Donald James Haggerty passed from this life on Dec. 31, 2018 at the age of 99 years, 3 months and 14 days.
He was born in Kaufman County, Texas on Sept. 17, 1919 to William Edward Haggerty and Maggie Mae (McFarland) Haggerty. He was a descendant of early Texas settlers. Both his maternal great- grandfather and great-great grandfather received land grants for their service in the Army of the Republic of Texas for the War of Independence from Mexico. Upon the family arriving on the grant of land in Kaufman County, Texas, his maternal great-grandfather was killed in a raid by members of the Comanche Indian Nation at Pyles Prairie, Kaufman County, Texas. Later, because of the family’s service in the Army of the Confederacy during the War between the States, most of the family property was lost during Reconstruction. His paternal grandfather immigrated from Ireland in 1846 in the second year of the great famine in Ireland and later also served in the Army of the Confederacy.
During the Great Depression, at age 17, Donald and a neighbor drove a model A Ford to Phoenix, Arizona, where the neighbor stayed. Donald then rode a freight train from Phoenix to Norwalk, California, where he found work to help support his family. He remained there until the economy improved in Oklahoma, at which time he returned to Oklahoma.
Donald married Dortha Lorraine Horn on Nov.29, 1940 in Aylesworth, Marshall County, Oklahoma. They were married for more than 69 1/2 years. She predeceased him on June 16, 2010.
Donald was a veteran of World War II as he volunteered shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and served in the U.S. Army Transportation Corps. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, at Camp Barkley, Texas, and at Camp Polk, Louisiana. Later, he was stationed aboard the U.S. Army Hospital Ship “Thistle” and crossed the Atlantic Ocean 18 times either delivering wounded soldiers back to the United States or ferrying troops to Europe. He was decorated for participation in the invasion of North Africa, the invasion of Italy, and the invasion of France. Later, he was transferred to the Pacific Theater. His ship transversed the Panama Canal and traveled on to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii where he received orders of discharge. He served 4 years and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.
Donald was a horseman, cattleman, and farmer after his discharge from the Army and spent the balance of his life in those endeavors with cattle operations at one time extending over three States. He was a faithful member of the 7th and Beech Church of Christ in Durant. He served as a deacon, and later served three different times as an elder for a total of 22 years in that office. He was a diligent student of the Bible and taught both publicly and conducted home Bible studies. In 1982, during the great food famine in Poland, he drove in a convoy of trucks from West Germany through communist Europe to deliver relief food supplies to the Polish people.
Donald also was instrumental in the formation of the Oklahoma Dairy Association and served for many years as a member of the Board of Directors representing southeastern Oklahoma until it was merged with the American Dairy Association.
Donald was predeceased by his parents, his wife, one sister, Martha Ruth Haggerty, three brothers, William Patrick Haggerty, Carroll Edward Haggerty, and Raymond Arthur Haggerty. He is survived by one son, Don Michael Haggerty, an attorney and his wife, Chris Haggerty of Caddo, two grandsons, Don Michael Haggerty, II, an attorney of Madill, and Donald David Haggerty, an attorney of Durant, three great-grandsons, Don Michael (Trey) Haggerty, III, Ryan Paul Haggerty, and Kyle Joseph Haggerty of Kingston, and a host of collateral relatives.
“And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them.” Rev. 14:13.