Don J. McDermett of Dallas, Texas, died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Edgemere Retirement Community. He was born on June 26, 1934 in Crosbyton, Texas, and was the only child of his beloved parents, Eunice and J. W. McDermett. During the Great Depression his father worked for the Farmer's Home Administration and Don moved with his parents among several small towns on the high plains of West Texas. His parents eventually settled in Morton, Texas (60 miles west of Lubbock) where he played football and basketball and met the...
Don J. McDermett of Dallas, Texas, died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Edgemere Retirement Community. He was born on June 26, 1934 in Crosbyton, Texas, and was the only child of his beloved parents, Eunice and J. W. McDermett. During the Great Depression his father worked for the Farmer's Home Administration and Don moved with his parents among several small towns on the high plains of West Texas. His parents eventually settled in Morton, Texas (60 miles west of Lubbock) where he played football and basketball and met the love of his life, Carolyn Cox, who became his high school sweetheart and eventually, his wife and partner for life.
After graduating from Morton High School, Don attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, graduating with a finance degree. While at Texas Tech, Don was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and the Saddle Tramps men's spirit organization. He and Carolyn married in 1955 and had two sons, Don Jr., born in 1958 and J. Scott, born in 1961.
From 1958 to 1964, Don was in the John Deere farm equipment business with his father and uncle in Crosbyton, Texas. In 1964, he and Carolyn and their two young sons moved to Seymour, Texas, where Don launched McDermett Equipment Company, his own John Deere farm equipment dealership. He owned and operated this highly successful dealership until selling it in 1992. In 1973, Don was named one of the top 100 John Deere dealers in the country. Don won many John Deere award trips to destinations around the world, including Australia, Hawaii, Bermuda and Nassau. He also loved taking his customers on John Deere factory trips to Waterloo, Iowa and Moline, Illinois. In addition to selling and servicing farm equipment, Don was a master at helping his customers navigate the complexities of the government's farm programs, particularly those that provided low cost financing that would facilitate the purchase of equipment. When a new program would be launched, Don would hole up in his office for days with multiple customers, guiding and counseling them so that they could take full advantage of the "helping hand" being offered by the government.
While living in Seymour, Don was active in and held leadership roles in many civic and community organizations, including the following: Member of the First United Methodist Church, serving on its Administrative Board, as Finance Chairman for four years, and as a member of the Friendship Sunday School Class; elected to two terms on the Seymour City Council; served as President of the Seymour Chamber of Commerce and as President of the Seymour Lion's Club. He also was a very active member of the Volunteer Fire Departments in both Seymour and Crosbyton.
In the late 1960's, Don began a very active farming and ranching "sideline" that became his true love and what he referred to as "his game of golf". He worked at the John Deere dealership during regular business hours, then headed for "the country" after hours and on weekends to manage and oversee his farming and ranching operations, typically with his sons at his side. He ran stocker cattle on grass pasture and dry-land wheat. He enjoyed feeding and working cattle with his family and friends. Don truly loved herding and gathering cattle with his high spirited Palomino horse, Jody Blond. Many joked that it was difficult to tell who was more high spirited or tightly wound, the horse or Don.
Don was a private pilot and loved flying. He was an avid sportsman who loved hunting, fishing, boating, snow and water skiing, and both Texas Tech and Dallas Cowboys football games, but most of all, he loved being with his family and wonderful friends.
Don was blinded in a farming accident at age 43, but he never let this slow him down and maintained an incredible attitude and outlook on life. (His amazing spirit and demeanor sometimes caused people to wonder if he was really and truly blind.) He continued to be active and live a very productive life after his accident, always having fun and spreading that fun to others. As an example of his "never quit" attitude, after his accident, Don co-founded a new business called Home Health Agency of Texas, a home health provider that grew to have 14 offices in Texas and Oklahoma, covering over 30 counties. Don was also a "frustrated engineer" and, notwithstanding his blindness, designed and oversaw the construction of an elaborate floating boathouse on Lake Kemp as well as numerous barns, cattle pens and related facilities. Don also maintained an avid "reading" schedule relying on books-on-tape supplied by the Library of Congress.
In 2008, Don and Carolyn moved to the Edgemere Retirement Community in Dallas, to be nearer to their sons and grandchildren. As was his nature, Don took full advantage of the many social events and activities that Edgemere provided.
Don is survived by the love of his life, Carolyn, his two sons that were his pride and joy, Don J. McDermett, Jr. and J. Scott McDermett, both of Dallas, and his son-in-law, Garry Cox, also of Dallas. Completing his loving family are his precious grandchildren: J. Bonner McDermett of Dallas and Megan Hilary McDermett of Indianapolis.
A Celebration of Don McDermett's life will be held on Saturday, March 18, at 2:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Edgemere Retirement Community, 8523 Thackery Street, Dallas, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that friends contribute to the charity of their choice or to either the Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind or the Books-on-Tape Program of the U.S. Library of Congress.
Arrangements under the direction of Sparkman Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Richardson, TX.