Donald "Don" Williams '48 September 15, 2023 6:25 PM updated: October 4, 2023 9:10 AM
Donald Eugene Williams
April 4, 1927 - September 7, 2023
Services for Donald Eugene Williams are 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at Criswell Chapel in Ada, OK. Burial will follow at Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends on Monday, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.
Donald Eugene Williams was born April 4th, 1927, in Tahoka, TX, the first-born child of Nathaniel Hawthorne Williams and Georgia Lavida Maggart Williams. His parents were both educators, and his father held a variety of progressively more senior positions in school systems in West Texas as they raised their family, which soon included Natilynne and Gwendolyn. Don attended the school where his father was an administrator as they moved, graduating from high school in Ballinger, Texas in 1944.
As most young men of the time, he had a strong desire to join the military and eventually attended officer’s candidate school at LSU and was commissioned lieutenant in the US Army. By the time he finished training, WWII had ended and he was sent to join the post war occupational forces in Korea. He had many entertaining stories of his military life, the last of which ended with his hitchhiking journey home to see his family upon being decommissioned.
He enrolled in Texas A&M University which was an all-men’s school at the time. There were many road trips taken to Texas Women’s College in Denton, Texas by young men of that age. Don was set up with a blind date for one spring dance, and met the roommate of his date, a sparkling young lady named Katie Kincaid. He and Katie began a mail correspondence that blossomed into a serious relationship and eventual marriage in August of 1949. Don continued his education at Texas A&M as they lived in married student housing and graduated with a degree in Veterinary Medicine in 1951.
Upon graduation, they moved to Abilene, Texas to join a three-man veterinary practice and became proud parents of Nathan Lanius in September 1951. Don soon became eager to have his own business and with the help of loans from family, bought the Ada Veterinary Clinic in Ada, Oklahoma and moved their young family to Oklahoma in 1953. Katie worked the front desk and the combination of her warm personality and Don’s veterinary expertise soon proved their business a success. Their family expanded as they welcomed daughters Donna Jean in June of 1956 and Laura Kathryn in December of 1957. The family had many adventures in Ada with a growing business, a home moving/building project, community and church involvement and raising three active, unique children. This also included a year spent in Stillwater in family student housing during which Katie and Don both earned Master’s degrees.
In 1969, Don became ready for a new challenge and sold his veterinary practice to his partners and joined Oklahoma Charolais Ranch as General Manager, trailblazing the importation of the French Charolais breed into the United States. In 1970, he became the first staff veterinarian for Hitch Enterprises in Guymon, Oklahoma, supervising herd health for three feedlots. With Nat in college at Brown University, Katie and the girls began putting down roots in Guymon.
Don eventually managed the Henry C. Hitch feedlot from 1975 to 1982 and spearheaded a project of natural hormone free beef in the early 80’s called Hitch Ranch Beef. He was named one of the “25 Who Made a Difference” by Beef Magazine in 1989, has received the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association’s Practitioner of the Year, and the 1984 AABP/Merck Award for Excellence in Preventive Medicine. Don has served as President of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association, President of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and of the National Cattleman’s Foundation.
He was selected as one of the outstanding TAMU College of Veterinary Medicine alumni in 2001. Also in 2001 he received the AABP Amstutz-Williams Award for Distinguished Service. In 2013 he was inducted into the Cattle Production Veterinary Hall of Fame.
As Don held professional jobs, he always had sideline cattle ventures. He owned a 150-cow dairy in Ada, Oklahoma, fed cattle in various feedlots in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, operated an order buying firm, buying cattle for feedlots and customers, and ran stocker cattle in South Dakota, Kansas and Nebraska.
In 1991, Don and Katie semi-retired and moved back to Ada, Oklahoma, and established a herd of registered Angus Cows because he wanted to “live somewhere it rained” after years in the Oklahoma Panhandle. They bought a home on the edge of town that sat upon 150 acres, and he proceeded to pull all of his stuck vehicles out of the mud for the next several years after heavy rains. Be careful what you wish for.
Katie’s Alzheimer’s progressed over the next several years. Don took excellent care of her every day, until he could no longer provide the care she needed. In 1998, Katie moved into a memory care facility in Ada, and he went to see her faithfully every day for seven years until she passed away in 2005.
Later that year, he married an old acquaintance, Carol Scroggins, eventually moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 2006. They had many good times and traveled together internationally until Carol also succumbed to Alzheimer’s in 2015. After which Don moved to assisted living in Perryton, Texas where daughter Donna and husband Rex Mann lived. The staff and residents of his facility were blessed with his wit and interference for 7 years with great care by Donna and Rex until his care needed exceeded the Perryton facility capabilities and he moved to a memory care facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico near son Nat. Our family and the world were deprived of his presence on September 7th, 2023.
Don is survived by son Nat and wife Cathy Brett, daughter Donna and husband Rex Mann, daughter Laura and husband William Toellner. He lavished much attention in his retired years on his grandchildren, Stephen Williams and wife Jen, Kate Muller and husband Rob, Charlie Mann and wife Kristen, Mark Mann and wife Caitlyn, Jenny Russell and husband Tyler, Greg Grunewald and wife Laura, Sarah Dorsey and husband Dustin, Sage Minnick and wife Danielle, Dallyn Visone and husband Tyler, and Bailor Toellner and wife Blake. He is also survived by 20 very special great grandchildren.