Don was reared and educated in Arapaho, Oklahoma, and graduated with the Arapaho High School Class of 1950. He was a veteran of the armed forces having served his country honorably with the United States Army. Don continued his education attending Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Oklahoma, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in engineering. He completed his education at Oklahoma A & M Technological School in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.
Don was married August 19, 1955, in Clinton, Oklahoma, to Eleanor Pearl Hunter. They had made their home in Collinsville, Oklahoma, since December of 1967. He spent most of his working life with IBM as a customer engineer. Don was very active in giving back to the Collinsville community as a founding member of the Collinsville Lion’s Club, Collinsville VFW Post #5691, and also served as a Collinsville Rural Fire Protection board member.
He was faithful member of the Lutheran church and was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He served as leader for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts and was an Eagle Scout sponsor. Don enjoyed a variety of pastimes including watching John Wayne movies and Fox News, but he especially enjoyed spending time working, or playing, in his yard.
My father was devoted to his family, spending untold weekends at football games when my brother and I were in the marching band, my sister’s basketball and volleyball games, countless band and chorus trips as an adult chaperone and finally, many, many weekends on Boy Scout campouts eating scrambled eggs lightly cooked with grass and maybe a leaf or two, which he always ate, although not always happily.
That was my father’s philosophy—there are few problems in life that couldn’t be solved with hard work. He always seemed to be doing something around the house, either working on one of the family cars, fixing something in the house, or his favorite thing—riding his tractor and digging in the dirt.
My father’s other favorite activity was working on cars, he could have given instruction to any car dealership mechanic and seemed to always have grease under his fingernails. I did not inherit his knack or desire to work on cars, sometimes I wish I did. I remember him telling my siblings and I-“Check to see if your tires are still round on the bottom.”
He served during the Korean War era and was a proud lifetime member of the local VFW, some of whose members are here to honor Dad today. He never really talked too much about his time in the Army, but I know it was important to him, and helped turn him into the husband and father he became when he left the service.
My father lived a pretty quiet simple life, but it was a faith filled life. He was life-long Lutheran, and served in many capacities at the various churches he attended. More importantly, my father lived a life of christian charity and service to others, something that I think he tried to instill in his children, and which he performed without a lot of fuss or expectation of thanks or praise.
I think it is no coincidence that Dad died two years to the day his granddaughter, my daughter Courtney went home to heaven. It gives me great peace to know they are together again. I can just see Courtney taking her Grandpa’s hand and walking him home to God.
When I think of my father, I will always think of this passage from the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 25:23, “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’