Don Mize, 63, died during a training exercise for the League City Volunteer Fire Department. He was a cadet. He had just retired from teaching for 39 years and was extremely excited about helping in the community. He was always involved in the community and county.
As a teacher, Don felt that every student would find their way and become successful. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He wrote and received many grants that benefited the school and Clear Creek ISD. Even after retirement he was at school on a regular basis, helping out the department he chaired or putting furniture together for the principal. One day the assistant principal said, “Didn’t he retire?”
For years, Don belonged to the Galveston County Historical Society. He did research and obtained historical markers for many old homes and churches in League City and Galveston. He obtained street sign changes to commemorate citizens of Galveston. He took particular interest in a deaf lifeguard who saved almost a thousand lives during his lifetime, but had been forgotten by most; even his grave was unmarked. Don’s research obtained a state historical plaque that we placed in front of the convention center on the seawall, as well as changing that part of the street to “Leroy Colombo’s View.” He also raised money for a marker for his grave.
Don was a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus member. After retiring, he went through Texas State Guard Training in order to help with disaster relief and through League City Citizens Police Academy. He was looking forward to helping the community as a volunteer fireman.
Don has a daughter, Stacey Mize, and two grandsons, Jordan (17), and Connor (2 ½) from a previous marriage.
On the last day of his life, at 4 a.m., he opened up the YMCA, where he worked part-time and exercised every day. We went to Clear View High School, where we were substituting for the STAR and TAKS tests. He was in a very good mood, laughing and talking during lunch. When we got home, he got on the computer to study and take tests for his fire school classes. He got out his bunker gear and stopwatch to practice getting dressed in under a minute; he was close. It was almost time for him to go to his fire practice, so he packed his gear and rushed for the garage door. The strap to his bag snagged on the doorknob, and I grabbed it and pulled him toward me. I said, “Slow down. Take a breath. You won’t be late.” I kissed him and said, “I love you.” He said, “I love you, too.” After finishing the training stations, he stepped out of his boots and collapsed.