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Dr. Don & Barbara Potts

At the recent KC Jazz Ambassadors annual meeting, KCJA Vice President Stephen Mann mentioned that we hadn’t seen Dr. Potts in a while. Dr. Don and Barbara Potts have been jazz fans since they met and became a couple in college.

During her term as Mayor of Independence, MO from 1982-1990 she highlighted economic growth, historic preservation and was active in the Kansas City jazz community. Dr. Don Potts remains a highly respected physician and professor at UMKC.

Dr. Don Potts has been hospitalized with Covid-19 since November of 2020. In a recent phone interview, Don was in good spirits, and anxious to get back home to be with his bride of 68 years. Barbara and Don celebrated their anniversary on Monday, December 27th. With Don in a rehabilitation facility and Barb at home, Vi’s of Independence prepared and delivered separate dinners to the couple, in honor of their 68th year of marriage.

“I plan to be up and walking by May.” Said Dr. Potts, who was awarded the 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Kansas City Medical Society. Betty M. Drees, MD KCMS 2020 President said, “He has tirelessly worked to stop tobacco use in the region to improve the health of the community. He is one of my personal role models for making everything he touches better.”

Barbara and Don met while attending school in Lamoni, IA. Don then earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas in 1962. While attending KU, he worked as an audio engineer at radio station KANU. His love of jazz serendipitously led Don to interview the great Louis Armstrong live on-air for the station in 1957.

One of his most remarkable achievements is serving for 47 consecutive years as the MSMA Physician of the Day each year for a selected day at the Missouri Capitol—most recently in February 2020 just prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Don and Barbara are sorely missed on the jazz scene. For their love of the music, and for the continued support and volunteerism they have offered the many wonderful local jazz organizations, and especially the Kansas City Jazz Ambassadors.


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