Don was born in Oklahoma City in 1930. His mother was from Illinois. She met her husband, Don’s father, in high school. She was two years ahead in school and was a social worker until they were married. Don’s father ran a mattress factory.
Don had a huge love of airplanes. He owned his own plane at 18 years of age. Because of that, he decided to train as an aircraft engine expert at Pratt Whitney where he was taught about jet engines.
At age 16, Don and his friend started playing tennis together. At first, Don didn’t have the hang of it; he played incorrectly. Soon, however, he rose to be number two on his high school team. He went on to play as an amateur, internationally. At one time, their team beat the NCAA Champions. In 1965, their team played in the International Tour in Copenhagen and Don won the first tournament. Unfortunately, their team ultimately lost the tournament.
In 1961, at 31 years of age, Don met Evelyn at a teaching conference in San Antonio. The first night they met, he asked her to dance. He then asked her if she loved him and she responded, “I don’t know.” Don says Evelyn is, “4’11”, but she’s feisty.” The couple dated for one year before getting married. Evelyn had one son from a previous marriage; he was 3 years old when they married. In the 56 years since, they have had 6 children! They now have 20 grandchildren and numerous great grandchildren.
During his career, Don worked for TWA/American as a Service Manager. He wrote the regulations for the Service Managers for American. He was a graduate assistant in French at the University of Oklahoma and also taught Latin and French in Oklahoma City. When he retired, American gave Don a brick that is currently in the DFW Air Museum. In 1952, during the Korean War, Don was drafted into the Army.
As a retired senior, Don loves to travel. He speaks Spanish, French, and Italian! He also loves crossword puzzles. When you ask him, he believes that “the secret to a happy life is your attitude. It’s not so much about what happens to you, but how you react to it.” Also, having a job you like is very important. Be adaptable and always look at the bright side.
We should all have an attitude like Don and we’d probably be a lot happier. Definitely wise words to live by.