Mr. Don A. Buckalew
1934 – 2023
Don Buckalew was a native of Montgomery County, he was raised at a sawmill in Magnolia, where he lived all of his early life and graduated as valedictorian from Magnolia High School in 1952. Don went on to Baylor University and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
After beginning his career in the automobile business in Tomball, Don moved to Humble, where he worked at Robbins Chevrolet. Don became co-owner of Weisinger-Buckalew Chevrolet in Conroe on January 1, 1965. Following the death of W.B. Weisinger, Don became the sole owner and renamed the dealership Buckalew Chevrolet in 1974.He served as Chairman of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) in 1985-1986. In 2008, he received the TADA Legend Award. He was a nominee of the Time Magazine Quality Dealer Award in 1987 and recipient of the Northwood Dealer Education Award in 1995. In addition, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Houston Automobile Dealers Association and was presented his 50-Year Dealer Award from General Motors in 2015.The name Don Buckalew has become synonymous with civic / community service throughout his 66 years in the automotive industry. His leadership, organizational skills, dedication and common sense approach to innumerable public projects and organizations is well known. He had a passion for helping others and working in various activities and organizations that enhance and promote opportunities for young people.In 1963, at the age of 29, he was the youngest Lion’s Club District Governor in the state of Texas and his leadership with the International Association of Lion’s Club was established. Don went on to serve as an elected International Director from Texas in 1974-1976, and was appointed to the International Board three times for one year terms. He was the recipient of the “Ambassador of Good Will Award,” the highest honor one can receive from the International Association. Other Lion honors include The Melvin Jones Fellow, Texas Lions Foundation Fellow, many International President’s Awards, and the “Conroe Noon Lion of the Year” award in 1970-1971. Don was elected to the Texas Lions Hall of Fame and the District 2-S2 Hall of Fame.Don Buckalew has always been an advocate for public schools. As a former president of the Conroe Independent School District Board of Trustees, he helped lead the district through a time of considerable growth with the opening of 11 new schools, including one new high school. Don’s commitment to youth and his devotion to education was recognized by the Conroe Independent School District on November 22, 1998 with the dedication of the Don. A Buckalew Elementary School.Don was instrumental in transforming the Montgomery County FFA and 4-H Club member’s junior livestock and non-livestock auctions from a Chamber of Commerce committee project to the Montgomery County Fair Association in 1978 and served as the Charter President for 4 years. Don continued to be active and served as a leader in this association until his death.Being one volunteer of some 35,000 volunteers with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is another example of Don’s love for young people. His involvement with HLSR spanned over 55 years. He served as a vice-president from 1992-1994 and remained a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Executive Committee from1996 until his death.Respect for Don’s leadership has been exhibited in many other areas. He assisted with the formation of the Greater Conroe Economic Development Council in 1997 and served as its Chairman for 10 years. He was former Director of Allied Conroe Bank, past President of the Conroe Chamber of Commerce, past President of the Montgomery County Hospital Board of Managers and the Inaugural President of the Conroe Area Youth Baseball Association. He also coached Little League baseball and Pee Wee football teams.Don A. Buckalew has been known in the area as a highly respected businessman, civic leader, humanitarian, Baylor Bear, Lion, longtime member of First Baptist Conroe and a friend to many. He is also remembered by loved ones, friends and employees for his loyalty, generosity and his integrity. Most of us can agree that Don was opinionated and firm, but his decisions were almost always fair and just. Don was a man of his word and gave without wanting anything in return. He had a meaningful life and in his own words, “my civic and community involvements along with my family were lifelong hobbies.”Don was proud of his Magnolia heritage and the opportunity to grow up in a small community. He gave his parents, L.A. and Nellie Mae Buckalew credit for helping him develop a strong work ethic, commitment to community and dedication to volunteerism.Don is survived by his wife, Elaine, and children: Debbie (Larry) Campbell, Donnie (Leesa) Buckalew, Denny (Melanie) Buckalew, Deann (Greg) Alger, Kristen (Charlie) Balke, Bryan (Hanna) Sutherland and Lacey (Barkley) Spikes. His thirteen grandchildren include: Kristen (Mike) O’Brien, Dayna (Justin) Wieghat, Blake Buckalew, Brandon Buckalew, Blair Alger, Brooke Alger (fiance Kyle Price), Blaine Alger, Phillip Roberts, Cortney Roberts, Griffin Schultz, Ella Schultz, Finley Spikes and Rex Spikes. Great grandchildren include: Teagan Wieghat, Taylee Wieghat, Trinity O’Brien and Tabitha O’Brien.