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.
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.