Donald (Don) Gene Kyzer

June 26, 1945November 30, 2018

Donald “Don” Gene Kyzer, age 73, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., passed away November 30, 2018 at DCH Regional Medical Center. Celebration of Life service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, December 8, 2018, at Valley View Baptist Church. Heritage Chapel Funeral Home & Cremations, a Dignity Memorial Provider, is directing. Visitation will be 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Saturday at the church.

He was the son of John Allen Kyzer, Jr. and Marie Christenberry Kyzer.

Survivors include his sisters, Ethelyn K. Stuhr of Tuscaloosa and Susan K. White (Joe) of Ball Ground, Ga.; twin brother, Ronald Dene Kyzer (Nancy) of Tellico Plains, Tenn.; four nieces, three nephews, and a large extended family.

Don was born June 26, 1945 in Tuscaloosa, attended Tuscaloosa City public schools, graduated from Tuscaloosa High School in 1963 and received a BA in Political Science from the University of Alabama in 1967.

He left this world leaving a tremendous earthly legacy. For 35 years he served in positions which allowed him to help high school students develop their leadership potential. He impacted many lives as a teacher, both at Tuscaloosa High School and at Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where he also served as a leadership administrator. While teaching, he was involved with the high school's "Hi-Y' program which led to his career with the YMCA. He served the YMCAs of Florida by providing local and state high school leadership development programs. He moved to Chicago in 1991 to join the staff of the national YMCA as the National Teen Leadership Director for all 2,400 local YMCAs in the U.S. and then as the National Director of the Y's Character Development programs. He was responsible for the rollout of the YMCA's character values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility that are now recognized and used around the world. He rubbed shoulders with Presidents, Senators, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Supreme Court Justices and introduced them to some of the most talented young people from around the country through the YMCA Youth Governors’ Conferences in Washington, D.C. He modeled those character values every day of his life.

In retirement, Don served his church as Pastor for Administration and Senior Adults. His servant leadership, humility, generosity, and true charity were apparent to everyone who knew him. He did exactly what he always encouraged others to do - he left things better than he found them. His smile, quick wit, great sense of humor and intellect will be missed.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Valley View Baptist Church, c/o Don Kyzer Memorial Fund, 8820 Hwy 69 South, Tuscaloosa, AL 35405.

Condolences may be offered at


  • Survivors include his sisters, Ethelyn K. Stuhr of Tuscaloosa and Susan K. White (Joe) of Ball Ground, Ga.; twin brother, Ronald Dene Kyzer (Nancy) of Tellico Plains, Tenn.; four nieces, three nephews, and a large extended family.


  • Visitation Saturday, December 8, 2018
  • Celebration of Life Service Saturday, December 8, 2018

Donald (Don) Gene Kyzer

have a memory or condolence to add?

Mark Ballard

February 14, 2019

For the Kyzer family: I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Donald. I heard from another THS classmate when I recommend he be invited to our 50th reunion this summer as he had served as our asst band director in 67-68 under Jimmy Jones. I believe Don was a classmate of my brother Ray who passed way too early in 1967. As was mentioned earlier in a post by my former sister-in-law Christy, your mom and mine were very close friends and I remember seeing Don last when I took my mom to visit her shortly before Mrs Kyzer died. My mother cherished the relationship our family has had with yours through the years and I have always appreciated your helping with the post funeral food arrangements at Ridgecrest church when my mom died in 2009. I see by all the other posts how much of an impact Donald had on so many people he touched in his life. What a legacy! I know this post comes a bit late but our prayers remain with your family. Mark

Rozilyn Peyton

January 5, 2019

I was in the band at Choctawhatchee High School when Mr Kyzer and Jimmy Ray Jones came to Ft Walton Beach. They brought a new style and new adventures to the Style Marchers that can still be seen today. I also had Mr Kyzer as my Political Science teacher. I am saddened to hear of his passing.
He was a gentleman and an advocate for his students.

Christin Raiford Vassey

December 25, 2018

Donald and Ronald were in school with me all through the 12 years of public school. His mother was a good friend of Caddie Ballard, my first mother in love. We were in band together in high school. He was always a nice guy. Although we were not close friends, I'm not at all surprised to read of his many achievement in life. Prayers go out to the family.

Rita Lewis Holifield

December 9, 2018

So sorry to hear this. I didn’t know Don well, but would see him years ago when he and his mother would come to Moundville, to eat at Miss Melissa’s cafe. His mother had been a teacher for my parents. And they dearly loved her. Please accept my condolences for your loss.
Sincerely, Rita Lewis Holifield

Bob McGaughey

December 9, 2018

I knew Don for over 35 years and saw him at his best .. He did so much for so many by teaching, by presentation, by organizing, by writing , by training , by just being Don...servant leader extraordinary!He was the personification of “world class” . When his savior said, “ come and follow me” ,he did so, in life and death! A life well lived in service to others and his Lord!

Deirdre Christenberry

December 8, 2018

A wonderful, tall, handsome man with a gentle, intelligent soul. He spirit has lived within our family since I was a child and we shared many meaningful and gracious memories of our loved ones. He departed much too soon and I will miss him. May he rest in the loving comfort of our Father and all of our family who are, now, embracing him on the other side.

Steve Hall

December 7, 2018

I don’t know where to start...maybe a list...he was my educator, my youth minister, my leader, my co-conspirator, my inspiration, a model, a spiritual guide...although I did not fully appreciate it at the time, he was one of the best friends I’ve ever known.

He woke me up to the world of democracy and law...he planted God seeds in my spirit and tended my image of a loving, servant Christ.

I know that I was not in some exclusive, special kind of relationship with him. He simply made all of us who came into his orbit for a while feel this way.

We are teachers, leaders, lawyers, ministers, and volunteers because he led us here..pointed the way with such goofy humor and intentional powerful encouragement.

He invested his whole life, his whole self, in us. He told us of the potential he saw in us.

I thank God for Donald Gene Kyzer and I’m sorry I did not tell him that more often. I look forward to a rousing chorus of little bunny foo foo in heaven with him.

If he helped you, find someone to serve and mentor...he’d like that.

Michelle Nix Rathmann

December 7, 2018

Mr. Kyzer taught all of us to treat everyone with respect. He made all of us believe we could achieve anything . So many fond memories from my days at Choctaw are centered around him. Our times in Leadership class, fall/ spring retreats at Camp Timpoochee, Y Clubs, and Blue Ridge were times well spent. I will always carry a part of him in my heart. He helped me see what was always there. I won’t say goodbye because I know I will see you again one day.

Eric Buffkin

December 6, 2018

Don touched the lives of my sister, Cheryl, and I as high school students at Choctaw in the late 70’s and early 80’s. His infectious enthusiasm for Hi-Y/Tri Hi-Y helped convince us to join in and participate in incredible programs like Youth Legislature and Blue Ridge Assembly where we made lifelong friends. Don had an awesome and wonderful impact on thousands of young people and the world is an immeasurably better place for it. We are certainly better for having known him.

Kevin Murphy

December 6, 2018

A few people come into your life for a short time and their positive impact on you remains for the rest of your life... Don Kyzer was one such man... I know that “Mr Kyzer” will still be helping souls on his next adventure.