Don was born September 18, 1951 in Coral Gables, Florida to Jack and Irene (Reed) Winn. As an infant their family moved to Houston, Texas. He attended Annunciation Catholic School in downtown Houston at the early age of 4. His adventures started early in life beginning with dropping out of high school at 16 years old. After attending the infamous Woodstock concert where he got to see “all the cool bands”, he began playing bass guitar with several friends and played in a band for many years. In between he sailed with his best friend Larry Nixon to Mumbi, India as an assistant cook. The Nixons were always a second family to him and still are today. The experience opened his eyes to the real world. Unfortunately, due to illness, he had to return home early. After recovering, he returned to school and graduated from Lamar High School in 1969. By driving a Yellow Cab, he afforded himself the opportunity to attend the University of Houston. He was accepted to medical school after graduating in 1976, but decided not to take that path and instead went to work as a laboratory research assistant with the Baylor College of Medicine. He later went to work for Shell Research and Development. It was there that he met the love of his life, Barbara. After a year of courtship, they were married September 6, 1986. Together they raised his stepdaughter, Julie.
Don had a love of running and would often run 5 or 6 miles a day. He loved his dogs and a special family of squirrels and enjoyed life to the fullest. He had a unique spark of genius that amazed all who knew him. He was known as the “Mad Scientist” to many of his friends. After early retirement from Shell in 1992, he and Barbara moved to the Lyons community where he raised many dogs, enjoyed the peaceful nature of country living and collected many antique relics. Don was blessed with a life-saving liver transplant on November 16, 1998 and lived another 17 amazing years. He was the oldest and longest living liver transplant recipient known. He was called home to our Heavenly Father on January 16, 2016 after a short battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Barbara, of 29 years, stepdaughter, Julie and son-in-law John Mullen. His two grandsons, Quint and Zane, knew him as “Grandude” and “the squirrel whisperer”, and always brought that special sparkle to his eyes. He was very proud of them both. He is also, survived by his brother, William R. Winn of Houston and sister-in-law Judy and husband Tom Ingram of California, his special dog “Captain Dawson” and many friends.
Thank you to Hospice of Brazos Valley, all the angelic nurses and doctors, especially Dr. Richard Morgan, Dr. Scott Chenault, Dr. John Stonecipher, Dr. Tim and all who assisted him throughout his life.
A special celebration of life will be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to Hospice Brazos Valley. 502 W. 26th Street, Bryan, TX 77803. Services are in the care of Callaway-Jones Funeral Home and Crematory.
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