GALVESTON – Don Rouse, Sr. entered his eternal reward on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 following his 81st birthday. Born in Galveston to H.C. and Anna Rouse on February 3, 1926, Don was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, mentor and friend. He was an honored veteran of WWII, an avid outdoorsman, a highly respected Boy Scout leader, a dedicated U.S. Customs officer, a distinguished Ducks Unlimited Leader and a successful Strand Merchant for 24 years.
Don enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and served aboard the USS Missouri in the Pacific Theater during World War II, witnessing the Japanese surrender on board the ship on September 2, 1945. Don attended the 60th Anniversary of the surrender in 2005 aboard the USS Missouri in Hawaii with his grandson Dustin. In 1948, upon returning to Galveston, Don married his sweetheart Evelyn Unbehagen Rouse and raised a family of six children. They celebrated 52 years of marriage prior to Evelyn’s passing in 2000.
Don served in the U.S. Customs Service for 42 years. In 1982, he and Evelyn founded Don Rouse’s Wildlife Gallery on the Strand, realizing his dream by matching a love of the outdoors with the desire to build a business on his beloved Galveston Island. He fulfilled this dream successfully until the time of his death.
As a Scout leader, Don led many Boy Scouts and Explorer Scouts on extensive wilderness expeditions throughout the U.S. and Canada. Don was a member of St. Patrick’s Boy Scout Troop #1 and received his Eagle Scout honor in 1941. In 1958, he was awarded the Silver Beaver, one of Boy Scout’s highest honors for a leader. Don served three years as area chairman for the Galveston Chapter Ducks Unlimited organization and went on to become a National Trustee of DU. He was a member of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The USS Missouri Association, Knights of Columbus Council 787, Ball High Booster Club and Tornette Booster Club, past president of the St. Patrick’s Men’s Club and a lifelong member of St. Patrick Catholic Church.
He passed his sense of adventure and love for the outdoors on to his children and grandchildren who shared many hunting, fishing and travel experiences with him. His greatest pride was his children, his grandchildren and his extended family. He cherished the time he spent with them, as did they with him.
He is preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Evelyn Unbehagen Rouse, his parents, brother Fred Rouse, Sr., sister-in-law Helen and husband Earl, brother-in-law John Unbehagen, and his best friend Louis Magnani.
He is survived by his daughters Cathy Kane and husband Skip of Randle, Washington, Cindy Haithcoat and husband Mike of Friendswood, Linda Cartwright and husband Kenneth of Austin, Lisa Milo and husband David of Galveston; sons Donnie Rouse and wife Patty of Bayou Vista, Danny Rouse of Eagle Lake; grandchildren, Dustin Haithcoat (U.S. Navy), Matthew Kerr, Nikki, Amy and D.J. Rouse, Hannah and Jordan Cartwright, Summer Wilson and husband Carson, and Samantha Milo; sisters in-law Doris Rouse Parsons, Joy Unbehagen, Nelda Davis and husband Virgil; brothers in-law O.C. Unbehagen and wife, Jean, Ted Unbehagen and wife Phyllis, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family will receive visitors Friday, February 16, 2007 after 5 p.m. with a rosary at 7 p.m. at Malloy & Son Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, February 17, 2007, at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Burial will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Galveston.
Pallbearers will be Donnie Rouse, Danny Rouse, Dustin Haithcoat, Matthew Kerr, D.J. Rouse, Art Rose, Ted Unbehagen, and Frank Marczak. Honorary Pallbearers will be Fred O. Brown, O.C. Unbehagen, Virgil Davis, Jack King, Dr. Ed Futch and Jordan Cartwright.
A special thank you to Frank Marczak, Edna Milutin and Lu Warren for their dear friendship and kindness to Don for so many years. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Boy Scouts of America, The American Heart Association or Hospice Care Team, Inc.