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The spirit of Don Southerland was set free and entered into the presence and protective care of his Lord and Savior on Saturday evening, November 28, 2020. His illness no longer holds him captive, and he is now and forevermore healthy, strong, confident, and exuberant, in God’s presence – enjoying his parents, friends, and other loved ones who went to Heaven before him. Don left behind his adoring wife, Linda, who misses him with every beat of her heart but is grateful to God for the 52 years He gave them. Also, his son, Scott, whom he loved with a pride beyond words, not only for his medical calling and strength of character, but for the Godly man, husband, and father he is. “Poppy” loved his thoughtful and caring daughter-in-law, Carol, and three precious grandchildren – Catherine (9), Thomas (5) and Henry (3 months). What a joy and a blessing they were to him.
Don was born in Huntsville, AL on February 1, 1943. He lived most of his younger years in Birmingham with his parents, Lawrence Donald Southerland, Sr. and Marie Elizabeth Smith Southerland. They were active and dedicated members of Woodlawn Methodist Church. Don was a student at Minnie Holman School, Woodlawn High School, and a graduate of Samford University (1966) where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha and enjoyed playing tennis. He treasured all the friendships he made.
Don had a beautiful tenor voice and a love for music and sang in church choirs. He was a member of the Cavaliers and Warblers at Woodlawn High School and played the clarinet in the band. He was a member of the Male Chorus at Samford and also participated in Barbershop group singing. Don taught math at Jones Valley High School after graduating from Samford. Then he and Linda married in 1968 and Don worked in the insurance and bonding business in OK, TX and AL. Worshiping and serving God was always important to him wherever they lived.
Don, Linda, and Scott were baptized into the family of Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, AL on December 7, 1991, by our beloved pastor, “Buddy” Gray. Don’s love for all the people of Hunter Street deepened as our church membership grew. His greatest joys were his Sunday School friends, singing in the Worship Choir, and welcoming guests and members into the worship services.
He cared deeply for those who were oppressed and hurting, especially young children and those with illnesses. He was a very brave cancer survivor himself. He and Linda often attended the Rays of Hope cancer support group at Hunter Street to encourage others in their journey. Don often phoned his friends and family members to ask about their health and families. Don was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and loyal to his friends and family. Many have said they will miss his unique humor and magnetic personality, his hearty laugh, his sarcastic wit, and his generous loving heart. In the early 1990’s, Don worked tirelessly and diligently to establish his own company, and he took great pride in serving his clients promptly, fairly, and efficiently.
Don’s family “gives thanks to God” for every generous and caring friend and neighbor, for all our precious family members for loving us so deeply, for compassionate friends and ministers from Hunter Street Baptist and Shades Mountain Baptist who reached out and provided us with spiritual and physical nourishment through prayers, cards, delicious meals, and phone messages of encouragement and love. The body of Christ is truly alive and phenomenal.
Our hearts are ever so grateful to the medical team who gave Don their best 24-hour care and for the kindness and compassion shown to us by those at Currie-Jefferson.
Memorials may be made to Hunter Street Baptist Church, Big Oak Ranch, or a charity of your choice to honor Don’s memory.
No memorial service is planned for this year. Family and friends will be notified of the date when Don’s life will be truly celebrated. May God bless you all.
The Lord replied, “My Prescence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
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