12/7/1947 – 7/2/2022
Donald Victor Binns passed away in his home on July 2nd, 2022 after a long illness. Don was born in Champaign, Illinois on December 7th 1947 to Donald Adair Binns and Eunice Helen (Schmidt) Binns. Don spent most of his life in Lawrence, Kansas where he became a fixture of the East Lawrence community. He attended Lawrence High School and Graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in education before taking a position at Central Junior High where he taught for 30 years.
Don was a dedicated educator who was truly enamored with his chosen subjects of social studies, English, and history. Mr. Binns’ unconventional teaching style, silly demeanor, and irreverent attitude endeared him to countless numbers of Central kids over the course of his career. As the longtime coach of the Lady Mustang basketball team he was profoundly proud of his players. He continued to follow some of their athletic careers through their high school and college years, attending games and cheering for them long after they’d moved on from Central. He sincerely cared for each and every one of his students and he truly loved teaching. After retiring, Don continued to support and encourage students for several years as a substitute teacher for the Lawrence School District.
He was a devoted fan of KU basketball and an avid outdoorsman. He loved to hunt, fish, and camp in the prairies and plains of Kansas and he took great pleasure in spending time in the Rocky Mountains. He was a gifted orator who was passionate about progressive politics and loved the English language. In conversation he liked to play the devil’s advocate, just to instigate a spirited debate.
He believed in reproductive freedom, labor unions, and sensible gun laws and he wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion to anyone. He often lamented that adhering to a state-mandated curriculum limited his ability to present a thorough view of American history in the classroom. However, he had no such barriers in his personal life so he actively taught his own children to think critically about traditional historical narratives and to vehemently question institutions of power.
In 2005 he married his longtime neighbor, fellow language teacher, and love of his life, Khalila Binns. Together they enjoyed fishing, dancing to live music, traveling internationally, and engaging in playful banter about grammar.
He is survived by his wife, Khalila Blosser Binns, of the home; sister JoAnn Sherar, of Austin, TX; his daughters, Donna Binns, Champaign, IL and Jennifer Brook Binns, Lawrence, KS; his son, Alex Bovee, Arlington, TX; his stepdaughters, Laura Blosser, Sacremento, CA; Violet Blosser Schorsch, Chicago, IL; and Kristen Blosser Myers, Lawrence, KS, his stepson Kai Blosser, Lawrence, KS, and ten grandchildren. If you would like to make a small contribution in Don’s name please consider donating to the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence. Plans for a celebration of life are pending and will be announced at a later date.
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