Don Earl LaBaume


August 3, 1939 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 84)

Don Earl LaBaume was born on August 3, 1939, in Dublin, Texas, to H.S. “Bunk” and Emma Spikes LaBaume. He passed from this earthly life on March 11, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. He was raised on a poultry farm between Dublin and Stephenville with his identical twin brother and two younger sisters. The family loved their life on the farm. 

During high school he and his twin, Jon, were active in FFA and had show pigs and rabbits. They had fond memories of attending and participating in the stock shows at the State Fair of Texas and Houston Livestock Show. He was voted sophomore class favorite and elected senior class president. He graduated from Dublin High School in 1958, then attended Tarleton State College for a year. He and Jon got a summer job at an air conditioner factory in Winters, Texas, where they had aunts and uncles living nearby. He was registered to return to college, but he fell in love that summer with Janice Kay Pentecost from Lawn and got on with Brown Construction Company in Abilene so he could stay in the area. In Stephenville, Jon posed as Don to withdraw him from college and get his money back. Don and Janice were to be married on October 3, 1959, at a small ceremony in Winters with just immediate family in attendance. A few days before, it rained and construction was at a halt, so they went to a preacher’s house in Abilene and were married on September 30, 1959. When Don called home to let them know, his mother was worried which way the boards in the floor ran in the preacher’s house because there was an old wives’ tale as to the longevity of the marriage based on the way the boards ran. Obviously, the boards were the correct way because at the time of Don’s passing, he and Janice were about 6 months shy of being married for 65 years.

Soon after marrying, Don joined the Army National Guard and went to training at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. During his training Janice lived with Don’s parents in Stephenville. When he got stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for a short time, Janice joined him. After completing training, Don got on with Gandy’s Dairy as a milk truck driver in Knox City, Texas and did his weekend National Guard duties at Fort Hood. While living in Knox City, they welcomed their son, Randell Don in August 1964. 

In 1965, the young family moved to Stephenville so Don could return to college at Tarleton completing his degree in general agriculture in 1967. Upon finishing college, Don took a job with the USDA’s Soil & Water Conservation Service, which is now Natural Resources Conservation Service. He was moved several places in Texas with SCS, starting in Seminole; Lamesa where their daughter Jana Donette was born in April 1968; the Panhandle towns of Stinnett and Canadian, and in 1974 he was promoted to District Conservationist and transferred to Palestine in East Texas. It was here that he and Janice raised their family. He retired after 30 years with NRCS in April 1997.

Don loved working with his hands and building, completing home remodels and making wood furniture and home decorations. For years, he had a booth at Canton Trade Days selling his wood works along with vintage western photographs. He and Janice always had a love for camping and the mountains of Colorado. They owned several campers through the years starting with a pick-up bed camper shell, pop-up camper trailer, then many large camper trailers. Their family had many camping adventures throughout the years.

Following retirement, Don was in real estate for a short time, then did cross country trucking for Swift Transportation, which he always joked that SWIFT stood for “Sure Wish I had a Faster Truck.” In the summer and fall months he and Janice served as campground hosts in the Durango, Colorado area.  Eventually they sold their home in Palestine, lived in Marble Falls, Rochester, and Abilene before relocating to Centerville, Ohio in 2017 to be near their daughter and her family.

Don grew up a believer in Christ, and for a number of years in Palestine was active in the Baptist church teaching Sunday school classes. He loved making people laugh with anecdotes, imitations, and his quick wit. The family could publish a large book of all the photographs Don made comical with his poses and/or facial expressions, usually having a witty punch line to go with it.

He was predeceased by his parents, life-long best friend and twin brother, Jon LaBaume, sister-in-law, Shirley Snow, and brother-in-law, James Haynes.

He is survived by his wife of 64½ years, Janice; his son, Randell LaBaume of Denver, CO; his daughter Jana Matteson and her husband Wayne; grandchildren Kaylie Shelton, Emily Banda and her husband, Jose, Nathan Matteson, Noah Matteson, and Carter Matteson all of Ohio; and his great-grandson Oscar Banda; sisters Ann Haynes and Jane Bell and her husband, Glen, of Austin, TX; sisters-in-law Elaine LaBaume of Floydada, TX and Nadine Sultemeier and her husband Jerry of Johnson City, TX; brother-in-law, Dalton Pentecost of Abilene, TX along with many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Services will be at 10am on Saturday, March 16 at Stephenville Funeral Home followed by internment at Erath Gardens of Memory Cemetery. Memorial donations can be made to the Dublin Historical Museum (116 W Blackjack Street, Dublin, TX 76446).

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