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Ralph “Don” Donald Ahrendt

Memorial services for Don Ahrendt, 85, of Giddings, will be held at St. James’ Episcopal Church in La Grange on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 at 11 a.m. A memorial service was also held on Monday, Nov. 18, 2019, at Marek Burns Laywell Funeral Home in Cameron.

Ralph “Don” Donald Ahrent was born at home in 1934 on his grandfather’s farm near Lexington, to Frank and Myrtie (Campbell) Ahrendt. He attended Lexington schools and graduated in 1952 from Lexington High School. 

Don then entered Texas A&M, but later received my BS in Accounting from Bradley University in Peoria in 1967(squeezing four years of college into 16). He was drafted in 1955 and served two years in the US Army in Europe as Company Clerk and Military Policeman (793rd MP BN). After returning from Germany, he went to work for International Harvester Company in Houston.

Later in 1964, he was promoted to District Accountant and transferred to Peoria, Ill.  While in Peoria, he met and married Arlene Callender and in late 1968 they decided to move to Austin. He went back to work for International Harvester as a Zone Credit Manager for Central Texas. 

Don also started back to college part time at the University of Texas to get a master’s degree, but was unable to finish due to family obligations, as their family had now grown to six, with three daughters and a son. He then worked for the State of Texas as Office Manager for the Merit System for one year, until going to work as a welder for Alcoa in Rockdale.  

While working at Alcoa, he was a member of the Executive Board of the United Steelworkers for 14 years until retirement in late 1991. The Executive Board handled all grievances filed by Union members and negotiated Labor Contracts with Alcoa for the Union. After retiring from Alcoa, he was hired as General Manager by Tyler Bus Company. During his time there, the company grew from three pre-1970 buses to six new ones by 1998. The company contracted for tours all over the United States.

Don also served as County Chairman of the Milam County Democratic Party for 10 years until going to work in 1998 for Milam County. He served as Court Clerk and later Justice of the Peace of Precinct 2 for Milam County. It was during this time that he lost his wife of 43 years to cancer. Two years later he met Marjorie, retired and moved to Lee County. He served as president of the German Club in Giddings for many years.

Don passed away the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, at Baylor Scott & White in College Station.

Don is preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Myrtie Ahrendt; his wife, Arlene, and one brother, David Ahrendt.

He is survived by four children, Bill Ahrendt of Illinois, Kelly Ahrendt-Dellerman of Cameron, Stacey Ahrendt of Houston, and Rachel and Glenn Cole of Cameron; eight grandchildren, Michelle and Jason Petty of Salado, Jeremiah and Lynn Botts of Holland, Dustin Wheeler of Rockdale, Nicholas Wuthrich of Houston, Gavin Wuthrich of Houston, Andrew Cole of Temple, Alex Cole of Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., and Patrick Cole of Cameron; seven great-grandchildren, Robi, Kelsi, and Layni Petty of Salado, Elijah, Ethan, Aiden Botts of Holland, and Braxton Wheeler of Rockdale; his beloved, Marjorie Ettredge of Giddings; sister, Kay and Ernie Sweat of Lexington; brother, Michael and Carol Ahrendt of Lexington; sister-in-law, Kay Ahrendt of Austin, and many nieces, nephews, other family members and friends.

Memorials may be made to the charity of one’s choice.

Arrangements by Phillips and Luckey Funeral Home in Giddings.


The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902