"Larger than life" is a cliche often thrown around, but it's really the only way to describe Don Hartsfield, who passed away at age 85. Whatever he put his mind and energy into - whether it was business, sports, family, or life in general, Don was just a force of nature.
Don was a native Atlantan who attended Lee Street Elementary school and graduated from Brown High School in 1954 where his basketball skills earned him a scholarship to the University of Georgia. He achieved the American dream. After growing up in a poor, dysfunctional home in Atlanta, he became a two-sport collegiate athlete at UGA and then experienced remarkable success in the insurance industry and real estate development business. An entrepreneur extraordinaire, Don was no stranger to risk and hard work. But what he enjoyed most was spending time with his wife of 66 years, Myralyn, and his two daughters, Donna and Susan and their families.
He was the epitome of the fun Dad and Grandaddy. Kids from all over the neighborhood came to the Hartsfield's to play - not with Donna or Susan - but with Don instead. He was always up for a game of ping pong or basketball. Don was a great athlete, and he played on competitive tennis leagues well into his 70s before his health began to decline.
Don loved the water, particularly Lake Lanier where he lived for decades. All his children and grandchildren can claim they had their first boat ride, skiing, or tubing experience with Don. He was also fortunate to be able to travel extensively, and often generously took the entire extended family on trips.
Friends and family recall his contagious smile and laughter. Also, his consistent optimistic view on life, which he maintained even as his body began to fail him.
Don was always up for a gag. He loved disguises, costumes, and toys that would sing or make noise when you walked by. He would laugh so hard pranking others with his getups and gadgets. He really enjoyed card and board games, too.
Don was a member of Cumming First United Methodist Church and the Circle of Friends Sunday School class. His family takes comfort in knowing that as a longtime believer, Don is now with his Savior. He will be missed, but we know he is in a better place. Heaven's tennis courts just got some competition!
Don is survived by his wife Myralyn Hartsfield; brother Mike (Mary Ann) of Spokane, Wash.; daughters Donna (Steve) Jackson and Susan (Scott) Tanner of Cumming; granddaughters Becky Knowles (Sean Kelly) of Cumming, Amy Halley (John) of Fort Myers, Fla., and Leigh Harper (John) of Evans, Ga.; great-grandchildren Lily and Davis Knowles, Sam and Olivia Harper, and Zach and Mac Halley; and a wide community of friends.
A memorial service will be held at 10 am Saturday, October 23rd at Cumming First United Methodist Church. Visitation will be held from 9 am to 10 am at the church. The Reverends Kathie Stasko and John Cromartie will preside. Donations can be made in Don's name to Cumming First United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice
Ingram Funeral Home & Crematory, Cumming, Georgia in charge of arrangements.
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Published by Ingram Funeral Home on Oct. 13, 2021.