Donald Earl Rust, 85, of Cabool, Missouri, was born on March 6, 1929 just north of Cabool in the Shady Grove community to James Earl Rust and Mary Frances “Fannie” Bennett Rust. Don grew up on the farm that had been in the family for three generations and was baptized along with his brother Gerald and sister Beulah at a young age. He attended Cabool Schools, graduating in 1947, and played on the high school football team in the famous Cabool Bulldog “pit.”
Don was always interested in automobiles and as a young man owned a Model A Ford. Egged on by friends, he once drove his car down the sidewalk on Cabool’s Main Street. The city police saw the transgression but were unable to identify either the car or the driver and Don’s friends covered for him and invented alibis.
Don’s car played a role in his courtship with the woman he would later marry, Lynn Ullman. As one of the few young men in Cabool with a car, Don was very popular with Lynn’s gang of friends as he provided free transportation wherever they wished to go. And what young man would not want to be seen with a gaggle of giggling young ladies piled in his car driving around town? One thing led to another and soon enough Don and Lynn were dating exclusively.
When war broke out in Korea, Don was drafted into the Army and reported for duty and basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in 1952. Later he was stationed at Fort Crowder in Arkansas and then shipped out from Seattle to Japan. The conflict was over by the time Don reached Japan, but much work was still needed to repair the damages from World War II and Don worked in communications, laying wire and operating radios. While in Japan, Don and Lynn exchanged letters almost daily. When Don was discharged from the service in 1953, the first thing he did was to look up Lynn, who at that time was living and working in St. Louis. Don proposed, Lynn accepted, and they were married by her grandfather, Earnest Sitts, in Willow Springs, Missouri, in 1954.
Don and Lynn bought an 80-acre farm just north of Cabool where Highway 63 crosses Piney River at the crossing known as Gardner Ford. The old three-story house on the property, which had been a roadhouse and dance hall in the 1930s, later served as a chicken house, and then had been vacant for years. When Don purchased it, it needed quite a bit of TLC. The house, although derelict, was a stately three-story home with columns and porches on both the ground and second floors. Don fixed up the first floor first with a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bath and a small hidden room right in the center. You had to know where the secret room was to get into it. The family lived on the first floor until Don fixed up the second floor with a kitchen, dining room, two bedrooms and a bath. The family then moved up to the second floor and soon after Don built two bedrooms in the attic. The bedrooms were accessed by a magical stairway that was on hinges and could be pulled up into the ceiling with a system of ropes, pulleys and counter weights in order to access a second set of stairs leading down to the first floor. If you were in the attic rooms and someone closed the stairway, you had to walk carefully down the steps and “ride” them down, balancing your weight just right so that the stairs did not crash. After completing the attic bedrooms, Don returned to the first floor where he built a recreation room with a pool table, and a TV den lined with bookshelves with a stone fireplace. Don collected old farm tools and antiques and these decorated the TV den.
Don and Lynn had three children, Cathy Donalyn, born April 18, 1955; Robin Joy, born November 5, 1957; and Randall Lyndon, born April 7, 1961. Don loved to travel and took the family on many wonderful trips all around the United States. Among the places visited were Disney Land, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park, Lake Superior, Canada, the World’s Fair in Montreal in 1967, the entire eastern seaboard from Maine to Key West, New Orleans, the World’s Fair in San Antonio, Custer National Park, the Devil’s Tower, and many other places too numerous to mention. The family made frequent trips to Granby, Colorado, to visit Don’s brother Gerald and his family.
Don farmed, raised cattle and had a milk route in the 1950s. Don also had a television repair shop in Cabool during the 1960s. Later he went to work at the Producers Creamery in Cabool. The Creamery later became Mid America Dairy and Don retired in 1991.
Don’s love of travel increased after retirement, and he and Lynn traveled to New Zealand, Europe, Mexico, Jamaica, and took countless trips driving an RV around the United States, Canada, and Alaska. Don and Lynn went on several cruises and were also known to hop on a plane to Las Vegas with only a couple of days’ notice. In fact, sometimes the kids did not know where their parents were until they read about their adventures in the Shady Grove column of the Cabool Enterprise.
Don and Lynn moved from the farm into Cabool in 2006. Moving off the farm was a hard decision, but Don enjoyed the freedom from brush hogging, mowing grass and maintaining all the buildings on the property and had much more time for visiting family, researching the family history and travel. Don also loved auctions where he would see many friends and always find a bargain.
On April 13, 2014 Don fell and broke three ribs. Although he was injured he insisted upon traveling up to Robin’s house to hear Robin and Randy perform with the Columbia Chorale at the Missouri Theater later that day. However he was not feeling well upon arriving at Robin’s so was taken to the VA hospital in Columbia. Upon admission, it was discovered that Don had several serious health issues and he remained at the VA hospital until his passing early in the morning April 25, 2014.
Don is survived by his wife of 60 years, Lynn; daughter Cathy and Jerry Smith; daughter Robin and Ray Ealey; son Randy and wife Melissa; grandchildren Shannon Smith, Caitlyn and husband Chase Fosse, Brandon Rust and Jordan Rust; his sister, Beulah Hood; and other family includes step granddaughters Maggie and husband Scott Lutz, Elizabeth and husband Derik Stott and great-grandchildren Drew and Kate Lutz, all of Columbia.
Services were held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at Cabool United Methodist Church with Dr. Michael Lawton officiating. Pallbearers were Chase Fosse, Jerry Hood, Jon Hood, Mike Hood, Esteban Pedrazas, and Jerry Smith. Honorary pallbearers were Harold Bennett, Bill Dickison, Ray Ealey, Rick Hood, Dennis Raney, and Harold Spieckermann. Interment with full military honors was in Cabool Cemetery under the direction of Elliott-Gentry-Carder Funeral Home of Cabool. Online condolences may be made at www.egcfuneralhome.com.
In lieu of flowers the family has requested contributions be made to Cabool Alumni Association, the Cabool United Methodist Church youth program or to The Animal Shelter of Texas County