He was raised in Eunice, La, and graduated from St. Edmonds High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was later recruited for the Special Forces Rifle and Pistol Team.
After returning to civilian life, he became a terminal manager before being recruited into the floor covering industry in Houston where he advanced to Vice President of the Stephens Distributing Co. and ultimately became a successful floor covering agent.
Don and his wife, Dianne, enjoyed yachting and entertaining on their boats. They enjoyed being active members of Lakewood Yacht Club. Don was an avid world traveler, furthering his love of history and meeting people.
Upon retirement, Don enjoyed spending time with friends and family on Key Allegro Island in Rockport. He also returned to his boyhood passion by becoming a rancher in Goliad. Don and Dianne quickly fell in love with the people of Goliad. After a short time, when someone asked Don where he was from, he simply said “Goliad” with pride and a big smile.
Don adopted four “wild mustangs,” the first members of his ranch animal haven that he loved to share with family and friends. He often said when he found the ranch, he found himself.
Don was always quick to say thank you for even the smallest kindness. He had the gift of making everyone feel special. With infectious enthusiasm, he lived life to the fullest.
Don was preceded in death by his father and mother, John and Dolly DeLay. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 33 years, Dianne Dean DeLay; his daughters Stephanie DeLay Edmiston (Bobby) and Jessica DeLay Frankel (Mike); his grandchildren Ashley and Jesse Edmiston, Hannah and Peyton Tilley; his brother George B DeLay (Tina); his brother-in-law Don Dean (Cindy); mother of his daughters Joycelyn Bertrand DeLay; nieces, nephews, cousins, and many compassionate friends.
His love for his wife, family, friends and animals kept him going during challenging days. He felt he was the luckiest man to have so many friends and health care professionals who helped him continue “living the dream” during his four-plus year courageous battle with cancer, and the family is deeply grateful to each and every one.
Memorial Services will be held at Goliad Funeral Home Chapel on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 1 p.m.
In appreciation, Don wants his friends to join the family in a special time to share memories and enjoy good food. A Celebration of Life Reception will be held at the Goliad Club following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Goliad Pet Adoption or The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Hot Springs, S.D.
Goliad Funeral Home, 414 W Ward Street, Goliad, TX 77963, 361-645-1104.