Barton Co. reacts to the sudden death of commissioner Don Cates

GREAT BEND, Kan. — A plane crash Tuesday that killed a Barton County commissioner, left people shocker and reflecting on the impact he had in the community.

Don Cates died after his single engine crop duster hit some power lines in Pawnee County.

“I truly believe this, that everything he did that he felt he was doing was in the best interest of the county,” said Richard Boeckman, Barton County Administrator.

Cates was a decorated military pilot and also flew commercially.

Friends remember him as someone always happy and willing to help others.

“Everywhere he goes he whistles, that was his trademark, he always whistles. He’s always at his mom’s mowing her grass, taking care of his mom. Just a super super man,” said Murine Prosser, a friend of Cates.

He spent four years in public office and is remembered for his dedication to his community.

“He was always well prepared, I think that he was the best prepared commissioner that I’ve dealt with,” said Boeckman.

A family man, Cates leaves behind a wife, three children and grandchildren.

“It’s going to be a loss to this county. We’ve got an empty seat over there where he sat every week, now there’s going to be an empty place in our heart too,” said Don Davis, another Barton County commissioner.

Funeral arrangements are still being made.

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