Donald Filmore Ethridge

Donald Filmore Ethridge

1933-2020Ethridge, Donald

Donald Filmore Ethridge, 87, of Midwest City, passed peacefully, August 12, 2020, after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was a beloved dad, grandpa, brother and uncle. Don was born April 17, 1933, in Waterloo, OK to M.C. and Sally Jo (Frost) Ethridge, the “baby brother” to his six siblings. Living in the Waterloo community and Edmond until 1947, he would live in Crescent, OK with his sister and brother-in-law, Reba and Mac McClure and their family, after both his parents passed. Don graduated from Crescent High School in 1953, and began college at Central State College before joining the US Army. Don returned to Central State on the GI Bill and received his Bachelor degree in Industrial Arts in 1959 and later his Master’s Degree in Education in 1965. In September 1955, he married Johanna Oltmanns and in March 1957 they welcomed daughter Donna Jo. For 27 years, Don was a teacher and mentor to his wood shop students at Jones, Harding and Del City High Schools. Later in life, many former students would thank him for making a difference in their young lives. Some of those students remained friends throughout his lifetime and would visit and check on him often. Don was a member of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, serving in several capacities with the 700th Support Battalion of the 45th Infantry Brigade, including Company Commander of C Co and B Co, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Later, he re-enlisted and served as 1SGT and MSG in the Battalion until his retirement at age 60, and always a dedicated soldier and mentor to those in his command. He was a longtime member of the Governor’s Twenty Pistol Marksman Team, bringing many championships to the battalion. His company traveled to Bolivia, Belize and Panama providing immunizations and medications for the people in those countries, and he participated in Exercise Reforger in 1987, training in Germany. Don had many hobbies in his life – championship pigeon racing for nearly 20 years, hunting, fishing, tennis and golf. Don also enjoyed attending Austin-Healey road rallies all over the United States with his 1960 Bugeye Sprite, racing his Miata at Hallett and membership with the OKC Miata Club. Don was a lifelong fan of the OU Sooner Football team traveling to games all over the country with his family. Later, he would enjoy attending the activities of his grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as much interaction with his great great nephews and nieces. He was Uncle Don to many people, related or not. Don made many loyal friends at Jimmy’s Egg and Don’s Alley over the 40 years he lived in Midwest City. Don was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers Bill Ethridge and MC Ethridge, sisters Velma Dee Ethridge, Thelma Campbell, Reba McClure and Alma Gunn, and granddaughter Ashley Parks. He is survived by his daughter, Donna Parks and husband David, granddaughter Amber Johnson and husband Gabe, grandson Zachary Parks, great-grandchildren Isaac, Ian and Audrie Johnson, his life- long friend Johanna Ethridge and many nieces and nephews. A celebration of Don’s life will be held Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Matthews Funeral Home, Edmond, with social distance seating, face masks suggested. Livestreaming will be available through Matthews’ website. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Positive Tomorrows, P.O. Box 61190, Oklahoma City, OK 73146 or The Regional Food Bank, P.O. Box 270968, Oklahoma City, OK 73137. We will be live streaming this service in an effort to accommodate those people that wish to attend but feel they should not due to the health environment.  To watch the service CLICK HERE to go to our YouTube page.  Then click on ‘Videos’ then ‘Live Streams’.

34 thoughts on “Donald Filmore Ethridge”

  1. Besides being an Uncle by marriage he was one of the best friends I’ve ever had. We traveled many miles following OU football over the years and had great times. Rest well my friend.

    1. Donna Jo Parks

      Bets, Don loved you like a sister and so enjoyed all the wonderful memories made watching that great football team all over the country. You have always been so special to him. Thank you for your words and much love.

  2. Melanie (Churchill) Gawith

    Don was my next door neighbor for almost 30 years. He was a second Grandpa to my daughter who adored him. He was also a teacher at my high school. He had a gruff demeanor about him at times, but no matter the place or the circumstance he was always kind and caring to me. He always came over to visit when I was sitting out on my porch, always giving me kind words or advice. He helped me out in many ways but none more so than just being a great friend. We shared a lot of laughs, some interesting conversations and some very meaningful words of encouragement. I hated moving away from him because I knew I would never have a better neighbor. RIP Don. Godspeed.

    1. Thank you Melanie. Don has spoken of your family often over the years and told me how much you all helped him. He loved your family and thank you so much for reaching out.

  3. Rachel Welch

    Don was the best! He was my favorite neighbor for the 23 years that I lived at 900 Bell Dr. He was always available for a great conversation, setting me straight when I was a sassy teen, and making sure I was making good choices. I loved him like a grandfather. I have some great memories of Mr. Don. He will be greatly missed.

    1. Thank you for being his friend. He loved people and made friends wherever he went. Thank you for reaching out and sharing your memories.


      Donna Ethridge Parks & family

  4. Cindy Miller

    So sad to hear about Mr. Etheridge passing. He was a teacher up at Del City High School during my years there. I kinda believe he was a little sweet on my Home Economics teacher, always came to her class and kidded around with some of us students. Later on after school days, always seeing him up at Don’s Alley Restaurant in Del City, stopped by his table and visited with him. Always had a smile on his face. Going to miss him. RIP Mr. Don Etheridge.

    1. Thank you for sharing your memories, Cindy. He was a pretty special Dad and Grandpa Don to us.


      Donna Ethridge Parks and family

  5. My first year at DCHS, Don would ask me every month if I had enough money to get to the next paycheck. I often had to say no, and he would give me money–which he never let me pay back. Because of that, I have always tried to help other people financially. He made me a better person. I loved him and will miss him.

    1. Thank you Catherine for sharing this. Don was always looking out for others. He was a noticer and took care of others, countless others. He would love that you do for others also. Take care.


      Donna Ethridge Parks and Family

  6. Russell Staton

    Don was a special teacher and friend to me at Del City. Whenever i had problems in my life as a student, Don would always give me good advice to help me persevere. After high school we would continue to stay in touch, would have lunch, play tennis and talk football… My dear friend will be greatly missed.

    1. Russell, It was a pleasure to meet you in June and thank you for always checking on him, bringing him meals and visiting with him, especially these past few months. Your presence meant a lot to him and to me as well, and your kindness will be remembered. Don was generous and loved people.

      Take care and thank you,

      Donna Ethridge Parks and family

  7. Todd Menhusen

    So many great memories with Don. Many OU football trips during my college years. Uncle Don and Uncle Truman always the true entertainment of the trips. Life long memories.

  8. Craig Wiseman

    Don was one of a kind. Met him when I came to Del City High School in 1975 and over the next 40+ years he never changed a bit. Said what was on his mind but never to point of arguing even if you had a different point of view. He was a talented guy and made a couple of pieces of jewelry for my wife and myself. Would see him at Don’s in Del City the last few years. He really enjoyed “solving the world’s problems” over dinner or coffee. I respect very much his service to our country. RIP my good man!

    1. Thank you, Craig, for your memories. Such a perfect way to described Don and I appreciate your friendship to him for all these years. We are so sad, but grateful he is not in pain.

  9. Nathan York

    Don was literally one of my favorite people in the world. I loved our lunches, our conversations and our trips. He knew me from the time I was a teenager all the way through adulthood. He was there to see my kids grow up and through the trials and tribulations of my life. He was the first to offer help and he always cared, even if he had an outwardly sometimes abrasive demeanor. Yet anyone that knew him also knew he was a kind hearted person and a truly great friend. That was his charm.

    We were very different in so many ways, yet in some ways I was closer to him than much of my own family. We knew what we could easily talk about, what we couldn’t, and still found so much common ground. I saw him at least once a week for a couple of decades. One thing you could count on was his frankness and blunt way of talking. It was funny, insightful and refreshing. You always knew where he stood and what was on his mind. That is what I valued most. He’d tell me when I was screwing up ?. I knew I could count on him for honest and frank advice. In many ways he was the grandfather I wished I‘d had.

    Don lived a long and full life on HIS terms. He wasn’t perfect and he’d be the first to admit it, but he was a kind, generous, downright good person who touched so many lives. There isn’t a month that goes by that I don’t tell someone a great story or anecdote he shared with me. I will miss him dearly. The world needs more men like Don Ethridge.

    1. Donna Jo Parks

      Thank you so much Nathan for your kind words. Just a perfect characterization of Don, kind, generous and caring, yet sometimes blunt and to the point.. I found an invitation to your daughter’s birthday party that he had kept. The past couple of years have been difficult on different levels, but I know he treasured your friendship and help over the years and cherished those memories. Thank you for your care and friendship and your words.

  10. We, at the Midwest City Tag Agency mourn the loss of our dear friend. It was always a joy when he came and visited with us. We will miss him very much.


    1. Donna Jo Parks

      Thank you so much, Charles. You all were so good to Don, helping with his tags and bringing him lunch. It was nice to meet your staff in May. I appreciate each one of you and the friendship and kindness you showed to Don over the years. Blessings?

  11. Lisa Royalty Miles

    Mr. Ethridge helped me survive DCHS. He was the best. I’ll be thinking of you, Donna.

    1. Hi Lisa, Hope you are doing well and thank you for your kind words. He was a good guy and I’m gonna miss him a lot. Grateful he is free from pain just now. It has been a long time. You take care.

  12. Don was my idol. When I joined the 700th Spt Bn Don was commander of B Company. I watched him lead his unit with integrity and expertise. Later I became commander of B Company and had to follow his leadership footsteps. I remember well thinking that I would like be as good a commander as Don Ethridge. I well remember the call from Don asking if I minded if he returned to Company B as an NCO. I was truly honored that he had the courtesy to ask and that he wanted to be in B Company. He was a great and loyal leader and friend! We will all miss him.

    Ed Bass

    1. Sir,

      I appreciate your kind words. Don was a soldier always, and I think being 1SG was very enjoyable for him – just to continue to be in the OKARNG. We are heartbroken he is no longer with us, yet grateful he left us before the pain became too great, on to his eternal peace. He was certainly always my hero. Thank you.

  13. John Conrad LtcRet

    Don was
    A great friend and always had time to visit and get brought up to date. Barbara and I enjoyed eating at Don’s Alley restaurant cause we would run into Don . I also had the opportunity to serve with Don in the OKlahoma National Guard. Our deepest sympathy.

    1. Thank you sir for your kind words and your longtime friendship with Don. We are heartbroken at his passing, but grateful he is free of pain and for his eternal rest. A good celebration today of a life well-lived. I was so blessed to be Don Ethridge’s daughter. Thank you again.

  14. Murl Ergenbright

    Don Ethridge was a Schoolmate, Friend and we played Football together in Crescent, Oklahoma. We both
    worked in the Industrial Arts field several years in the Mid-Del Schools. We always had a nice visit when we saw him at Don’s Alley and Jimmy’s Egg. He will be missed with Memories.

  15. Thank you, Murl, I remember hearing your name. He loved those days at Crescent and has told me lots of stories……. Thank you for your friendship, for sharing in Don’s life and for your memories.

  16. Debbie Badger

    I know how hard this can be. Your faith will Get you through!!

    I will always remember him with a smile!!!

    DEBBIE Badger

  17. Craig Wiseman

    To me the classic Don Ethridge story is one that I know is true because it involves me. As most of you know Don was a big OU fan and even after he and his wife divorced they continued to share their OU tickets and sat by each other at games. One day Don came to me in the Teacher’s Lounge in Del City High School and related this story to me. He told me that for two or three years he thought my wife was having an affair with a guy because he would see them at OU games. Their seats were in the same upper deck section on the press box side. One game they happened to run into each other at a concession stand at halftime and he called her Pat. The lady politely told him that she was not Pat but her identical twin sister Pam. When Don related this story to me he told how relieved he was that his thoughts were not true. We had a good laugh with this story for many years especially when my wife and I would see him at Don’s Restaurant in Del City.

    1. What a great story, Craig and thank you for sharing and for your friendship to Don for so many years. He loved teaching at Del City, he loved OU football and he loved a good story. I miss him very much and am so blessed by those who have shared such sweet memories of my Dad.

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