Don was born in a log cabin outside of Durant, Oklahoma to Mary and Oscar Nelson on September 15, 1940. He was raised by his Aunt and Uncle Dorothy and Vernon Nelson of Hillsboro, Texas after his mother died of complications following childbirth. He met his wife, Judy Ilene Daniel, in Hillsboro in 1960 and they were married in Ft. Worth, Texas on March 23, 1962. Don was the father to three boys Greg, Gary and Grant. The first family home was a few miles from the TCU campus and Don became a staunch supporter of the university and its athletic programs. In 1969, the family moved to Waxahachie where Don and Vernon formed Nelson and Son Contracting as cable contractors for Southwestern Bell and later transitioned to irrigation, installing and repairing sprinkler systems. Don was heavily involved in athletic programs locally: coaching little league baseball, the Waxahachie American Legion baseball teams, working on the chain gang, and operating the play clock for WHS home football games for over 40 years. He also served on the board of the Waxahachie Housing Authority for over 40 years. He was an avid golfer, winning club championships in both Red Oak and Waxahachie and recorded an amazing 15 hole-in-ones during his lifetime. Some of his favorite memories were on the golf course playing with Judy, his boys, or his many friends at the local golf club.
Don passed away peacefully on January 17, 2024 at Baylor Scott and White Hospital in Waxahachie surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his parents Mary and Oscar Nelson, his aunt and uncle Dorothy and Vernon Nelson, his in-laws Ila and Troy Daniel and his sister Bonnie Delashaw. He is survived by his wife Judy of Waxahachie, his son Greg and wife Kelly of Montgomery, TX, his son Gary and wife Amy of Frisco, TX and son Grant and wife Jessica of Waxahachie. His grandchildren: Courtney and husband Rob Neuenschwander, Megan and husband Brandon Bludau, Daniel Nelson, Noah Nelson, Mila Nelson and Brigg Nelson. His great grandchildren: Mackenzie, Blakely, Asher, Beckett and Logan. His sister-in-law Joan Arlene Stiller, his nieces Donna and husband Steve Dow, Diana Delashaw, Tracy and husband Rodney Phillips and nephew Troy Willmon.
Visitation will be held Monday, January 22, 2024 from 9:00 to 10:00 AM at Pathway Baptist Church in Waxahachie, TX. Services will immediately follow at 10:00 AM. Interment at Laurel Land Cemetery in Ft. Worth, TX will follow that afternoon at 2:00 PM. Honorary Pallbearers will be Ron Craddock; Rodney Phillips; Bill Roberts; Terry Lawrence; Carter Royal; Mel Thomas; Zach Drain; Steve Wallace; Dusty Autrey, Ray Crone Sr., Lonnie Gaylor and Zip Drain.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ALS Association or Pathway Baptist Church.