Don Dubois, retired from AIB, dies at 93

by Josh Sosland
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LENEXA, KAS. — Donald K. Dubois of Lenexa, who held numerous positions within the grain-based foods industry as well as at AIB International, died March 30. He was 93.

Donald K. Dubois


A native of Burlingame, Kas., Mr. Dubois graduated from Burlingame High School and received a bachelor’s degree in milling and baking chemistry from Kansas State College, now University.

He began his career in 1944 at Doty Laboratories, where he rose to the position of chief chemist, a position he then held at Crete Mills when he moved to that company in 1951. Four years later Mr. Dubois joined Hercules, Inc., where he held managerial positions in the Cellulose and Protein Products Division, with responsibilities including technical service, bakery field service support and developing technical bulletins. From 1966 until 1978 he worked at ITT Paniplus. He held a number of positions there, including technical marketing manager.

In 1978, Mr. Dubois joined the staff of AIB as manager of technical assistance. In that role he was the principal contact for bakers seeking assistance on scientific, technical or regulatory matters. His special foreign assignments for AIB took him to 21 foreign countries, including China and the U.S.S.R. He authored more than 50 technical papers, served or chaired multiple committees and held high offices in trade organizations.

In his technical assistance role at AIB, Mr. Dubois became known as the “Ann Landers of the baking industry,” one colleague said. Official recognition for Mr. Dubois’ achievements include AIB Employee of the Year in 1983, the AACC William F. Geddes Memorial Award in 1985 and the Wheat Quality Council Full Kernel Wheat Award in 1986.

Mr. Dubois was the creator of the AIB Technical Bulletin, beginning with its first issue in 1979. He was credited with “conceiving, nurturing and editing” this newsletter which over time became something of an encyclopedia of reference material for the baking industry. He retired from AIB in 1987.

James L. Vetter, the retired technical vice-president at AIB, worked closely with Mr. Dubois for 20 years.

“He was so knowledgeable, but more than that was his willingness to share that information with others,” Mr. Vetter said. “In addition to his regular responsibilities, he often would fill in as an instructor at the school of baking, sometimes for weeks or even longer. He shared his knowledge with his students and the staff. Maybe his greatest legacy was sharing in technology transfer worldwide for the betterment of people in the baking industry. He traveled to 21 different countries. For me, he was not just a colleague at work. He was a real friend. We both retired 17 years ago but we continued to get together regularly. That’s unusual in business.”

Mr. Dubois led a rich and full life outside the baking industry. He was an expert marble collector and the father of 12. He served as the family historian and genealogist.

He was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, the American Association of Cereal Chemists, the American Society of Baking, the Marble Collectors Society of America, the Osage County Kansas Historical Society, the Knights of Columbus and the Dubois Family Association. 

Mr. Dubois was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years Florine Haigh Dubois; sons James and Mark Dubois; and brothers Robert and Lyle Dubois.  He is survived by his children  Donna (Doug) Rees of Harbor Beach, Mich.; Norman (Jan) Dubois of Olathe, Kas.; Martin (Twyla) Dubois of Lawrence, Kas.; Jean (Doug) Goodman of Lenexa, Kas.; Mary Sue (Steve) Strickland of Flower Mound, Texas; John (Jennifer Byer) Dubois of Prairie Village, Kas.; Robert (Jane) Dubois of Overland Park, Kas.; Paul (Amy) Dubois of Matthews, Va.; Margaret (Mark) DeVoss of Springfield, Mo,; David (Beth) Dubois New Lenox, Ill.; daughters-in-law Marianne Dubois of Kansas City and Jean Dubois of Auburn, Ala.; 34 grandchildren and 21 great grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m. April 4, at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 13615 W. 92nd Lenexa, KS. 66215.  Rosary and eulogy will be April 3 at 4:45 p.m. followed by visitation until 7:00 p.m. at Porter Funeral Home, 8535 Monrovia, Lenexa, KS. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
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