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Don Coldsmith

Don Coldsmith

In addition to his career as a writer, Don Coldsmith was a medical doctor, serving as a family practitioner in Emporia, Kansas, until 1988, when he chose to concentrate on writing. In addition, Coldsmith and his 2nd wife Edna were cattle ranchers and breeders of Appaloosa horses.

Son of a Methodist preacher, Coldsmith attended high school in Coffeyville, Kansas, and joined the U.S. Army in 1944. His role as a combat medic in the Pacific Theater of World War II led him to Japan, where he was among the first occupying troops. He was assigned to provide medical care for Japanese war criminals, including Hideki Tōjō, the prime minister.

After the war, Coldsmith matriculated at Baker University, a small Methodist institution in Baldwin City, Kansas. While there he became a brother to the Zeta Chi fraternity. After graduation, he worked as a YMCA youth director in Topeka, where he helped to achieve the first interracial public swimming pool in the state.

Don Coldsmith, who had periodically taught English classes at Emporia State University, was awarded the Western Writers of America's Golden Spur award for best original paperback for The Changing Wind of 1990. Other honors include Distinguished Kansan (awarded by the Native Sons and Daughters of Kansas in 1993) and the Edgar Wolfe Award for lifetime contributions to literature (1995). Coldsmith was in high demand as a speaker, especially when the subject was the High Plains and the American West.

Coldsmith suffered a stroke on June 20, 2009 after attending a conference of the Western Writers of America in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He died on June 25, 2009 at The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas, according to his wife Edna.

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