1939 - 2015
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David Paul Wiebe, 76, died August 17, 2015, in his Fairway, Kansas home, surrounded by family and close friends. David was born May 12, 1939, in Aberdeen, Idaho to Bernhard and Selma Wiebe. When his father died in 1951, the family moved to Newton, Kan., where he worked several summers on the farm of his Uncle Bill, who became a second father to him. Upon graduating from Bethel College in 1962, he married Wanda Kopper and they moved to California. Rather than enter the military draft, he followed the tenets of his Mennonite faith and became a conscientious objector. While completing his alternative service at a Los Angeles hospital, he was introduced to the field of social work. After the birth of his first child, Mark, the family moved to the Kansas City area, which remained David's home for the rest of his life, and where his second child, Chris, was born. Although divorced in 1977 and single for the next 13 years, David remained close to Wanda and they continued to raise their children together. In 1990, he married Leslie Young. The two shared professional and personal interests, including a love of travel, good food, and gathering with friends. In 1998, they travelled to China to adopt their daughter, Katy. David's commitment to helping the most vulnerable people in society led to a long and fruitful career in community mental health. After receiving his Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas, he worked at Kansas Social Rehabilitation Services, soon establishing himself as a skilled, patient and gentle leader. These traits served him well in administrative positions at Johnson County Mental Health Center and as executive director of Shawnee Community Mental Health Center in Topeka. In 1985, he returned to Johnson County MHC as its executive director, a job he held until his retirement in 2011. David was a leading mental health advocate in Kansas, helping spearhead the state's mental health reform movement in the 1980s and 90s. He served on numerous boards and associations, including as a founding board member of Kids TLC (a position he returned to after retirement), a member of the board of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, and President of the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities' Medicaid Committee. In 2007, he received the National Council's Lifetime Achievement Award. Upon retirement, David was named president of the Kansas Mental Health Coalition, a position he held until his death. David was an avid tennis player, and a loyal fan of the Royals and KU basketball. He loved good wine, a well- manicured lawn, grilling and hanging out with family and friends on his deck. His professional accomplishments notwithstanding, he will be mostly remembered for the steadfast love and kindness he showed his family, friends, and colleagues, and a smile that rarely waned. David is survived by his wife, Leslie Young,; daughters Katy Lark Young, of the home, and Chris Wiebe, Bellingham, Wash.; son Mark Wiebe (Anne Bloos), Roeland Park; grandchildren Quinn and Noah Brady, Sorrel, Madrona, Wren and Amber Hartford; brother Henry Wiebe (Bonnie), Rolla, Mo.; father-in-law Lee Young of Lawrence; sister-in- law Cathy Little (Rodney) of Mesick, Mich.; brother-in-law Kenny Young, of Shawnee; his first wife, Wanda Lowenstein (Hal) of Kansas City; and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins. A celebration of David's life will be held 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 21, at Rainbow Mennonite Church, 1444 Southwest Blvd., Kansas City, Kan. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to Friends of Johnson County Mental Health in care of the David Wiebe Staff Development Memorial Fund, 6000 Lamar Ave. Ste. 130, Mission, Kan., 66202. M

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Published in Kansas City Star on Aug. 20, 2015.
Celebration of Life
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12 entries
September 20, 2015
I just learned of David's passing and offer my condolences to Leslie, Mark, and the rest of the family. I knew David from his work and advocacy for mental health.
Angela Hagen
August 25, 2015
I worked with David and Leslie many years while I was a social worker at Osawatomie State Hospital and then as Superintendent at Rainbow State Hospital and found them truly professional and caring for their clients. The world will miss David and is much better for his having been amongst us in the mental health field.
Martha Martin Town, Lawrence,Ks
August 22, 2015
Dear Leslie, Katy Lark and family,
Please accept my deepest sympathy on David's passing. The world will not be the same, especially the behavioral health and disability world. David and I worked on many projects for NACBHDD and enjoyed our activities at conferences, meetings, and other events, often with you and Katy Lark. His compassion, gentle humor, quickness of mind and wit were welcomed everywhere he went and his wisdom was always taken seriously, even when it was disguised with humor. I will miss David's presenin the world as will so many of his national and state colleagues. Please know that you and the family will be in my thoughts and prayers for long to come. I will be with you in spirit as you celebrate David' life and memory each day. He taught us all how more fully to live.
Mary Ann Bergeron
August 21, 2015
Having worked closely with David, Mark and Wanda in numerous capacities over the past 15-30 years, my heart, prayers and well wishes are extended to all. David was a supreme, caring professional who gave of himself for the benefit of family and the community. His accomplishments in the mental health field were unmatched.
Warm regards and blessings to all,
Tom Cranshaw
August 20, 2015
I served on the NACBHDD Board with David for many years. We enjoyed policy discussions and, of course, good dinners with good wine. He so clearly cared about people with disabilities, and was so very proud of his family. A good man, indeed.
Lynn Ferrell
August 20, 2015
A precious light has been transitioned from our earthly home to the heavens. With only a precious few meetings David guided with encouragement and the light of love. I was so privileged to know him, if only for a brief period. Our prayers for David and for his very loved family.

Gilbert Gonzales
August 20, 2015
The world needs more David Wiebe(s). He was a wonderful friend and incredible leader in our shared field of mental health services. But most of all he was just a good, good man: wise, gentle and good hearted. Thank you to Leslie for sharing his story in such a beautiful way. So many of us will miss his smiling face. Peace be with you, David and with your precious family.
Linda Zebley
August 20, 2015
I had the opportunity to work with David at Johnson County Mental Health for 10 years. He was a tremendous leader and a wonderful individual. David carried the torch high for those with mental illness and his passion for community mental health will be missed. RIP, David.
Janine Gracy
August 20, 2015
Thinking of you and your family. David was such a great supporter of the mental health community. All the best to you.
Cornelia Jeffery
August 20, 2015
You are right, I will always remember David with a smile on his face. You, Katy Lark and David's family are in my thoughts and prayers.
Laura Osterloh
August 20, 2015
I was shocked to read today of your Dad's passing. What a great loss to both family and community. I wil miss his solid support of libraries and his commonsense approach to issues that were "on the table". Blessings, Mark.
Pat Gaunce
August 20, 2015
As I worked with David for 23 years at the Johnson County Mental Health Center, I have so many memories. He will be missed by so many people.
Sue Hamilton
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