Copeland Funeral Service

Ask a family we have served… ™

Obituaries

COLONEL DON STOVALL, UNITED STATES ARMY (Ret.)

Colonel (Retired)Don Owen Stovall passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on February 20, 2021 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Born November 25, 1927, Don is the only son of Aaron Earl and Mildred Aileen Stovall. He is predeceased by his sisters, Jessie Mae Stovall and Maxine Lois Hovorka.

Don grew up in Rossville, Kansas, where he was the star basketball player at Rossville High School. He turned down a scholarship to play college basketball to enlist in the Army in 1945, two months after Victory Day in Europe, and was stationed in Germany. Returning to the U.S. in 1948 to complete his Bachelor’s Degree at Kansas State University. Don was commissioned as a Second Lieutentant and served as a company commander in the Korean War where he earned the Silver Star.
With the downsizing of the military in 1954, Don entered the Army Reserves and worked for General Motors but was reactivated in 1957, resuming his training at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he completed Airbourne training. It is in Fort Benning where he met Jo Ann Key, a young school teacher, and after a whirlwind three month long courtship, they were married on July 16, 1960.

Don and Jo Ann moved often and lived in 23 homes around the world. A true military family, Suzanne was born in Fort Benning, Georgia, Don Owen, Jr. in Fort Hood, Texas and Kathleen was born in Berlin, West Germany. Don studied the Russian language at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and at the Russian Institute in Garmisch, Germany, and later returned there as a Commandant. Don also served at the U.S. Military Liaison (USMLM) as a tour officer, performing covert intelligence gathering operations on Soviet Forces in former East Germany and later became Chief, USMLM. He also served two tours in Vietnam, earning a second Silver Star and the Purple Heart. He is a graduate of the National War College, Fort McNair, Virginia, and taught at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. During his years in the military, he earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations from Indiana University and while assigned to the Pentagon, earned a Doctorate in Soviet Area Studies from Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Don retired in 1986, and was promptly recalled to active service. As a Russian language speaker and having studied the Soviet military for most of his military career, Don served as Chief, Conventional Arms Control Division overseeing inspections in Eastern Europe to insure compliance of the Soviet downsizing of conventional weapons. For his peacetime efforts, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service. After retiring from the Army in 1988, Don worked as a senior analyst and program director for defense contractors in northern Virginia and was an advisor to and accompanied delegations from the Stimson Center for International Peace on worldwide peacekeeping projects.

He and Jo Ann moved to Beaufort, South Carolina in 2000, which would become the place they spent the longest time in their entire lives together. A lifelong competative runner, in retirement, Don continued his active lifestyle with Jo Ann, enjoying international travel and cruises, as well as snow skiing vacations and fishing trips with his son. Don and Jo Ann lived on Lady’s Island, overlooking the Beaufort River across from Parris Island, where they could hear Taps each night as they watched the sun over the marshland that had become their home.

Don was a loving husband and devoted father. He was a Freemason, and a veteran Infantryman who served 33 years in the United States Army. He is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Jo Ann Key; son, Don (Danette), and daughters, Suzanne (Richard) and Kathleen, as well as seven grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Copeland  Funeral Service – One Copeland Drive, Beaufort, South Carolina.

Visitation will be held from 10:30 – 11:30 A.M. on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

A private burial will immediately follow at Beaufort National Cemetery with a celebration of life held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that memorials of honor be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Online Condolences

  1. John Boles (LTC< USA) says:

    My condolences to the Stovall family. COL Stovall was Chief, United States Military Liaison Mission when I was stationed there in the early 1980’s. He was a fine gentleman and will be sorely missed.

  2. Angela Glomm says:

    Dear JoAnne, Suzanne, Donny and Kathleen,
    I have been thinking of you all since Dad called yesterday to say that Don had died. Dad said that he had had a brief note from you saying that everyone there is feeling very heavy. I can not imagine that it would be otherwise and yet when I think of you, a strong memory that comes to mind is sitting in the small piano room at your big house in Berlin and playing and singing Sunshine on my Shoulders with Suzanne. Today the sun is streaming through my window and I am sitting here at my computer watching the bluebirds light upon my birdfeeder and send a cascade of seed to the snow below where the Juncos and the Squirls gather to clean up the scraps…and the words of that song float through my mind… “Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry. Sunshine on the water (or in this case the snow) looks so lovely. Sunshine almost always makes me high. If I had a day that I could give, I’d give to you a day just like today. If I had a song that I could sing for you, I’d sing a song, to make you feel this way.” I surely wish that I could send a song and sunshine to your hearts. Memories that would touch the clean crisp air of Garmisch, the sparkling blue skies, and the lofty mountains. We have been blessed. You have been blessed. Don was blessed. May we all be grateful for what we have had. Sending you my heartfelt sympathy. With love, Angela

  3. Charlene Shufelt says:

    Dear Jo Ann and family,

    I have no words to express the shock and sadness I feel learning of the sudden death of Don. Please know I share your grief.

    As ever, Charlene

  4. Brian Mullady says:

    My condolences to the Stovall family on their loss. I served under Colonel Stovall in the 1980s and managed to burn up one of his tour cars while on a mission in East Germany. He could have fired me on the spot. But he didn’t. Instead he gave me great advice and allowed me to spend a 30-year career in the Army. He was a soldier’s soldier. He will be missed.

    Brian Mullady

  5. Wade Williams says:

    When one thinks of the ultimate role model of an officer and gentleman, the name of Don Stovall immediately surfaces. He was admired as both a scholar and highly decorated combat leader.
    Faye and I were fortunate to know and associate with Don and JoAnn socially

  6. Randy Greenwalt says:

    My condolences to Jo Ann and the Stovall family. Thank you, Don, for your leadership, friendship and many years of dedicated, and important, service.

  7. Mark & Shelley Beto says:

    Dear Jo Ann,

    Our deepest sympathies are with you and your family. We will always remember Colonel Stovall with profound gratitude as the one who brought us into the USMLM family and who served as a leader, a mentor, and an example for us all. May you and your family be sustained by your faith and by the many fond memories you made together in selfless service to the nation and its soldiers.

    Mark & Shelley Beto

  8. Ed Pusey says:

    COL Stovall was on the highest pedestal for us young Soviet FAOs in the early 1980’s. An officer and person to emulate. Always kind, always professional, respected, revered. His passing marks the end of an era. Thank you for your service. Peace to Jo Ann and the Stovall family.

    Ed & Sherrill Pusey

  9. Othar Shalikashvili says:

    How quickly life passes. I clearly remember meeting Don in January 1955 on my arrival at the machine gun committee. I was tremendously impressed by this truly outstanding instructor, comrade and volleyball player. The fact that we were in the same league as far as drinking beer and especially cognac, to say nothing of the smoked oysters we stuffed ourselves with, further helped to cement our friendship.

    I tried hard to keep Don in the sainted and sacred brotherhood, but the gods made the right choice for him, (and me, by extension) from the fate of an Infantry Bar wreck. My most sincere thanks to Don and, a few years later to Janet, my first wife and only one since I learned “couth and decorum” from Don and Jo Ann.

    He and Jo Ann did me another great favor: they convinced me that the “other” side were humans, too. I confirmed that in future years when I had some face-to-face with “them”.

    God has always been kind to Infantrymen – especially those with Silver Stars and Purple Hearts!

    Vsevo horoshevo

  10. Ed Corcoran says:

    Don and I were classmates and good friends at the Russian Institute. In the years after, we kept in touch and he was always a wonderful example of leadership in action.

  11. Peter Williams says:

    It was with great sadness that I and other members of the BRIXMIS Association received the news of the death of Colonel Don Stovall. He was a much respected friend and stalwart ally of the British Mission in Potsdam and was a source of wise advice and friendship to several Chiefs of BRIXMIS in the 1980s. He will be sorely missed by all of his British comrades. Our profound condolences are offered to his widow, Jo Ann, and to Suzanne, Don Jr, Kathleen and their families.

    Peter Williams, Chairman of the BRIXMIS Association

  12. Linwood Worster says:

    So sorry for your loss. Col Stovoll was one I admired very much in my brief (9 months) time touring in East Germany in 1969-70. He made us enlisted feel valuable and appreciated. It takes courage and self restrain to sit in the passenger seat and trust the person driving to do the right thing under sometimes dangerous situations. Thank you for the fond memories and oh yes, the Soviet pile cap.

    Linwood Worster USMLM 1969-70

  13. Bridget Chaney says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Stay strong and remember the good times with lots of hugs from the kids. Hugs from me too.
    Bridget.

  14. Mick & Sis Connolly says:

    Dear Jo Ann and the Stovall Family,
    Col Stovall’s thoughtful leadership provided my family and me the opportunity to serve at USMLM and opened the wonderful window of joining the Berlin FAO family. You all remain in our prayers.
    Mick Connolly
    USMLM 81-84

  15. Judith Linenfelser says:

    Dearest cousin JoAnn,

    Charles and I are so very sorry to hear about the passing away of Don, the love of your life! He is now at peace. We were so very fortunate to have known him while visiting with you all many times! I enjoyed reading about his military career and how he met you! Thank you for posting them in his obituary which I saved. You and your family (Don Jr, Suzanne, and Kathleen, and grandchildren) have our prayers and may God hold you all in His hands! All our love, Judy and Charles (Linenfelser)

  16. Joe Kerr says:

    Dear Jo Ann, Suzanne, Donny, and Kathleen
    I send my deepest sympathy to all of you on the death of Don…the leader of the Stovall tribe since forever. Working with and for Don was the highlight of my military career and becoming a member of his and the family’s wide circle of friends added so much to my appreciation for the depth of his wisdom and patriotism…traits that he had in great abundance. I hope that you can be sustained in your loss by the realization that Don’s example of excellence in all things that mattered set him up as a role model for a legion of officers and associates whose lives were enhanced by exposure to Don and your family. RIP Don and Godspeed to all the Stovall family as you go forward in his absence.

  17. Gary and Sharon Lawrence says:

    Mrs. Stovall

    Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with you and your family on the passing of your husband.

    V/r

    Gary and Sharon Lawrence

  18. Nicholas Troyan says:

    nikvelikiy@hotmail.com
    My deepest sympathy and condolences on the death of Colonel Stovall. When he replaced Colonel Thorsen as Chief of USMLM, I was processing out of the Mission, so only served under him for a very short time.

  19. Robert Gerard says:

    Dear Friend Don Stovall – Don was the originator and leader of the “Hard Core”, a follow-on , informal group of members of the famous Machine Gun Committee, of the Weapons Department at Fort Benning, GA. during the 1960s. This hardy group had its birth in the BOQ next to the Officers Club at Ft. Benning. Over time, the group grew larger and met on a yearly basis under Don’s clever organizing and leadership skills, sharing songs and war stories of times gone by. God bless Don Stovall.

  20. Graham Vernon says:

    Don’s family and friends deeply feel his loss. These feelings are somewhat lessened by the knowledge that Don had an exceptionally good life. He was successful and respected in his career, treasured and respected by his friends, and a member of a close and loving family. We really can’t ask for more than that. God speed, Don, and safe home.

  21. Leah and Peter Van Driest says:

    Our dearest JoAnn (and my cherished first cousin) and Family:

    What do you say when you’ve known a fine man, a man’s man, a caring man, a gentle man, a serviceman, a patriotic man, a family man….what do you say when that man is now lost to us on Earth, is no longer with us but with our memories? What do you say when our Country, so in need of men like him, has just lost what is needed? You say–thanks be to God that he was here. That’s what you say.

    He will be missed.

    All our love and caring thoughts to all of you.
    Leah and Peter Van Driest

  22. Leah Balint says:

    Dear and Aunt JoAnn and family,

    I am Truly sorry to hear of Uncle Don’s passing. I know you must be feeling very heavy of heart at this time and how difficult it is. I want to you know I have you in my prays and send you my love.

    Leah and family

  23. Amy Guder says:

    Don was one of the kindest and most dear men I’ve ever known. He touched my family’s lives in a very special ways throughout my life. I’m so grateful to have been blessed by knowing him.

  24. Peter and Christine J Podbielski says:

    Our most sincere condolences to JoAnn and the Stovall family.
    Don Stovall was a generous leader who demonstrated expertise, humility, and empathy. As Commandant of the US Army Russian Institute and in keeping with Russian tradition, he quietly encouraged (tolerated) the publication of a Samizdat paper that poked fun of Institute doings. Always professional, we remember COL Stovall as a good person.

    We keep him in our prayers,
    Peter and Christine Podbielski

  25. Warren & Kim Wagner says:

    We were so sorry to hear of COL Stovall’s passing. How could the man who maxed the PT test on the day of his second retirement ever die?! What a huge impact he had on many all over the world. We send our deepest sympathy to JoAnn and the family.

  26. Alexander (Sasha) & Veronique Garin says:

    Dear JoAnn and the Stovall family, please receive our condolences for the Don’s departure. I had an honor to work in the Russian Army Institute in Garmisch under his leadership. Our common old friends, Mr. and Ms. Posdeeves warned me before his arrival as a Commandant to Garmisch: “It is a happiness to work with such a boss” (they knew you already beforehand as the students of the Russian language) and they were right. Don was also a man of honor, his biography speaks about astounding integrity of his person during all his life. To know such a character after the emigration from the corrupted Soviet Union during the Cold War surely raised the spirits and gave a feeling that we are on a right track here in the West for the better future world. Dear JoAnn if you will happen to be in the vicinity of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we with Veronique would get it as an honor to see you visiting us (as we happily had enjoyed your visit with Don to our home some time ago).
    Sincerely yours, Sasha and Veronique.

  27. Roxy Schoen says:

    Suzanne, Donny, Kathleen, and JoAnn, I’m so sad to hear this news. I remember so clearly Don working hard finishing your basement in Money’s Corner, putting up the beautiful walls and flooring, framing out rooms. How he found the time to do all of that, as well as everything else he did, I cannot imagine – and yet he then showed up at the barn with a 2′ 9″ coop and a 3′ brush box that he had constructed for you (and all of us) to learn to jump solid jumps. I jumped the coop many, many times with many horses – but only had the courage to jump the brush box a couple of times. 🙂 Don was giving and kind and I will always remember him fondly.
    Best to you all
    Roxy

  28. Stephen V. Hoyt says:

    I was very saddened to hear about Don’s passing. I served under him at USMLM and stayed in touch in the years since that time. I will always remember him for the contributions he made to the success of USMLM. He went to Heidelberg–often more challenging than going on tour in East Germany–and procured civilian slots for the Mission; these slots allowed for the hiring of an amazing team of civilians.
    He was also responsible for procuring the “G-Wagon” that many Tour Officers and Tour NCOs drove.
    He was always upbeat and supportive. I was not surprised to learn that he had two Silver Stars.
    He was an outstanding leader and a fine man!

Send Condolences