On Sunday, September 13, 2020, Don L. Clark, loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and lifelong friend to many, peacefully passed away at his home at the age of 83.
Funeral Services for Don will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Central United Methodist Church with Pastor Carol Roberts and Greg Harman officiating; burial with Masonic Rites will follow at Rocky Creek Cemetery. Visitation will be held Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at Blaylock Funeral Home. Arrangements are under the direction of Blaylock Funeral Home of Brownwood.
Don, son of J.W. and Bessie (McMeans) Clark, was born on March 9, 1937, in Valera, Texas, but soon became a lifelong resident of Brownwood, Texas. In sixth grade, Don met the love of his life, Elna. They married on January 27, 1957. Completely smitten with her, she remained the love of his life for over 63 years of marriage.
He began working for Santa Fe Railroad in 1955. Throughout his 43 years with the railroad, Don was recognized as a skilled switchman, brakeman and conductor. He also served as a local union representative for the United Transportation Union and he retired from Burlington Northern Santa Fe in 1998.
A strong Christian, Don was a member of Central United Methodist Church for 55 years, most recently in the Fidelis Sunday School Class. Don also participated in Walk to Emmaus, periodically serving as assistant table leader, table leader or the coveted “Cookie Monster.”
Don was a Master Mason and a member of Brownwood Masonic Lodge #279. He received his 50-year member recognition in 2011. At the time of his passing, Don had been a member of the lodge for just shy of 60 years.
A dedicated member of the Lake Brownwood Dam Volunteer Fire Department, he played a key role in fundraising for infrastructure and equipment. Gregarious, Don welcomed community members to reunions, potlucks, birthday celebrations, quilting gatherings, Thursday dominoes, and numerous other gatherings. At his death, he was the president of the DVFD, a position he held for many years. Don also served on the Brown County Appraisal District Board.
Don was an athlete his whole life. He played football for the BHS Lions. His true love was baseball. He was an avid fan of the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. His involvement in youth sports began in 1966 when he coached his first Little League team. After coaching his sons’ teams for many years, he continued watching his grandsons play baseball. When he entered a batting cage at age 70 to hit a few baseballs, he turned to Elna and declared, “I need to find a Little League team to coach.” Don and Elna travelled many miles supporting his grandchildren in sporting activities and dance events. Don and Elna supported Lion football by purchasing season tickets and attending games for over 50 years and continued to attend basketball and volleyball games.
Don loved the lake. He was quite adept at slalom skiing, often allowing others to climb on his back as he glided across the water. He innertubed on Lake Brownwood on large black rubber truck tubes, long before it was done with fancy toys from sporting goods stores. The lake was an integral part of the Clark children’s upbringing. Don made it a priority to spend many days at the lake, making memories with his family.
Don was a member of the “Lunch Bunch,” enjoying lunch together with like-minded Christian men almost every week for several years. These men shared a love of family, but they could (and would) tell a tall tale and appreciated a good laugh. Don had many friends, but these lunch friends were some his most treasured.
An amazing father to three adoring children: Laro, Cristi, and Kelly, he deeply loved his family and dedicated his life to raising these children as followers of the teachings of Christ. In everything, Don led by example. He often publicly gave back to his community, but Don also served his fellow man in anonymity. There were many individuals and families that Don quietly helped with no recognition. He provided groceries for the hungry and Christmas gifts for children who would otherwise have nothing under their tree. He served his Lord, not for praise or accolades, but because he believed it was part of his walk with Christ.
Don was especially proud of his grandchildren. He valued education and encouraged each grandchild to pursue a career they loved. He was proud that all his grandchildren pursued a college education. Don was especially grateful that he had two grandsons serving in the United States Air Force, and another grandson serving in law enforcement.
There are many words to describe Don: husband, Dad, Big Daddy, brother, uncle, cousin, leader, generous, selfless, family patriarch, domino player, rancher, welder, hay hauler, elk hunter, biplane passenger, railroad man, water skier, train lover, traveler, servant, story teller, humorist, card player, baseball lover, accidental dog owner. Depending on who you were, he answered to: Donnie-Boy, Don Johnny, Pepe Coyote, Jack, Henry, The Captain, Coach, loyal friend . . . and a son of the Father. But above all else, Don belonged to God. He was ours for only a short time, but his legacy will continue through all who knew him.
Don is proceeded in death by his parents, John Wiley (J.W.) and Bessie Clark; his brothers, Bobby Clark and Pat Clark; his sister, Brenda Carroll. He is survived by his loving wife, Elna; his children and their spouses: Laro and Susan Clark of Abilene, Cristi and Larry Jones of Denver, and M. Kelly and Caroline Clark of Lubbock; his sister, Mary Beth Felch of Brownwood; his grandchildren: Kyle and Amy Jones, Kreg and Kayla Jones, Clark and Christine Jones, Kara Jones, Kelsey Clark, Connor Clark, and Allie Clark; and his great grandchildren: Charlotte Jones, Jordan Jones, Kash Jones, and Clayton Jones. Don also leaves behind numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and other lifelong friends.
As he looks back from heaven, we can still hear him saying, “Y’all come on now.”
When Don would sign off, he would always remind us to do one simple thing and we pass that admonition along to you: “Watch out for the trains, my friend.”
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to the Central United Methodist Church (1501 2nd Street, Brownwood, Texas 76801). Online condolences for the family are welcome at www.blaylockfuneralhome.com.