Donald Kenneth Leifeste died unexpectedly on Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019 in Gonzales at the age of 85. He was born on Sept. 13, 1933 in Cost to the late Ruby Smith and Erwin Charles Leifeste. He was the youngest of three sons. His brothers were James D. and Harold E. Leifeste.
Don was born and raised in Cost and was a graduate of Gonzales High School and Southwest Texas State University. He proudly served in the U.S. Army at Camp Hanford, Wash. for two years and then upon his return, completed his Bachelor of Science degree in 1957. Following military service in college, he accepted a position as chemist with the United States Geological Survey in Austin. At the USGS, Don met Jo Ann Snapp who would become his beloved wife of nearly 60 years. They were married at the First United Methodist Church in Gonzales by Reverend Lamar Leifeste, Don’s cousin, on May 16, 1959.
He served 31 years with the USGS in Texas, Georgia, Iowa and Northern Virginia. As a member of the Water Resources Division, he studied water resources and worked with State Agencies to better manage their resources. He was recommended for filling in the vacancy of the office's chief position for over 18 months. He retired from the USGS in 1988 and he and Jo Ann made their final homeplace in Gonzales.
He enjoyed spending time fishing and raising cattle on the family farm. He also loved music and followed his father as a member of the Monthalia Men’s Choir as well as many other church choirs. Don gave his time and construction expertise on mission trips to Guyana, SA, Mexico, Roswell, GA, and here in Texas. One of his most cherished accomplishments was serving as president for the Independence Homes Board of Directors. During his presidency, there were 24 residential units built for the mental health community. In the communities and churches where Don and Jo Ann lived, Don gave of his time serving the military with collecting care packages, tutoring children, recycling programs, developing homeless shelters, hosting exchange students and foster children as well as leadership positions.
Don loved his country, his church, his community and his family. He loved cowboy boots, cowboy hats, cattle, chili, really anything cowboy related because he was truly a most special and beloved cowboy.
He is survived by his wife, Jo Ann; their three children, David Kenneth Leifeste, (Julia) Tulsa, Carol Fowler (Jim) Roswell, GA and Julie Walters (Bruce), Cumming, GA. He is also survived by his seven grandchildren, Luke and Lauren Leifeste, Sarah, Kate Lagasse (Drew), and Caroline Fowler, JoAnna Bowen (Levi), and great-grandchildren Preston and Tyler Bowen, and Meg Walters, and beloved nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Jim and Harold, and sister-in-law, Mary and many first cousins.
Visitation will be held Friday, Jan. 25 from 5-7 p.m. at Seydler Hill Funeral Home. A celebration of life service to honor Don’s life will be held Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the Monthalia United Methodist Church in Cost with Pastor Paul Smith officiating. Pallbearers are David Leifeste, Luke Leifeste, Jim Fowler, Bruce Walters, Drew Lagasse and Chuck Leifeste. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Monthalia United Methodist Church Music Ministry in memory of Donald K. Leifeste. MUMC, 1952 County Road, 112, Cost, Texas 78614. Friends may leave their condolences by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.