The angels called Don Otis Willett, age 87, of Lumberton, to Heaven, and he passed away peacefully on Saturday morning, April 8, 2023, from complications of COPD illness at Harbor Hospice in Beaumont, Texas. He was very brave, never complained, and tried to beat his illness but couldn’t win the fight. He was born June 6, 1935, to M.O. and Lucille Willett, in Newton, Texas.
Don grew up in Beaumont, graduated from French High School in 1953. After graduating from high school, Don served in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic on B-47. After getting out of service, he became an elevator mechanic and retired from Elevator IUEC Local 31. He was a licensed pilot for a time. He worked in the air conditioning field for a while. He was a 32 degree Master Mason in the Grand Lodge of Texas, Beaumont Lodge #286, member of Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and a member of El Mina Shriners. These organizations were very important to him but in his late years he couldn’t participate in activities.
Don loved going to air shows and attended hundreds of them, fishing and camping at Crystal Beach and Sandy Creek. His home hobby was working on model airplanes in his hobby shop. He and his wife made many trips during his life in their RV, going to Colorado, Las Vegas, northwest to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Yellowstone, Florida, and many other places. In later years, the favorite place was Sandy Creek at Dam B. He also enjoyed exercise classes at Baptist Hospital and the Diagnostic Pulmonary Class before Covid took those classes away from him. Don read a lot especially airplane magazines galore. Don loved and adored his wife and all pet cats and was a very happy and personable person to everyone he came in contact with. He will be missed by everyone who knew him.
Left to honor his memory is his loving wife of over 46 years, Dora Willett; son, Chris Willett and wife, Pam; sister-in-law, Pat Walters; niece, Tricia Williams and husband, Mark; nephew, Eric Walters and wife, Shelley; and a host of great nieces and nephews, extended family members, many loving friends, and of course, furry cat, Dumpling.
He is preceded in death by his son, Dale Willett; and parents.
The family would like to thank everyone from Harbor Hospice for Don’s home health care over the past few months. All nurses and aides were kind and considerate towards him. Thanks so much to his neighbors and close friends who talked with him to help care for him during these last few months.
Visitation will be on Saturday, April 15, 2023, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Lumberton Family Funeral Home. Don’s Celebration of Life will begin at 1:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to Baptist Beaumont Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary, P.O. Box 1591, Beaumont, TX 77704; The Humane Society of Southeast Texas, 2050 Spindletop Ave., Beaumont, TX 77705-6222; or Harbor Foundation, P.O. Box 21463, Beaumont, Texas 77720.
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