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Smith Funeral Home

OBITUARY

Donald Eugene Maeker

13 June, 193623 June, 2021
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Donald E. Maeker of Flatonia passed away peacefully and in the presence of family on June 23, 2021. A lifelong farmer, rancher, and avid outdoorsman, Don’s love of the land and the wildlife that flourished on it is a legacy that he leaves to his children and grandchildren and is one that will be passed down for generations.

Don was the son of Harry and Ida Maeker and was born at the family homestead on June 13, 1936. He was devoted to his parents throughout their lifetimes and as the eldest of his siblings, Kenwood and Adrienne, he took great care to be supportive and actively involved in their lives and was dedicated to his extended family.

Don is survived by his wife of 57 years, Bitta, his son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Christy Maeker of Houston, his daughter and son-in-law, Melissa Maeker and Jackson D. Logan, III of Lafayette, Louisiana, and his three grandchildren, Sydney, Barnes, and Davis. He was an especially extraordinary presence in the lives of his grandchildren and they adored him.

Don was a dedicated cattleman until the last year of his life. He was a consummate caretaker and steward of the land he called his own and his love for this country was only second to the love he had for his family. He was a member of the Army Security Agency from 1958 to 1962 and he was extremely proud of his service to his country. He spoke often to his family about his time in the service and shared stories about his travels and adventures while in the ASA. He was especially proud that his family homestead, Maeker Charolais Farm, having been established in 1907 by his great-grandparents, was awarded a 100 year Family Land Heritage award from the Texas Land Commissioner in 2008.

Don was a lifetime member of the University of Texas Exes and he and Bitta were long time football season ticket holders. They faithfully attended most games, rain or shine, for many years and made numerous friends with fellow Longhorn fans who were fortunate enough to be seated near them. Row 71 on the west side of the stadium overlooking the 15 yard line was the place they called home every fall for many happy years.

Don spent the majority of his career years at Smith Farms in Flatonia and as a Loan Officer and Vice President at Fayette Savings Bank in La Grange. He was a lifetime honorary member of the La Grange Rotary Club as well as a Paul Harris Fellow. He served as a member of the Flatonia School Board for thirteen years and served on the Endowment Board of the Oak Hill Cemetery Association for forty years and was the Chair for twenty. He and Bitta also served as members of the Host and Hostess committee at Flatonia Baptist Church for fifteen years.

Special thanks to Don’s dear friends Robert Cunningham, Bryan Berger and Dr. Ira Syler. These gentlemen were especially helpful to Don upon his retirement from farm and ranch life when he could no longer keep up with the duties required of raising his cattle and tending to his family farms. They made life bearable for him when he could no longer do what he loved most to do in life and his family is grateful for their support and their dedication to him.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. at the Flatonia Baptist Church on July 10, 2021. A visitation will be held the previous evening on July 9 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home in Flatonia. A private burial service at Oak Hill Cemetery in Flatonia will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, Don’s family respectfully requests that donations be made to the Flatonia Baptist Church Sanctuary Fund, the Flatonia Fire Department or the Gardenia E. Janssen Animal Shelter in La Grange.

Don was hardworking, he was honest, he was fair and he was kind. “Pa was a great man” said the youngest of his grandchildren upon his passing. And she was right. He was dearly loved and he will be missed by those who were fortunate to have been a part of his life.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared with the Maeker family at www.smithfuneralhomeflatonia.com

Smith Funeral Home - 128 East 5th Street, Flatonia, Tx 78941 Phone #361-865-3311

  • FAMILY

  • Ariane "Bitta" Maeker, Wife
  • Harry Maeker, Father (deceased)
  • Ida Maeker, Mother (deceased)
  • Stephen Barnes Maeker (Christy), Son
  • Melissa Maeker (Jackson D. Logan III), Daughter
  • Ken Kenwood Maeker (Suzanne), Brother
  • Adrienne Brunner (Buddy), Sister
  • Sydney Maeker, Granddaughter
  • Barnes Maeker, Grandson
  • Davis Logan, Granddaughter

Services

  • Visitation

    Friday, 9 July , 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Saturday, 10 July , 2021

Memories

Donald Eugene Maeker

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Laura Pegg

11 July 2021

Uncle Don was a person you never would forget from the moment you met him. He was kind, compassionate, helpful, joyful and loving. He was a hard worker, but he also knew how to relax and have fun. He loved his family deeply especially his sweetheart, Aunt Bitta. We will all miss him and his infectious smile; most of all, Aunt Bitta will. Heaven's gain is our loss. Until we meet again one day, Uncle Don, we say farewell. We love you.

PATTI BALLARD (DONALDSON)

8 July 2021

I WAS SO SORRY WHEN MARY CALLED TO TELL ME OF DONALD'S PASSING. I HAD A FLOOD OF MEMORIES OF DONALD, KENWOOD AND HARRY WORKING CATTLE WITH DADDY AT OUR PLACE. PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE IN MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS.

Darlia Maxwell

1 July 2021

During one of the most difficult times of my life, I walked into Fayette Savings in tears, knowing I was about to lose my home.
However, Don did the unimaginable. He refinanced my mortgage with a payment I could afford, did not charge me a penny to do it, and said, "we will look at this again in 10 years if necessary, but I think you're going to be back on your feet in no time and you need not to worry about it for now".
Well, Don was right. I sold that house 3 years later and paid the loan off early. But that wasn't all that happened that day. Because of his kindness toward me, Don restored my faith in mankind and gave me hope that I still had a future beyond divorce. I believe he was the kindest person I ever met; he made a profound impact on my life. I hope by sharing my story it will bring some comfort to you all.
My sincerest condolences to your family.

Thadious Polasek

25 June 2021

Bitta and family, you are in my thoughts and prayers. My sincere sympathy. John 11:26

Fay Young

24 June 2021

Bitta, please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. My sincere sympathy to each of you.

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Biography

Donald Eugene Maeker was a modest man, quiet and observant in his ways. He was trustworthy and traditional in his approach to his life and in his relationships. He was tough-minded with the kind of “stick to it” attitude that earned the respect of all who knew him. He was also a man who was meticulous, carefully disciplined, and orderly in virtually everything he undertook. Realistic about life, he was always at the ready, prepared to take on responsibility.

      Donald was born on June 13, 1936 at home on Maeker farm in Fayette County, in the country outside Flatonia, Texas. His parents were Ida and Harry Maeker. Donald was raised in Flatonia, Texas. He was brought up to be self-confident and dependable. These were traits that would serve him well throughout his life.

      Growing up in the Maeker household was a bit different than most homes. There were good times to be had, but just as often there was a fair share of challenges as well. However, Donald was able to work through the usual family problems when they appeared, and he was the one person in the family who seemed able to keep the stress at bay. Donald was raised with two siblings. He had one younger brother Kenwood and one younger sister Adrienne. Donald was constantly involved in activities with his brothers and sisters. Donald and his siblings may have had the typical rivalries while growing up but Donald was always consistently loyal to his family.

      As a young child, Donald was never someone who needed to be the center of attention. He wasn’t pushy and never forced his way into games or other activities. Donald developed a variety of interests, though, and the things he enjoyed doing he did well. He was always curious about the world around him and was often eager to explore it. Donald took part in farm activities, FFA and raising show animals. He was a member of FFA. In his spare time he liked to read, fish and hunt. However, what Donald enjoyed most was simply playing and spending time with his many friends.

      While his teachers and even his friends generally thought of Donald as being a serious person, he managed to have a pretty good time in high school as he made that critical transition from adolescence to adulthood. He graduated from Flatonia High School in 1954. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was Ag. He raised show animals and showed them at local livestock shows.The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was Mr. Millican and was proud of getting his Lone Star farmer degree. Donald was a very logical person who enjoyed learning about factual information. Using his exceptional memory, he was able to learn much through observation. Donald always seemed to have a command of the facts and was able to make it seem as though he could easily master any problem that might be presented to him.

      College life brought with it a new set of challenges, but Donald handled them well. Being a critical thinker who always remained intellectually independent, Donald was able to focus on the task at hand in order to complete his class work. He seemed to thrive on college reading assignments, something that often bogged down his classmates. Donald was able to read the material and retain the information in a way that impressed his fellow classmates. The ability to efficiently complete the task at hand was a skill that served Donald well during his college experience. He earned his accounting certification at Baldwin Business College. His favorite course was accounting.

      Always considered to be a solid friend, Donald was fortunate to have numerous acquaintances and several very close friends during his life. Since he disliked making generalizations about people and preferred to draw his own conclusions based on direct observation, Donald was able to see beneath the surface of relationships and became a true friend to those who knew him. He was committed to his friends and valued the trust he placed in them. It was not uncommon for Donald to go beyond the call of duty for others, and friends frequently sought him out for advice because he had a knack for coming up with practical solutions to any type of dilemma. While growing up, some of his best friends were Joe Kelly, Ira Syler, Marcelyn Ray, Geraldyn Hudson and Hugo Wehmeyer. Later in life, he became friends with Pam & Robert Cunningham, Glenda & Doug Mach, Vernell & David Tauch, Jeanette & Herbert Mann, Sugar & Mike Barnes, Laura Kelly, Judy Syler and Mary Wehmeyer.

      On February 8, 1964 Donald exchanged wedding vows with Ariane Barnes at the First Baptist Church of Waelder, Texas. Compassionate and devoted to Ariane "Bitta", Donald held endearing, traditional values about marriage and family life. He took the responsibility of marriage to heart, giving it his total commitment. He was a source of strength to Ariane "Bitta" and using his gifts at nurturing one-on-one relationships, he worked hard to make his new family happy.

      Donald brought the same traditional values in his marriage to bear on how he raised his children. He was a good parent to them, always firm yet fair in his dealings. He would always listen carefully and think things through before he acted, even when it was an adverse situation. Donald was also a walking schedule, always seeming to know what everyone in the family needed to do, where they needed to be and when they needed to be there. Donald was blessed with two children, son Stephen and daughter Melissa. They were also blessed with three grandchildren, Sydney, Barnes and Davis.

      Donald greatly enjoyed what he did for a living. He was a hard worker who expected the same in return from his co-workers. He was skilled at working effectively in small groups and in one-on-one situations as well as handling solo assignments efficiently. Donald enjoyed dealing with concrete ideas and could penetrate any amount of fuzzy information to reach the essential facts. Always able to attend to the task at hand, Donald was excellent at meeting deadlines. He was an efficient worker, one who paid careful attention to detail, allowing sufficient time to complete one task before moving on to the next. His primary occupation was Office Manager at Smith Farms and Vice President of Fayette Savings Bank. He was employed for 20 years at Smith Farms and 20 years at Fayette Savings. Donald worked hard to be a team player, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done.

      Donald was an Army veteran. He was in the Army, Army Security Agency at Fort Devins in Mass. Donald saw action during the Berline Crisis. Through his hard work and dedication, he achieved the rank of Specialist 5. A literal thinker who possessed a calm exterior, Donald seemed to enjoy the routines set forth by the military. His results-oriented approach to things made him committed to the job, and he understood well his role in serving his country.

      Donald liked to experience things first-hand as well as learn about them. This trait carried over into his hobbies, where he was very methodical in how he organized his activities and categorized things. Since he enjoyed his private time, Donald always tried to allocate a specific time for working on his hobbies. His favorite pursuits were raising cattle and playing 42. Donald was content to enjoy his hobbies alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

      Donald found pleasure in sports. Being a person who was comfortable making win/lose decisions throughout life, he could appreciate that athletes made those types of decisions in sports. He applauded those who won, and he enjoyed the statistical data and sports facts and could find himself wrapped up in those details. He would watch his favorite sporting events whenever he got the opportunity. Top of his list were University of Texas football and his children's athletic events.

      Many organizations were grateful to have Donald as a member, since he always brought with him a “stick to it” attitude and a high degree of common sense. Using straightforward methods to successfully complete the job, Donald was a great planner who was incredibly well organized. It seemed that he was able to schedule any event or activity with ease. He always seemed to know exactly what needed to be done. In high school, Donald was a member of the FFA. Throughout his later years, Donald was an active member of the Flatonia School Board, the Oak Hill Cemetery Endowment Board, American Legion Post #94 and LaGrange Rotary Club.

      As a man who always showed great commitment to the things he believed in, it’s little wonder that Donald was so active in his community. Being practical and mentally disciplined, Donald preferred to base his decisions on first-hand experiences. Donald was never afraid to roll up his sleeves and dig right in. Donald was a member of several community groups, including serving on committees for the Rotary Club. Politically, Donald was a staunch Republican Patry patriot.

      Donald was a man who was dedicated and devoted to his faith. He was a member of the Flatonia Baptist Church, serving 15 years on its Host/Hostess Committee. During that time, he was a generous financial supporter. He was a sympathetic man who valued his beliefs and was willing to work tirelessly for them.

      Donald sought out practical solutions, not individual recognition. He was always grounded and objective, feeling a strong sense of responsibility for taking care of what needed to be done. This selfless attitude earned Donald many accolades for his efforts and achievements. Some of his most prestigious awards included 20 year Chairman of Oak Hill Cemetery Endowment Board, 5 time Paul Harris fellow in Rotary.

      Donald enjoyed traveling and taking vacations. Since he was an early starter and had a knack for planning everything, traveling with Donald appeared effortless. He enjoyed researching all of his examined options and applying cost-effective planning techniques. Plus, no matter where he traveled, Donald always had a back up plan at the ready, just in case. Favorite vacations included North Rim of Grand Canyon, Bryce, Alaska fishing, France and Ireland.

      Donald was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of Donald’s favorites was Lily, their white cat and Jeff, their faithful dog. They were best friends for 3 years with Lily and Jeff at least 10 years. His family was rounded out by his Longhorn steer Major.

      When Donald’s retirement finally arrived in 2001, he was well prepared. He always trusted and placed value in what was logical and in the things he knew, so he was very confident in planning his retirement. He had begun the process early and had his retirement all laid out well in advance. His new life involved staying in Flatonia. In retirement, he found new pleasure in spending more time with his family, being involved at Flatonia Baptist Church, operating 700 acres of farm and ranch land, and raising Charolais cattle. Even in retirement, Donald continued to stay in touch with his old friends while making plenty of new acquaintances. He was active in his community and felt fulfilled.

      Donald Eugene Maeker passed away on June 23, 2021 at Dell Seton Hospital in Austin, Texas. After multiple heart surgeries, he suffered a fall at home that resulted in a traumatic brain injury. He is survived by his wife "Bitta", son Stephen and wife Christy, daughter Melissa and her husband Jackson D. Logan III, his three adoring grandchildren Sydney, Barnes and Davis. Services were held at Flatonia Baptist Church in Flatonia, Texas. Donald was cremated and half of his ashes will be interred with "Bitta" when she dies and the other half will be scattered by his loving family at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

      Commitment is a key word that can be used to describe the life of Donald Eugene Maeker. He was committed to living the life of a good man who was both practical and trustworthy. He was committed to the traditional values that he upheld his entire life. He committed himself to being a hard worker who expected the same effort in return from those around him. Most of all, he was committed to those he knew and loved.