Don Giles

Don Giles was the youngest brother on my mother’s side of the family.

Don was the rebel of the family. He dropped out of high school after his brother, who was two years older, graduated. The family believes that he thought, “if David doesn’t have to go anymore, neither should I.” When my grandmother heard he was ditching classes, she told him he needed to go to school or get a job. He went out and got a job.

A couple of years later he moved in with his girlfriend. When my grandmother heard this, she told him that if they were going to live together then they needed to get married . Don married Penny when he was 18 and she was 17. I was about 4 when they married and vaguely remember there being a controversy about how young they were. Perhaps unexpectedly, of the 5 brothers and sisters on that side of the family who married, Don and Penny were the only ones not to divorce. They were married 33 years.

Don led a colorful life. After moving to Texas, he held a series of jobs, not all of them “respectable”. One included smuggling electronics into Mexico to avoid the tarriffs. I remember him telling a story of being caught by the Federales and his boss getting him out by bribing them. He wasn’t afraid of hard work though. His last job was as a ranch hand working with cattle. That may be were he got sick.

Don and Penny moved back to Phoenix a few months ago. He went into the hospital shortly afterward with an infection in his lungs that he had been carrying for months. My wife and I took our daughter to Phoenix in February when we first were told of the seriousness of his condition. I hadn’t seen him since our wedding nine years ago. Bailey met her great-uncle for the first and last time during that trip.

Don succumbed to his illness this evening at around 5:00 pm. He was 51 years old.

He is survived by his wife Penny; his mother, Marguerite; his brothers, Wesley, Lonnie, and David; and his sisters, Carol and Frances.

May God bless Donald Giles and comfort Penny.

And may God bless Marguerite Giles who is in another hospital recovering from surgery. She lost her first child to cancer when he was three. She lost her youngest child today.