Donald Harvey MaddoxAugust 13, 1945 ~ December 2, 2017 (age 72)
Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at Glencoe-Hokes Bluff Chapel for Donald Harvey Maddox, 72, Ashville. Mr. Maddox died Saturday, Dec. 2, at his sister’s home in Arab, surrounded by family. Burial will follow in the Lee Family Cemetery on Rainbow Drive. Daniel Milner will officiate. Glencoe-Hokes Bluff Funeral Home & Cemetery is in charge.
Don met his lung cancer diagnosis and death with the same humor, wisdom, and courage that characterized his life.
Born in Mobile in August 1945, the sixth of eight children, Don attended John S. Jones Elementary and Junior High School and graduated from Etowah County High in 1963. He moved to Muscle Shoals that summer and attended the University of North Alabama for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in September 1964.
In his seven years of active duty, Don worked as an automatic flight controls systems specialist. In 1966, he received two medals for his service in Vietnam. His tours included, among other places, Vietnam, Guam, Germany, Taiwan, and several U.S. military bases. He was honorably discharged in 1972 at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
After a 12-year stint of self-employment at Don’s Upholstery Shop and his father’s business, Maddox Electric, in Rainbow City, Don joined the Alabama Air National Guard in 1984. He worked for the Guard at the Alabama State Military Department in Birmingham as an aircraft electrical technician until his promotion in 1989 to production control technician. He graduated from Air University’s Command Noncommissioned Officer Academy in August 1990 and served as a noncommissioned officer at the rank of TSgt (Technical Sergeant) until his retirement from the Guard in April 1998 after more than 20 years of military service.
After retirement, Don worked and played with his brothers, David and Richard, at David’s portable sawmill, milling lumber and using it to build garages, barns, furniture, and art. His passion for building and creating resulted not only in his hand-built, rock home, but dozens of metal Yard Art birds and hundreds of pieces of turned woodwork.
Don frequented Flea Markets and Air Force museums, repaired tractors and cars, fished with friends on his pontoon boat, grew tomatoes and peas, and photographed sunrises, sunsets, and other natural scenes. In recent years, he parked his camper in Florida and became a regular at Uncle Joe’s Fish Camp, where he entertained friends with his kooky jokes. He enjoyed bicycling at parks and through the countryside. Whether traveling by train, Triumph, Solstice, or RV, the trip meant more than the destination: “Always take the scenic route.”
Throughout his life, Don rarely said no to friends or family in need and often volunteered to help. He hauled upright pianos up hundreds of stairs, moved and re-roofed a Play House, installed and repaired appliances, re-wired cars, and built porches. When David and Richard fell ill in recent years, Don showed up almost daily for what may have been the hardest labor of his life: watching his brothers---one younger, one older---decline and die.
Don is preceded in death by his parents, Vivian Lee Maddox and Elisha Roscoe Maddox, and two brothers, Richard and David, all of Rainbow City. He is survived by his daughter, Janice Maddox Gaines, of Hixon, TN; sisters Helen Arthur of Huntsville, Nan (Doug) Metz of Eufaula, Joy Barnard of Arab, and Vivian (Larry) Smith of Rainbow City; brother, E.R. (Mona) Maddox, of Columbus, GA, and many beloved nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, and cousins.
The family will receive friends from 1 pm to time of service Saturday at the funeral home. Condolences may be offered at www.ghbfuneralhome.com