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Donald W. "Don" Suman


1920 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Donald W. "Don" Suman Obituary
Don W. Suman
1920-2015
Donald W. "Don" Suman passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, the 5th of February 2015, at Methodist Hospital after fighting a short but valiant battle against cancer.
Don was born on the 19th of January 1920, in San Antonio, Texas to Albert Ward and Pearle Audrey Suman. He was educated in San Antonio and graduated from Harlandale High School where he excelled in both academics and athletics. While at Harlendale High School, Don was voted All-City and All-District in both football and basketball.
After graduating from high school, Don was offered seventeen college scholarships. Initially Don didn't stray too far from home and attended college at near-by Schreiner University in Kerrville, Texas, where he once again excelled in sports. After his first year at Schreiner, Don accepted another scholarship to Rice University in Houston, Texas. While at Rice, he started at tailback on the football team along with other Rice greats Ernie Lain, Ollie Cordill and Bob Brumley. He also started as a guard on the Rice basketball team along with his friend and All-American Bob Kenney. During his sophomore year at Rice, Don suffered a knee injury which ended his football career, but continued to play basketball on the 1939 Southwest Conference Championship team.
At the end of his junior year at Rice, Don joined the United States Army Air Corp where he trained as a P-38 fighter pilot and was named "Highest Ranking Cadet". However, his knee injury continued to plague him and as a result, during the last part of his flight training, Don left the Air Corp with an Honorable Medical Discharge. After his military service, Don returned to Rice to continue his education and sports career. He always said his greatest accomplishment was when he met the love of his life, Dorothy Green, also a Rice student. After graduation from Rice in 1944, he then attended Columbia University in New York working toward his Master Degree. When he returned home from Columbia University he proposed to Dorothy and they were married on the 22nd of February 1945.
Upon his return to Houston, Don joined the Physical Education Department and worked in the Athletic Business Office of Rice University. Three years later he became the Rice Assistant Basketball Coach and remained at that position for two years. In his last year as Assistant Basketball Coach, Rice won the 1948 Southwest Conference Championship. In 1949, he became the Head Basketball Coach where he remained for the next ten years. Then in 1959, Don joined Bud Adams and became the first General Manager and Vice President of the Houston Oilers professional football team. After three years with the Houston Oilers, Don left the sports world and entered the business community as an insurance executive with John L. Wortham & Son until his retirement in 1985.
During his career, Don earned many honors, including induction into the Harlandale ISD Hall of Fame, Schreiner University Hall of honor, Rice University Hall of Fame, and Southwest Conference Coach of the Year.
But with all of his accomplishments, he often said his greatest moments were his marriage to his beautiful wife Dorothy, the birth of his lovely daughter, Sharon Lynn, his son, Don, Jr., the day his daughter presented him with his only grandson, Flynn Dodds and the birth of his beloved great granddaughter, Stella.
Don is survived by his loving and devoted wife of almost 70 years, Dorothy Green Suman; their two children, Sharon Dodds and husband Tony of Houston, son Don W. Suman, Jr., daughter–in-law Melissa R. Suman, grandson, Flynn Dodds and wife Sharon, great granddaughter, Stella, brother-in-law Dr. Harold L. Green and wife Beverly and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from half-past five o'clock until half-past seven o'clock in the evening on Wednesday, the 11th of January, in the library and grand foyer of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive in Houston.
A memorial service is to be conducted at two o'clock in the afternoon on Thursday, the 12th of February, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, where Rev. Shawn Jones is to officiate.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Forest Park Westheimer Cemetery.
Serving as honorary pallbearers are grandson, Flynn Dodds, son-in-law, Tony Dodds, brother-in-law, Dr. Harold Green, nephews, Chip Green, Jerry Green, Kelly Green and dear friend, Randy Bullard.
For his children, Dad made them proud to carry his name. He taught them the value of truth, quiet dignity and honor in all things. He taught them how to win with grace and lose with dignity. He is in God's hands now, but will be forever loved, remembered and missed. The world is an emptier place without him. God speed, Coach.
Please view Mr. Suman's online memorial tribute at www.geohlewis.com.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 10, 2015
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