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B.A. Donelson, 86, of Amarillo, passed away on Tuesday, November 22, 2022. Memorial services will be at 2:00 PM Monday, November 28, 2022 at First Baptist Church of Stratford, preceded by burial service at 11:00 in Stratford Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 2:00 – 4:00 PM on Sunday, November 27 at Cox-Rowley Funeral Home, 4180 Canyon Drive, Amarillo.
B.A. was born February 11, 1936 in Pampa, Texas to Cone and Juanita Donelson. In 1942, the family moved to Stratford, Texas where B.A. graduated from Stratford High School. At the age of 17 B.A. married the love of his life, LeRayne Mitts, on October 4, 1953, in Tucumcari, New Mexico. After high school, B.A. attended Arlington State College on a football scholarship. He continued his education at Texas Tech University where he was a member of the varsity baseball team. He went on to earn his bachelor degree in Economics and Finance in 1958. He continued his education at the Southwestern School of Banking.
After college, B.A. returned to Stratford and rented a 100 acre dryland farm. In 1963, he began developing the farm for irrigation. He joked that he was not very good at farming or irrigation.
Fortunately, in 1967, First State Bank of Stratford offered him a position. Eventually, B.A. got a group together to purchase the bank from J.A. Whittenburg, III. The group added North Plains Savings with offices in Dumas and Dalhart and B.A. served as Chairman of the Board of this newly formed Stratford Bancshares, Inc.
B.A. was active in community affairs including assisting in creating the Stratford Area Foundation, the Stratford Education Foundation, the North Panhandle Bankers Association and the Stratford Country Club. He was involved politically with the American Bankers Association in Dallas, and with the Independent Bankers Association of America and of Texas. In addition to these activities, B.A. taught at Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and the Texas Tech Intermediate School of Banking in Lubbock. He was inducted to the Texas Bankers Hall of Fame in 2017.
The couple moved to Amarillo from Stratford in 2012. In his spare time, B.A. enjoyed golfing, and golfed everywhere he went.
B.A. had many accomplishments, most notably is the legacy he leaves of not sitting back and waiting for someone else to do things. He always took the lead and would drag everyone he could along with him, teaching along the way. Education was of great importance to B.A., and he freely gave all manner of support to anyone who needed it. His generosity was boundless.
B.A. was hopelessly devoted to LeRayne and their two daughters, Barrie and Blynn. He and LeRayne enjoyed 69 wonderful years of marriage. He credited her for the couple making it through his college years. He even wrote a book about their love and their life together, entitled, “Startin’ Early”.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his son-in-law, Jeff Breed; and his nephew, Tyler Donelson.
Survivors include his wife, LeRayne Donelson; two daughters, Blynn Weldon (Tim) of Stratford, and Barrie Breed (Craig Lee) of San Marcos; eight grandchildren, Brad Breed (Dana), Maggie Ortuno (Justin), Carley duMenil, Bailey Bryson, Taos Weldon (Marcy), Colby Weldon, Lindy Wetzel (David); 11 great-grandchildren, Mack, Merritt, Oakley, Noah, Rayne, Clancy, Will, Harper, Cami, Hadley and Chloe; and additional extended family, Derek Vasquez, Ana Guerra, and Kat Lancaster.
The family suggests memorial donations may be made to the Stratford Education Foundation, at PO Box 121, Stratford, TX 79084 or a charity of your choice.