private equity firm for an unpublished price that industry observers estimated at $300 million to $350 million.

The company he started with one truck now provides commercial and residential waste disposal, recycling and portable toilet services in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa. It also operates a 1,000-acre landfill in Shawnee.

Deffenbaugh also owned and operated a rock quarry that provided material for many Kansas City area buildings and road projects.

His accident, a fall from a hospital X-ray table, resulted in a broken neck. He filed a lawsuit in 2008 against Shawnee Mission Medical Center, which was settled for undisclosed terms in late 2009.

Deffenbaugh's longtime pastor and friend, Phil Kreiling, said he had handled his injuries "better than anyone expected" until his condition declined in the last year.

Kreiling said he visited Deffenbaugh two or three times a week in the custom-built home that Deffenbaugh had built adjacent to the landfill. He had medical staff with him around the clock and took pleasure in looking out over the property, Kreiling said.

After his injury, Deffenbaugh funded the Spinal Cord Injury Repair Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to


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Source: Kansas City Star (MO)

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