Ronald Deffenbaugh Dies; Launched Deffenbaugh Industries

Allan Gerlat, News Editor

September 4, 2014

1 Min Read
Ronald Deffenbaugh Dies; Launched Deffenbaugh Industries

Ronald Deffenbaugh Sr., who started waste hauling and recycling firm Deffenbaugh Industries Inc., died Aug. 28. He was 73.

Deffenbaugh’s death was attributed to complications related to a 2007 accident that left him a quadriplegic at age 66, the company confirmed in an e-mail.

Deffenbaugh sold the company to a private equity firm that year. Industry observers estimated at the time the price was $300 million to $350 million.

He started the company in 1957 with one truck. Kansas City, Kan.-based Deffenbaugh Industries now provides commercial and residential waste and recycling collection, waste disposal, construction waste and portable toilet services in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa. It also operates a 1,000-acre landfill in Shawnee, Kan.

Deffenbaugh Industries 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.

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

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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