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Remembering Don

June 25th, 2009 at 9:55 pm


Don Coldsmith at Town Crier’s Author Extravaganza on June 6, 2009

Don Coldsmith

February 28, 1926 – June 25, 2009

News comes tonight that Emporia author Don Coldsmith has died.

Just to list his accomplishments as a writer would be a long obituary. But he was much more than an author. He was a mentor to many fledgling writers. He founded the Tallgrass Writing Workshop 23 years ago, giving advice, showing the way, presenting opportunities for writers to develop and to publish.

On a personal note, he gave me encouragement when I attended his workshop some years back. His evaluation of my writing gave me much hope – because praise coming from Don Coldsmith meant something. It meant a lot. And later, in 2006, he invited me to be on that year’s Tallgrass faculty.

Don loved telling stories, especially funny ones. He had a great sense of humor. His tales came from being a preacher’s kid, from being a medic in World War II, from his 30 years as an Emporia physician, as a family man, a rancher, and as a speaker on the Humanities circuit.

I’ve heard Don tell countless stories in person, so each week as I’ve read his Horsin’ Around column in The Emporia Gazette, I could hear his voice, the inflection, I knew where he’d pause, and how he’d approach the ending or deliver the punch line.  He just had this way of turning a story.

Don Coldsmith was a man with many talents. And he wasn’t afraid to say that he respected and loved his wife and his daughters. He was a good man who gave much to many.

Here’s a script from when Don Coldsmith appeared on Sunflower Journeys” on KTWU.


Pat Kelley has posted an online story for The Gazette: Acclaimed Author Don Coldsmith Dies.


  1. heineken160
    June 25th, 2009 at 22:08 | #1

    We shouldn’t overlook that he was an MD. My first real conversation with Dr. Coldsmith was at St. Mary’s Hospital in Emporia. He had removed the appendix of my fraternity pledge pop, maybe in 1975. Don was the Emporia State campus physician who I knew by name and face. After the appendix he was a friend.

  2. June 25th, 2009 at 22:49 | #2

    Wasn’t he also a lawyer?

  3. heineken160
    June 25th, 2009 at 23:00 | #3

    I don’t think so but he was a YMCA director.

  4. June 26th, 2009 at 09:23 | #4

    Max and I found a dear friend in Don and his wife, Edie. Don had a wonderful sense of humor, was caring and articulate, a good husband and father, a lover of the Flint Hills, the writer of wonderful historical fiction and supporter of other writers. We enjoyed his editorial comments in the newspaper column, “Horsin’ Around.”
    Don and Edie once showed us their planned final resting place, the Bazaar Cemetery in rural Flint Hills near Cottonwood Falls. Since visiting the site, I’ve thought about that vital, restful place — an area where Plains Indians once roamed. I know Don will feel at home there. Rest in peace, Don. We’ll miss you here.