Donald J. Martin, 78, lifelong resident of Mansfield, Ark., died Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Muskogee Oklahoma Veterans Hospital.
Don was born Nov. 22, 1935, in Mansfield to Chester Martin and Ava Elizabeth Martin. Don graduated Mansfield High School in 1954 where he was given the nickname “Tuffy” for his athletic style on the court and field. Don briefly played basketball at Fort Smith Community College then joined the Army in 1955. He was stationed in Panama. While in the service, Don married Donna Sue Wagoner. Upon his honorable discharge he returned to Mansfield and attended Carl Albert Junior College. Don was a dispatcher for ABF and worked with his brothers doing concrete work. After Donna Sue’s passing, Don married Jerry Lynn Gray in 1964. They purchased the Dixie Bell Drive-In in 1969 and raised their children, Beth and Chris there. Don’s love for sports and being around friends and family was well known with the countless days with his “buddies” enjoying horse racing in Hot Springs, golf at the Vache Grass Country Club in Greenwood and playing cards and the ever so popular “deer frys” at Dixie Bell (where no one was turned away). Don’s jovial smile and generosity were known by all. Don retired from the Dixie Bell around 2003.
Survivors include Beth and Kerry Plummer of Poteau, Kim Plummer Martin of Poteau, Chris Martin and Darla Young of Poteau, Charley and Dianna Hughes of Waldron, Sharon Wagoner of Waldron, Doris and Melvin Clem of Fort Smith; seven grandchildren, Marsha Glenn of Witcherville, Ark., Jarrod and Kelly Hughes of Waldron, Ark., Jordan Hughes of Fort Bliss El Paso, Texas, Caleb and Taylor Martin of Poteau, Kyler and Tayley Plummer of Poteau; three great-grandchildren, Tristen “Ace” Nason, Abby Martin and Kamryn Hughes and many nieces and nephews. Don was preceded in death by his parents, Chester and Ava Martin; four brothers, Athy, Gerald, Dennis and Tiny Martin; a sister, Mona Faye Hatton; wife, Donna Sue Martin and her parents, Lucy and Winfred “Papaw” Wagoner, whom loved Don greatly; and wife of 30 years, Jerry Lynn.
Service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, May 9, at Coop Prairie Church in Mansfield with burial in Coop Prairie Cemetery under the direction of McConnell Funeral Home of Greenwood. Viewing will be from 1-8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home, where the family will visit with friends from 6-8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers his family requests memorial donations be made to the Poteau Valley Humane Society, P.O. Box 12, Poteau, OK 74953.
To sign an online guestbook, please visit www.mcconnellfh.com .
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