Don L. Rives died peacefully on Friday, March 27, 2015, at his home in Austin following a year-long bout with cancer. He was 80.
Don was born in Marshall, Texas on September 8, 1934, the son of Luther Aaron Rives and Lois Maurine Anderson Rives. His elementary school music teacher noticed his beautiful soprano voice in class, and with his parents' blessing, accompanied Don to Dallas for an audition with the Apollo Boys Choir. He spent the next four years helping his parents on their dairy farm and going to school during the week, then taking the train to Dallas every Friday night to rehearse with the choir, and returning late Sunday night to resume his weekday schedule. School holidays were spent touring all 48 states, most notably in New York City over the winter holidays in 1944, where the choir performed on the Bell Telephone Hour's national broadcast and at the Christmas tea dance at the Waldorf-Astoria.
In 1952, Don graduated with honors from Marshall High School, where he served as student body president and as President of the Texas State Association of Student Councils, while making a host of lifelong friends. He graduated summa cum laude in 1956 from North Texas State College (now the University of North Texas) with a double major in Government and History, and was a member of numerous honorary and professional societies and fraternities. He received his JD from the University of Texas Law School (where he was a member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity) and was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1959. During these years, Don was also a fry cook at the Tiny Grill in Marshall, Assistant Director of the Texas Boys Choir in Denton, an intern at the Texas Railroad Commission, Director of Music at First Baptist Church of Austin, a committee clerk for the Texas House of Representatives, and the soloist on call at Hyltin-Manor Funeral Home in Austin.
Don returned to Marshall in 1959, serving as the assistant district attorney for Harrison County. He specialized in real estate and probate law at the law firm of Bibb and Rives, and was appointed US Magistrate, Marshall Division, for the Eastern District of Texas in 1965. He was appointed to assist in the rewriting of the Texas State Constitution as a member of the Constitutional Revision Committee of Texas, and in 1974, the Rives family moved to Austin as Don became Executive Assistant to Lieutenant Governor William P. (Bill) Hobby, and later, the executive director of the Association of Electric Companies of Texas. His "retirement" consisted in part of an appointment by Governor Ann Richards to the Board of Regents of the University of North Texas, a later appointment to the UNT Athletic Council, and a seven-year stint as a member of the Travis County Appraisal Board Court of Appeals.
In 1960, Don married Patricia "Pat" Burns, and together they set a beautiful example of participating in and giving back to the community, not just for their three children, but their peers as well. Don's civic and community leadership spanned a broad spectrum of interests, both professional and personal, that included the State Bar Association; Member, Constitutional Revision Commission of Texas; Executive Committee of Memorial Hospital and Board of Trustees of Harrison County Hospital Association(Marshall); President, Junior Chamber of Commerce and Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce (Marshall), Member, Board of Education, Marshall Independent School District; and Charge Lay Leader, Longview District of the Texas Conference (First United Methodist Church-Marshall); and Chair of Worship Committee and Administrative Board Member (First United Methodist Church-Austin); as well as leadership and support for every booster/parent organization associated with his children's activities and interests, most notably the Camp Fire Girls of America; Boy Scouts of America; Westlake High School Chap Club and Booster Club; Westlake High School Choral Department; Western Hills Youth Association, and Westlake Youth Soccer Association. In his later years, he took great pride and pleasure in his grandchildren's sports, musical, dance, theatrical, and artistic endeavors, and was a regular audience member at every game, recital, concert, and performance possible.
Don was preceded in death by his parents: Luther Aaron Rives and Lois (Anderson) Rives. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Pat (Burns) Rives; his devoted children: Leigh Anne Crowell and her husband, David, of Austin; Greg Rives, of Austin; and Glen Rives and his wife, Adele (Beasley) of Houston; and his beloved grandchildren: Susannah, John, and Charlotte Crowell of Austin; Daniel and Lauren Rives of Austin; and Luke and Haley Rives of Houston. Don is also survived by his brother, Larry Rives, and his wife, Joan, of Grove, OK; his aunt, Jeanne Anderson of Houston, and a number of cousins with whom he loved dearly.
Special thanks to his care team, particularly the staff at Robinson Creek Home Health and Hospice; Dr. Dimitri Loukas: and Don's longtime physician, friend, and co-grandfather Dr. H. Kent Beasley.
A Memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at First United Methodist Church of Austin, 1201 Lavaca Street.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Endowment Fund of First United Methodist Church of Austin; or to the Austin Children's Shelter.