James “Donald” Rutledge or best known as Daddy, Granddaddy, Pard, Hondo, Cowboy or Cub, of Abilene, died Wednesday, November 20, 2019, in Abilene at the age of 96. His granddaughter Claira said it best, “he’s hugging Nanny Jean and meeting Jesus”.
The son of the late Blanche (James) and Hardy Rutledge, Donald was born on October 4, 1923 in Trent, Texas. He graduated from Trent High School. Donald has been competing in amateur rodeos, working on ranches, and training cutting horses since he was 16. He was quoted as saying, “all I’ve ever wanted to do is ride a horse”. Donald was a member of the National Cutting Horse Association, the West Texas Cutting Horse Association, and the Ranch Horse Association of America. He was a member of Wylie Baptist Church.
Donald married Jean Rodgers on December 21, 1946 in Abilene. She preceded him in death on May 19, 2012. Donald and Jean were active in the cutting horse circle where she enjoyed critiquing him from the stands.
He was preceded in death his parents; sister, Velma Robinson; brother, Weldon “Potter” Rutledge and twin sister, Dorothy Watkins.
Donald is survived by Rusty Rutledge and wife Brenda of Austin, Texas; and daughter, Donna Lee Lawrence and husband Royce of Tecumseh, Texas; grandchildren, Cody Cochran and wife Jennifer, Rusti Rogger and husband Michael, Brian Rutledge and wife Kristen, Kiely Wolters and husband Ollie, Cody Lawrence and wife Karly, Kyle Lawrence and wife Megan, and Rhett Lawrence; great grandchildren, Chloe Rogger, Will, Jesse and Claira Cochran, Gus and Ellie Rutledge, Sam and Maggie Stalnecker, Kate Wolters, Kinsey and Kisely Lawrence, and Kooper and Lindy Lawrence and several nieces and nephews.
Pallbearers will be Rickey Snowden, Gene Baker, Rodney Callaway, Arlon Baize, Tommy Rogers and Randy Carson.
Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Saturday, November 23, 2019 at Wylie Baptist Church with Cody Cochran, officiating. Interment will follow in Trent Cemetery directed by The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road.
Memorial contributions may be made to Bethel Assembly, 101 Commercial Ave, Anson, Texas 79501, or the donor’s charity of choice.
The family first began in the funeral business in 1933. The Hamil's legacy, beginning with the Elliott's to John and Jo Ann Hamil and now continuing with Robert and Karla Hamil, is to serve families in their time of need.