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Donald A. Femmel

Obituary for Donald A. Femmel

September 22, 1952 - July 20, 2017
San Antonio, Texas | Age 64


Donald A. Femmel, age 64, passed away on Thursday, July 20, 2017, in San Antonio, Texas. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, on September 22, 1952, to parents, Arthur and Dorothy Femmel.

After growing up in Chicago and Crystal Lake, Don began attending Illinois State University and, within the first month of school, met his lifelong love. Another freshman named Marie boldly approached him to ask to borrow his baseball mitt in the courtyard outside the dorm. She had little interest in the mitt, but more in the man that would change her life forever. Don and Marie were married on June 24, 1972. They were blessed with three sons: Benjamin, Scott, and Mark.

Upon graduation, Don and Marie moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. They began their teaching careers in inner-city schools deeply impoverished and filled with students without hope or self-esteem. Don taught at James E. Roberts School for the first ten years of his career. This was a unique school whose entire population was physically handicapped. He was immediately thrust into the extremely influential position of chess coach. This was the only extracurricular activity offered by the school, thus the students' only chance to showcase their potential to those outside of the school. Through Don's patience, passion, and knowledge, these young men and women began achieving things that they could not have imagined before they began pushing pieces across a board. They came within one round of winning the state championship and played in multiple national championships. Most importantly, these students had their first experience with a pattern for success that many of them used to change the grim circumstances with which their lives began. He knew this because many of them stayed in contact with him as their lives progressed through their accomplishments. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that a teacher saw potential in those who had yet to see it in themselves and believed in them. He taught there until 1984, when the school was forced to close down because of new federal regulations regarding the composition of campus populations.

For the next three years, he got the opportunity to teach at the same school as his wife (Minnie Hartmann School 78). In 1987, Don and Marie felt it was time for a drastic change, so they moved their family to San Antonio, Texas. That Fall, Don began his first of 21 years at Garner Middle School - a place where he once again impacted young lives with chess, knowledge, and patience. He taught a variety of subjects at all three grade levels for many years before becoming a co-teacher. He dedicated all 34 of his teaching years to those who most needed his unique expertise and skill-set: special education students. His belief that nobody's dreams should be hampered by unfortunate circumstances powered his daily passion for his profession. Garner was not just a job, but a place where he made many friends and saw so much of his hard work pay off in the success of his students.

Once Don and Marie retired in 2008, he finally had the time to amplify his passion for his family, especially his three incredible granddaughters. In addition to being able to fully enjoy the younger people in his life, Don and Marie were able to strengthen their love in the way only a happily retired couple can. They enjoyed traveling back and forth to St. Louis to visit Mark and his family, going on adventures with Hanna, riding their bikes, watching a wide variety of television shows together, and having the opportunity to enjoy each day with their best friend.

Don is a Baptized child of God and he was a long time member of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church here in San Antonio where he and Marie enjoyed the opportunity to help out in different ways.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his son, Scott. Don is survived by his wife, Marie; sons, Benjamin and Mark; granddaughters, Hanna, Cozette, and Christine; daughters-in-law, D'Ette and Marlina; brother, Douglas; nephews, Kevin and Christopher; many friends from education, Church, and the people he met along his journey through life. The family will receive friends from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Monday, July 31, 2017, at Porter Loring Mortuary North.

10:00 A.M.

Rev. Mark Femmel will officiate. Interment will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran School, San Antonio, Texas.

By the grace of Christ, we will see Don again.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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