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Lt. Col. (Ret.) Donald James Komarek 1931 - 2017
obit re Komarek Donald
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Donald James Komarek 1931 - 2017

Donald James Komarek, 86, died Aug. 15, 2017, at Great Bend, following a brief illness. He was born June 3, 1931, at Ellinwood, the son of Frank and Emilie (Peschka) Komarek. He graduated from Ellinwood High School in 1949 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in History and Government (American/Russian) from Kansas State University in 1954. Donald and Beverly Phillips were united in marriage on Aug. 22, 1954, at the First Congregational Church in Great Bend.
After participating in ROTC at Kansas State, Col. Komarek received his commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force in 1954. For the next 20 years, he served his country in the United States, Japan, Vietnam and Turkey. His areas of expertise included imagery interpretation and intelligence. He received special commendation for his leadership as the Chief of the Photo Interpretation Section during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As Protocol Officer with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), he established and managed photographic and information management related to the Turkish and Greek air reconnaissance programs.
At the end of his military career, Col. Komarek received the Meritorious Service Medal for his contributions as Chief of the Technical Support Division, Directorate of Intelligence Support and Resources, and Deputy Chief of Staff – Intelligence at Langley Air Force Base, Va.
Col. and Mrs. Komarek returned to Great Bend in 1975, where he took on the role of Managing Director and President of Phillips Sporting Goods, LLC.
Donald was a member of the American Legion Argonne Post 180, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #3111, Barton County Historical Society, Great Bend Zoological Society, and many other civic groups. He managed his family farms, gardened, enjoyed birdwatching, and was an avid outdoorsman. He served many years as a certified observer for the National Weather Service.
Survivors include his wife, Beverly Komarek, of the home; daughter Dr. Dana Townsend and her husband Harvard of Wheaton, Ill.; son, Stefan Komarek and his wife Catherine Besley of Grandview, Mo.; and daughter Tracy Aris and her husband Stephen of St. Charles, Ill.; five grandchildren, Sarah Townsend and her husband Eric Ramseier, Michael Townsend and his wife Christina, Dr. Daniel Townsend and his wife Claire, Kyle Komarek and his wife Jackie, and Corinne Horsch and her husband Eric; and six great grandchildren, Nolan Townsend, Max Townsend, Jonah Townsend, Esme Townsend, Hayley Komarek and Avery Horsch. He was proceeded in death by two brothers, Norman and Franklin Komarek of Ellinwood; and one sister, Verline Petz of Haviland.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. Details are pending. Inurnment will be in Great Bend Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Barton County Historical Society, in care of Bryant Funeral Home. Condolences may be sent and notice viewed at

Funeral arrangements provided by
Bryant Funeral Home**
1425 Patton Road
Great Bend, KS 67530
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, Aug. 20, 2017