Celebrating 81 years. October 4, 1940 to October 20, 2021.
Don was born in Laird, CO. To his hard working, energetic parents Jim & Laura Thompson.
Don was raised in the country, with expanding farming, ranching & produce hauling operations.
Don started riding in trucks at 3 months old with his Mother & Dad driving separate trucks across CO., Over Loveland pass back & forth to Kansas.
Don learned to drive trucks & tractors in the fields before age 9, (it was a family working business) progressing to farm to farm hauling by the age of 10, which formulated his passion for driving trucks for 71 years. He enjoyed, hunting, fishing, riding horses & even broke a few. (The last one Jughead; also known as the “four legged officer.” Don commented it was a lot farther down to the ground than he had remembered & his hips felt different). Farm live has many adventures like catching his goat Gracie who decided to make the shed her slide as she neighed sliding down the roof expecting JD to catch her. JD told Gracie to stay off the roof & like-any kid, she did it again. So JD had to block off the shed. The goats like everyone else performed & fought for JD’s attention including walking on the truck frame in the thick grease with their heads in the motor watching the repairs in process. When Dad asked for a different size wrench, the question was…”are you asking the goat or me?” Dad taught his children how to ride horses, hunt, fish, clean guns with safety always first. Foot races, riding in the truck & on the back of the tailgate, to & from the ponds, watching out for copperheads, water moccasins, & rattle snakes; the dogs were great protection.
Don was a true professional, as an employee & his preferred; independent business man in trucking, landscaping, farming, ranching, mechanic, & heavy equipment. Don received a gifting from the Lord to study & became an ordained pastor in his forties. He studied the Bible in depth every morning between 3 & 5 am, the “Waring hours.” Don would tell you, don’t believe me, go look it up in the Bible; it’s in John, 3:16 or Revelations or Psalms as examples. Don was a great story teller with lots of excitement & fun in his stories.
JD was a volunteer for Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Posse, TX. Licensed: 11-24-1994 & later Milam, TX. Fire Department. Starting the departments First Responders Program with his friend & future wife Billie; “the Arkansas kid.”
An average work week was 80 plus hours per week, with weekends for agricultural necessities, killing snakes, & taking care of the farm & ranch, a true pioneer, with his final project.
Hobbies included writing a book, (writing poetry, playing guitar), going on a day or weekend excursion & doing the “Texas two step” with his wife Billie in the last few weeks of his life.
Don was a physically strong man, with a gentle soul, big heart, big smile, & great laugh. A stern Dad, who could tell when someone was telling a fib, and a great listener. After listening, he would say I hear you & have you thought about it this way? Chores & activities were to be done right, for the right reasons. Dad would ask ”Did you hear what I said? Or would you like a boot in the butt?” Which was the last resort when you decided not to listen. Most of the kids were heard to say “ yes sir.” The circle of life for everyone has ups & downs, some people like it some people don’t. Some people were fair & some not. Illness was a rarity except when he got to tired & stressed & then his body would demand an aggressive time out. Life throughs curves & tribulations. For Don who was not ready to leave his journey on earth, met his greatest battle with aggressive cancer, causing an early retirement in September 2021. Don still did as much as possible no matter how hard it was, he was not a quitter. Like the day before his ascent up to heaven, Don had to try walking by himself. Showing off like Superman, without his super powers, his face took the boom.
Don loved animals & the animals loved him too. Don could be seen checking the cattle with his entourage of several dogs, cats, goats, (ducks, & guineas the loudest security guards). Many people commented” he was like Dr. Doolittle. I’ve never seen anything like it!”
When Don was in his later teenage years he found 2 abandon twin fawns; a male & female which he had been watching for 2 days, noticing the dead doe up the road. Donnie placed the fawns in his pocket from the hayfield. “Buckeyes” ( because he was a buck); lived, along with “ Squeaky” a baby raccoon, who came long shortly after the fawns that year. When you came to the farm, be prepared for the security guards” Buckeyes & Squeaky, they were inseparable. Buckeyes (with Squeaky at his side) would stand at the car door & not let you out until someone from the family let the animals know that the visitors were okay to be there.
One afternoon a tractor salesman came to the farm. Unknown to the tractor salesman when he got out of the car. Buckeyes & Squeaky noticed the stranger, & had to bringing up the rear, to investigate the circumstances. When the salesman saw the deer & raccoon he yelled:” Thompson if you want to buy a tractor you will have to come to town! This place is crazy!” Don & his Dad Jim laughed & laughed with the added entertainment for the afternoon.
The local neighbors boys would throw sticks & rocks at Buckeyes as a growing fawn. As Buckeyes grew, Buckeyes got his revenge by chasing the neighborhood boys to & from the school bus nudging them in the fanny as they got on & off the school bus to their house twice a day.
Don loved his family very much, attending as many activities as he could as an independent, hard working business man. Who is loved and missed very much. Memories help to soften the loss.
Don leaves: his Mother Laura (Wilson) Thompson.
Wife: Billie Speakman
His best friend growing up & later cousin, also known a “Laura’s second son” Bud Minnie (Sherri).
Children: Bonnie (Roger), Ed (Carmen),Rhonda, Karen (Wade), Christine, Jay (Melisa).
Stepchildren: Patricia, Steve (Connie), Tami, Stephanie, Christopher & Lucinda (Josh).
Grandchildren: Johnathan (Melisa),Christopher, Nicholas (Kawni), Josh (Mary), Brittany (Devin), Jason (Cassedy), Rihanna, Jasmine, Zoey, Logan, Lucius, Ashley.
Great Grandchildren: Aspen, Madison, Cale, Addy.
Don is preceded in death by his Dad; James Allen, Joan & stepson; Christopher, his Grandparents: Thompson’s, Wilson’s, & Elliotts. Several Aunts, Uncles (who called Donnie “Butch) & Cousins.
A loving final vision from Don was seeing the light. Don turned around with a huge smile on his face, fell to his knees onto the couch.
We can envision the welcoming committee; arms wide open with huge hugs from Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the Angels singing with celebration followed by Dons family & friends, welcoming Don home. What a glorious day!
Don would expect us to carry on our lives with love and compassion, doing what’s right to serve God & the Lords people, & take care of our families. Don’t be afraid. Rejoice because someday we will all leave a legacy too.
Pallbears: Bud, Jay,Wade, Steve, Johnathan, Christopher. (In standing Roger & Josh)
Visitation will be held from 6-8 PM, Thursday, October 28, 2021, at Watson & Sons Funeral Home in Center with funeral service at Noon on Friday. Bro. Gordon Vaughn will officiate. A Graveside service for final resting will occur at Restland Memorial Park outside of Carthage, TX. Immediately after this service. Follow the precession with Dons final truck ride.
Online condolences & tributes can be sent at www.watsonandsonsfuneralhome.com