Donald Morris Free

July 25, 1952November 6, 2012

After a valiant fight, Donald Morris Free, 60, of Austin, died on the 6th of November 2012, from complications of severe neuroinvasive disease, which occurred after contracting the West Nile virus.

Don was born on the 25th of July 1952 to Morris and LaVerne Free, of Austin. He graduated from John H. Reagan High School in 1970 and from the University of Texas in 1974, with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.

Out of college, he worked for Applied Research Laboratories, working on U.S Navy submarine sonar systems. Don was employed at National Instruments in Austin. Previous employers include Modular Power, Rolm Corporation, IBM, Pioneer Standard, Solectron, Power One, Universal Lighting, Celestica Corporation, Newisys and Solar Bridge Technologies. Don also taught as an adjunct professor at Austin Community College for more than twenty years.

He was married to Suzanne Julian Free for twenty-eight years. He has a step-daughter, Julia Ann Burns, 37, of Elgin, TX and a son, Jason Prescott Free, 25, of Austin. Don was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife; son; step-daughter; sister, Gale Ashley, her husband, Mike and nephew, Dustin.

Don was a member of Riverbend Church of Austin. He played baseball in school, liked to fish, play golf and follow the Texas Longhorns. He was a selfless person who loved his family and friends. Don worked tirelessly and selflessly as an engineer, around his house and property to better his family.

The family would like to thank the wonderful, compassionate doctors and nurses at Seton ICU and Texas Neuro Rehab Center, both in Austin. A visitation will be held on Sunday, the 11th of November 2012 from four o’clock in the afternoon until six o’clock in the evening at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin.

The funeral service will be conducted on Monday, the 12th of November 2012 at two o’clock in the afternoon at Riverbend Church’s Smith Chapel, 4214 North Capital of Texas Highway, Austin. Officiating will be Pastor Dean Busboom, from Riverbend Church, and Pastor Karl Gronberg, of Gethsemane Lutheran. The burial will immediately follow the service at Austin Memorial Park, 2800 Hancock Drive, Austin.

Pallbearers will be Kelly Butler, Charley Wenzel, John Stockton, Traugott Johnson, Ron Johnson and Dustin Ashley.

Memorial gifts may be made to the American Cancer Society or to the charity of your choice.

Condolences may be sent to


  • Visitation Sunday, November 11, 2012
  • Funeral Service Monday, November 12, 2012

Donald Morris Free

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Kris Dehnel

November 21, 2012

My condolences and prayers be with Don's family. I worked with Don many times starting with ROLM in 1981. He always brought a friendship and comraderie to the workplace that many others did not have. He always shared his interest in scientific and technical subjects with me and others around him. We will miss his friendship and humor.

Paul Frazier

November 20, 2012

My condolences to the family for his passing. i worked with him at SBT and found him to be one of the good people you can meet in the course of life. My prayers to the family.

Siva Sivasankar

November 20, 2012

I worked with Don briefly at SolarBridge and found him to be a very helpful, kind and gentle person. My deepest sympathies and prayers to the family.

Geoffrey Schecht

November 20, 2012

I first worked with Don at Newisys in 2003 and then once again at SolarBridge in 2011. My memories are of Don as a treasured friend and wonderful colleague. My deepest condolences.

Steve Miller

November 14, 2012

I never got to meet Don, but Suzanne is my cousin and I know her and her family from childhood trips to Texas. All my love and support go to Suzanne and her family at this time.

Dudley Piland

November 13, 2012

Farewell my Longhorn friend!!!! The days we spent in the Taylor Tea Room and engineering classes helped mold the persons we became. You will be missed.

May the Peace that passes all understanding be with Don's family and friends during these trying times. May God bless each of us with refreshed memories of our dear friend.

Denise Court

November 13, 2012

Jason - so sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. Thinking of you.

Don Francis

November 13, 2012

I did not mean to make my entry anonymous:
"November 10, 2012
Don was my best friend in high school and college. He also was best man in my wedding. We spent many hours and days together involved with our common interests including electronics. He will be forever fondly remembered for his wit, kindheartedness, and friendship."

Bill Kulpa

November 12, 2012

I'm really sorry to hear about Don, we've worked together in several different jobs. He will be missed.

Carolyn Greene

November 11, 2012

I wanted to extend my condolences to Don's family. I worked with Don at Newisys, and remember his kind, quiet, wry ways. I'm so sorry to hear of his passing.