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Donald Ray January

November 20, 1929 –
 May 7, 2023


Legendary Dallas professional golfer Don January passed away May 7, 2023 at the age of 93, leaving his three children, six grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren to cherish memories of his life fully lived.

Born in Plainview, Texas, while his father AC January worked there for a brief time, Don grew up in Oak Cliff and learned to play golf at Stevens Park, often wading the creeks of the course as a young boy to get his golf balls while playing on a $10 season pass. Later he would play at Lakewood Country Club as a guest of his father and became so good that he led Sunset High School to a state championship and then played on three consecutive national championship teams at the University of North Texas from 1950 through 1952.

While at UNT, Don taught golf as a physical education class to help pay his tuition in an era before golf scholarships. In doing so met the love of his life, Patricia Ruth Rushing, and the couple enjoyed 56 years of marriage until her death in 2009.

After a stint in the Air Force, Don turned pro and won his first PGA Tour event in his hometown in 1956, the Dallas Centennial Open, holing out a bunker shot on the 72nd hole at Preston Forest Golf Club. He would win 10 official tournaments on the PGA Tour and then 22 more on the PGA Tour Champions, including the first tournament played on the tour for pros 50 and older.

Nicknamed Bones because of his tall and thin physique, Don was known for his slow and steady gait and a turned up back collar. Many considered his style on the course as decidedly cool but Don maintained it was a practical way to prevent sunburn.

Don helped start the Champions tour after witnessing the success of the Legends of Golf tournament played in Austin in the late 1970s. He also won that event in 1982 with Sam Snead when they partnered to shoot 27 under par in just 54 holes.

In 1967, Don won the PGA Championship near Denver in what was sweet redemption for having lost in 1961 when Jerry Barber made several long putts in the waning moments of the competition.

Don’s other top accomplishment in golf was winning the 1976 Vardon Trophy for lowest stroke average for the year. He did this at age 47 but it highlighted his steady good play as did his record of missing only 23 cuts in 491 official starts on the PGA Tour. During his prime years from 1960 through 1969, Don only missed two 36-hole cuts. Perhaps even more noteworthy than his good record in golf was his involvement in making professional golf more equitable and profitable. As a member of the tournament players committee of the PGA of America, Don worked to repeal the “Caucasian Only” rule in 1961 and then toiled again on the same committee in 1968 to facilitate the PGA Tour separating from the PGA of America.

Don is survived by his three children Tim (Lori), Cherie (Doopey) and Richard (Celeste) and grandchildren Sean (Kristin), Cody (Alyssa), Alexandra Hill (David), Meagan Eichenlaub (Mike), Andy Stowe, Samantha Reasor (Eric) and eight great grandchildren.

If desired, charitable contributions can be made to the Athletic Fund at UNT at

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Liza B.Dallas, TX
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"I highly recommend this funeral home and crematorium; when I had to make and pay for my brother’s arrangements across state lines, Evelyn Montonya, in particular, demonstrated both compassion and professionalism and made a very sad and difficult situation much easier. Many thanks."
Gloria M.Dallas, TX
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"The unexpected passing of my husband was a very difficult and trying time for my boys and I. I had the good fortune of having Abel walk us thru this process. Working with him was such a weight off my shoulders. He was professional, so polite and helpful. The service was beautiful – never did I feel rushed or like just another customer. They gave me the time I needed and I appreciate that so much! Also Mr. Brooks took special care of my husband as he is a fellow mason. I would highly recommend working with Abel and North Dallas Funeral Home."
Lance G.Dallas, TX
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"Everyone at North Dallas Funeral Home was very professional, kind, and caring, in all steps of the process from the first phone call to the service held at their location. They help to make the process as easy and comforting in my opinion as to be expected, I would recommend their service to anyone. Thank You to everyone who helped me and my family. Sincerely,"
Jason H.Dallas, TX
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"As soon as the call was made to Mr. Wayne Baxter all of my brothers final needs were taken care of. They walked me through what to expect the timeline and even dealt with the cemetery and the grave diggers. I was a hot mess due to my brothers sudden and unexpected passing. The experience was seamless and made it easy for my brother’s friends and family to say their last goodbyes. They even had the size to accommodate such a large group that showed up . The package deals that they offered were cost-effective and didn’t break my bank account. They included extras and accommodations that other funeral homes charged extra for. All the staff was amazing including Mr. Don Dodd . I can not thank them enough for all their help."
The Gillilands
The Gillilands[click to read more]
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Dear John,

It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Thank you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you.

Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad.

Love, The Gillilands


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