Donald Wayne Wilson
FEBRUARY 13, 1955 – DECEMBER 9, 2022
Donald Wayne Wilson peacefully left this earth and walked through the Gates of Glory, Friday morning, at 3:01, December 9, 2022, with his wife Lori, and daughter Susannah by his side. Don, or Donald, depending on how you knew him, lived a life whose impact will be felt for generations to come.
Donald was born February 13, 1955 in Dumas, Texas. He was raised at Midkiff, Texas, along with his brother and sisters, in the “gas camp” of El Paso Natural Gas, the company his daddy worked for. Donald and his siblings had a childhood that television shows are made of. There was love, respect, and discipline in the home, and a lifetime of memories made with all the other families in the camp. He rode a bus 50 miles, each way, to attend school in Big Lake, Texas. As a Reagan County Owl he participated in athletics, focusing on football and track. What may surprise some people, is that Donald was also in choir! He loved to sing and play guitar. Donald’s true sport growing up was baseball. He was an excellent player! After high school he went to Cisco Junior College to continue his baseball career, but the program was dropped his first semester. That didn’t matter, because it left Donald more time to pursue rodeo. He was a true wild bull rider and he loved his rodeo! He was at the College National Finals Rodeo for bull riding in 1974 as a member of the CJC Rodeo Team and proudly wore that buckle his whole life. He rode the rodeo circuit as time allowed, even competing in rodeos later with the Texas Police Officers Rodeo Association, all the way to their State Finals, but GOD had a different plan for Donald’s life.
While in college, Donald was recruited and selected to serve his country in a way like very few ever were. For six years, he was part of a highly secret division of the CIA and completed countless missions overseas as a member of an elite team known as The Assassins. Due to a 50 year non-disclosure agreement, this time in Donald’s life has been shared with very few people, but the world deserves to know the sacrifices this brave man made for his country.
In 1976 Donald went to work for the San Angelo Police Department, but continued to serve our nation covertly on overseas “missions,” until 1980. He served our city for almost 30 years, retiring in 2005, at the rank of Lieutenant, but serving as the acting Captain of the night shift. It was at the police department that Donald became known as Don Wilson, the way he introduced himself. He was the face of Crime Stoppers for many years. He worked in nearly every division with the department, but his favorites were motors and the night shifts. Everyone knows nights is where the action is, and that is always where Don wanted to be. He was respectfully called “Fireant,” with good reason, or simply “LT” by his troops. He was the kind of leader everyone would want, never asking anyone to do something he wouldn’t do himself and always having the backs of those he led. In a fight you could know Don would hold up his end, and yours too if needed. The only way he would have stopped fighting was if he was killed.
Don was married to Diane Wilson for over 20 years, until her passing in 2010. He loved Diane, and her son Denver, who he raised and considered his own from the time Denver was 9 years old. Don loved coaching Denver in little league baseball and being part of every school event throughout Denver’s life.
It was in the summer of 2011 that Don and Lori were able to reconnect. They had known each other since Don went to work at the police department, where Lori’s dad was his sergeant. A special life-long friendship turned into an even more special life-long love and Don and Lori married. Don loved Lori with all his heart and loved her four children too, but the one that stole his heart forever was Susannah, “Blondie” to Donald. He would do anything for that little girl. He loved being a dad to a young ‘un again and immersed himself in her life, attending every event she ever participated in. Watching her grow and shine was one of his greatest joys. He was immeasurably proud of her.
Don’s church family was also very important to him. He was honored to serve at the San Angelo Cowboy Church, where a special group of lifelong friends have been made. Donald was very private about his relationship with Jesus, but make no mistake, this man knew and loved the LORD. Don was also a Master Mason and the past Master of the Christoval Lodge and the Sprayberry Lodge.
Donald had to (temporarily) leave behind his wife, Lori Kay Watkins Wilson, his “step” children, Denver (Samantha) Moore, Susannah Mann, Savannah Mann, Samantha Mann, Dillon Mann, and grandchildren, Christopher Moore, Kurtis Mann and Lana Mann. Also surviving Donald are his sisters, Brenda (George) Tucker, Janice (Bob) Morris, and Sheryl (Sandy) Wilson. There are so many other family members and friends! Along with Diane, Donald was preceded in death by his parents, and his brother Ricky Aaron (Sandy)Wilson, who were waiting in heaven to welcome him home.
We are forever changed because of Donald Wayne Wilson. He was a great man. The last of the John Wayne type of men. There are not enough words to describe him and the impact he made. To honor Donald, the family asks that memorial gifts be made to Warrior’s Heart Foundation, which is very near and dear to our heart, or to Hospice of San Angelo.