December 16, 1940 - November 6, 2016
Donald “Don” Gene James, 75, of Dallas, Texas, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on Sunday, November 6, 2016 after a year and a half battle with ALS. Born December 16, 1940 in Fairland, Oklahoma to Euchalata and Erna James. Don lived most of his life in Dallas, Texas and was a member of Cornerstone Christian Church and, for many years prior, was a member of Valley View Christian Church.
Don attended Oklahoma State University graduating in 1962 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. His first job brought him to Dallas, Texas where he would settle down and marry a girl that he had known since childhood, Dora Crowson James from Miami, Oklahoma. They were married for 39 years before cancer ushered Dora home to be with the Lord in 2004. Don was blessed to fall in love again with another Godly woman whom he married in 2005, Margaret Elaine Myers James. Together, they served the Lord and each other until Elaine was gathered into the arms of the Lord in April 2016.
Don started a network cabling company Instalnet in 1990 that he worked for until his retirement in 2004 to take care of his wife who was battling cancer. He always said that his favorite working years were at Bennett Enterprises which was a small company manufacturing transmission controls for oilfield drilling. Don was hired as Chief Engineer and spent many years managing the company’s engineering department. Under his care, it grew to 80 employees working 3 shifts seven days a week. He stayed with the company until the oilfield crash in the early 80s. There he made lifelong friends who he stayed in contact with his entire life.
Don was a passionate man who enjoyed working with his hands. Whether it was a rebuilding an engine for one of his many cars, electrical issues, building golf clubs, or woodworking, he always had a project that he enjoyed spending time on. He volunteered for many years working on the McKinney Avenue Trolley with his son, Joel. Don very much enjoyed sports throughout his life by coaching his boys, playing golf and planning golf tournaments, plus watching his grandkids play. He always attended their games. Don had a silly sense of humor and always had a joke to tell. He loved to make people laugh. Music was his favorite hobby and he enjoyed singing weekly in the church choir first at Valley View Christian Church and later at Cornerstone Christian Church. He was an avid lover of barbershop music and a longtime member of the Big D Barbershop Chorus. He loved to sing in the quartets that traveled to serenade folks on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and other special occasions. His greatest performance, of course, was singing at his son’s engagement party. J Don was a diverse man with many talents and hobbies.
If there was one thing that could be said about Don, it was that he loved to serve. He had a heart for helping people with anything at any time of the day or night. Unless you were a recipient of his helping hand, no one would know because he did it from his heart and not for recognition. His influence was felt in many directions whether through his church families, golfing buddies, decades-long donut shop group, Big D and Men of Note family, the McKinney Avenue Trolley, the barbershop, annual school reunions, work relationships, and many others. Don was a loving servant to all.
Don is survived by his son Damon James and wife Carmela of Dallas, Texas and grandkids Ava and Dalton; son Joel James and wife Rene of College Station, Texas and granddaughter Davina; brother Norman James and wife Jo of Tulsa, Oklahoma; brother Gobel James of Scottsdale, Arizona; stepdaughters Elizabeth Byard and husband Rick of Dallas, Texas, Julia Switzer and husband Kevin of Woodbine, Kansas and Carla Pratt and husband Todd of North Richland Hills, Texas; step-sister Ann Wertz of Royse City, Texas and step-brother William Wertz of Spring Field, Missouri plus many extended family and close friends whom he considered brothers and family of his own. Don served the Lord with his words and actions and leaves behind a legacy of faith in the Heavenly Father and love for his family.
A Memorial Service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Cornerstone Christian Church located at 2700 Christian Parkway, Dallas, Texas 75234.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Project ALS at www.projectals.org.
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