On September 29th at 6:42 p.m., the heavens opened up to receive a beautiful, kind, God-fearing man loved by his family and many, many people not only in his beloved hometown of Marathon, but surrounding cities. Donaciano (Don) De La O Fuentez was born to Salvador Zamora Fuentez and Micaela De La O Fuentez on September 5, 1945 in Marathon, Texas. He had just celebrated his 75th birthday. Like many young people in the late 60's who dreamed of graduating and going to a big city...he and his friends left to California the day after he graduated high school to find work wherever they could. But after a short while he was very disappointed with California because there were too many people, too much traffic, and he realized that this was not what he really wanted for him or his future family. The low paying job that he found picking oranges also had a positive effect on him because this experience set the framework for who and what he wanted to be in life and that was to serve his country and pursue a higher education. He also wanted to come home, go to college and take care of his parents.
He joined the Air Force on September 10, 1965. Sgt. E4 Fuentez was discharged on September 9th, 1969. He received an honorable discharge on September 9th, 1971. He was stationed at Cam Rahn Bay in Vietnam and specialized in air transportation of medical supplies and other equipment, a job he excelled in. He declined a promotion to E5 if he reenlisted because one tour in Vietnam was enough for him. Sadly enough, that one tour in Vietnam would cost him his life 51 years later, as the cancer and other health problems he had were attributed to the chemical Agent Orange.
On January 16, 1971, he married his childhood sweetheart Susanna Cordova, his classmate and best friend. Together they had two of the best sons any parent would be proud to claim: Marco Antonio Fuentez and Miguel Angel Fuentez. Don would comment to anybody and everybody about his "mijos" and how proud he was that they chose to be on the right side of the law by becoming federal agents, but more that he was proud that they put family first above all, just as he did. Don was a faithful, caring father always there for his sons and his grandchildren.
Don enrolled at Sul Ross State University on September of 1969 and graduated in '72 with a BS degree in Political Science and Spanish. He was a brilliant, well-read, man in many areas, especially in Catholic doctrine, a subject he never tired in researching, wanting to learn more about his God he so deeply loved. He would share his religious findings with his family and friends.
As a child, he built dirt highways in his backyard and swore he would build real ones someday. God granted him that wish when he joined TxDot in Alpine, Texas after graduating from college. He worked in the engineering section where his math and computer knowledge earned him an Engineer Specialist title. he was sent to many trainings where he could survey on the computer and not have to walk miles using a surveying instrument. He left his "design" mark all over west Texas, a fact he was so proud of. He retired after 38 yrs. with TxDot. He enjoyed being a simple, modest man who totally enjoyed his retirement by reading and serving on the school board for many years as president. He was instrumental in bringing many programs to school in the hopes that students would get a better education. After his retirement, Don became an avid golf player and totally enjoyed meeting so many great people on the golf course and making lifelong friends.
Don of "Chondi" as his wife, sons and many close friends called him was a storyteller to many, young and old, especially those related to his Catholic faith. This desire to bring people closer to God drove him to work tirelessly for his church to raise funds for renovating the church. He also started a Bereavement Committee that would provide a meal for the grieving families and the whole community as well. He loved his church and everybody outside the church and was always in awe with how people cooperated with him any time he asked for help.
Every decision he made in his life was based on his faith. He believed that "If you do what's right before the eyes of God, you're doing it right." He used to say that when his time came and if people remembered him by his deep faith and love for God, he would go content that he had lived his life as God wanted him to.
He loved dancing with wife Suzy and cooking any food he could think of in his pressure cooker. It was the simplest things in life that made him the happiest.
Godspeed Mr. Fuentez. You will be forever in our hearts and greatly missed.
Funeral services were at Marathon Baseball Field, Saturday, October 3rd at 11:00 a.m.. Interment was at the Marathon Cemetery.
Alpine Memorial Funeral Home was entrusted with his services. Online condolences may be left at: www.alpinememorialfuneralhome.com.
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