Karns, Don

Don Karns

Karns, Don '57I have been very excited about the upcoming reunion. I had a scheduling conflict so my son, Mike is going to fly me to Enid Saturday afternoon. Please—no stories to my son–I told him I was an exemplary student in school!

When I graduated from Enid High School, I was off to OSU. I joined a fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, although my Mother seriously disapproved. She was concerned about excessive drinking. As it turned out, I never had a drink until age 23. Joining a fraternity was one of the best decisions I made in college. I made the Dean’s List several times.

I played football and baseball for Oklahoma State University. We had a great baseball team. We still hold the best Won/Loss record in OSU baseball history. My senior year, I was named to the “All Big Eight” baseball team. I was also voted into the OSU Sports Hall of Fame because of that team. We finished second in the nation, losing to USC 1-0 in the finals of the NCAA Championships. In football, I led the Big 8 in pass receiving my senior year.

After graduation, I signed a professional football contract with the Minnesota Vikings, but was released. They sent me to Canada to play and gain experience. After two weeks, I decided to get a “real job”. I had an engineering degree. I went to work for Texas Instruments in Dallas as an engineer.

I married my college girlfriend and we had two great boys. Both are in business for themselves. Mike is a real estate developer/investor. Steve is a criminal defense attorney. He defended the first person tried in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse case in Baghdad. He was on CNN and several national talk shows following the trial.

My marriage to Patty ended after 13 years. I later married a wonderful girl, Jan Barton Elias, from Bristow, OK. We have been married 32 years. I hit a real home run! Jan has two daughters near the same age as my boys. We raised all 4 children together as the real “Brady Bunch”. All went to college with 3 of the 4 getting advanced degrees. Katherine has her own medical sales company. Lori is self-employed as an occupational therapist.

We are blessed with 3 grandchildren. All of our children live within 3 miles of our home so we have plenty of kid/grandchildren days.

My professional career began as an engineer at Texas Instruments. Don Carey talked me into going into engineering as all we ever wanted to do since grade school was to be fighter jocks. We both flunked the eye examination, so neither of us, fortunately, flew a lick!

I worked at TI for 5 years, knowing that was the last thing I really wanted to do. It just did not fit my personality. In 1968 I went to work for an investment firm. I led the company nationally in sales my second and third year in the business. The next year I formed my own company, Don Karns Insurance Agency, Inc. Today we do business in over 20 states, including Oklahoma.

Being in business for myself has given Jan and I a lot of freedom to travel. I also play golf and fish in my spare time. Since I am in excellent health, I have no plans to retire as yet. I have, however, turned in a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. guy working about 4 days a week.

I am excited to see everyone but I will sure miss seeing Bobby Atkinson. We always reminisced about riding his Cushman Eagle and singing The Great Pretender. If Gene Bodes still has a voice, maybe the Bushwhackers can make a comeback! I think our group included Page, Carey, Gene, and myself. I remember Glenda Braithwaite played the piano for us.

See you the sixth!

Karns, Don '07