Mike was killed in a wreck when the front tire blew out of the dump truck he was driving in Washington County Kansas on September 30, 2019. He was traveling through his favorite part of the country, the Flint Hills, on his way to Nebraska.
David Michael Towner was born on January 19, 1942 in Olathe, Kansas to Nathan Clarence Towner and Miriam Elizabeth Masters Towner. From his father he learned the crafts of woodworking, masonry, and mechanics and he became a jack-of-all-trades to abide by his father’s “you break it, you fix it” rule. He enjoyed summer fishing trips at the Masters’ family cabin in the Ozarks and time spent on the Towner family farm in Johnson County.
A four-year football letterman, Mike graduated from Olathe High School in 1960 and came to Ottawa University on a football scholarship. Upon moving to Ottawa, he met Kay Peters, the love of his life, whom he married on April 14, 1962 at the First United Methodist Church. Married for 57 years, they shared a strong bond of love, devotion, adventure, and laughter. Family and community was the cornerstone of their life together. He coached his son David’s Garfield Braves football team and they spent countless hours working together at his shop restoring his wooden Chris Craft Constellation and working on equipment. With his daughter Kim, he enjoyed traveling, exploring historic sites, helping her with her horses, and carrying a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Mike was immensely proud of his role as grandpa to his four grandsons.
In 1962 Mike founded Towner Concrete. Known as one of the hardest working people you would ever meet, Mike expanded the company into utility construction, excavation, and demolition. He was a demanding, but respected boss who cared deeply about the people he worked with and their families. A tireless worker, he never retired.
Mike was Worthy Grand Patron of Kansas Order of the Eastern Star. He was currently Worthy Patron of Union Chapter 15 OES. A longtime member of Masons, he was Past District Deputy Grand Master District #7 and Past Master and current Secretary of Ottawa Lodge 18. Mike was very devoted to the philanthropic work of both organizations and served on the board of the Kansas Masonic Foundation. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church where he served as a trustee, chair of the worship committee and head usher. He also enjoyed the Model Railroad Club at The Old Depot Museum.
Mike was a larger than life presence who never met a stranger. He was known in coffee shops throughout Kansas and beyond. Always active, he lived life to the fullest and found humor in almost every situation. He enjoyed life on the lake boating and teaching people to water ski. Gardening was another favorite pastime. Throughout his life Mike enjoyed raising cows, chickens and other animals and always had a family dog by his side.
Preceded in death by his parents, Mike is survived by his wife Kay and son David of Ottawa, his daughter Kim Towner (Kristin) of New York, New York, grandsons David Towner (Vanessa) of Aurora, Colorado; Joel Towner of Newberg, Oregon and Wyatt and Ford Towner of New York, New York and by his siblings Betty Justice (Earl) of Quitman, Georgia, Jim Towner (Coralyn) of Raytown, Missouri, Arlene Huchtings of St. Louis, Missouri, Don Towner (Gloria) of Paola, Kansas, and Larry Towner (Cheryl) of Olathe, Kansas. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews whom he adored.
A celebration of Mike’s life will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, October 14th at the First United Methodist Church in Ottawa. The family will receive friends from 9:00 a.m. until the service begins at the church. The family suggests memorials in Mike’s honor be made to the Eastern Star Scholarship Fund or Prairie Paws Animal Shelter in care of Lamb-Roberts Funeral Home, P.O. Box 14, Ottawa, KS 66067. Condolences may be sent to the family through www.lamb-roberts.com.