The life of Donald Ray Sheets began December 10, 1936, in Avilla, Missouri and he entered into eternal rest on June 7, 2022, in Joplin, Missouri.
Don spent his childhood years in Joplin and Webb City. He graduated from Webb city High School in 1954, then from the Air Travel Institute in Kansas City in 1955.
Don began a 36-year career in the travel business at Ozark Air Lines and later at AAA World Wide Travel. He and his wife, Nancy, moved to Joplin in 1972 to open Joplin Tour & Travel. They later owned the Athletic Center and Travel Planners in Joplin, (1982-1994) and Travel Planners in Bella Vista and Bentonville, Arkansas (1990-1996).
Don thoroughly enjoyed planning tours and cruises for groups, and he escorted thousands of people all over the world, visiting 112 foreign countries and islands. Travel Planners received awards from TWA and 4 cruise lines for group travel development in our four-state area. He was honored by Royal Cruise Lines by being asked to represent them at a special dinner in the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China.
After retirement from the travel business, Don sold real estate at PRO 100 Realtors for 6 years and later worked in the pro shop at Carthage Golf Course for 8 years. He did not like idle time and volunteered at Freeman Health Systems before becoming employed there as a patient advocate.
Don married the love of his life, Nancy Maria Ashworth, on July 4, 1965, in Athens, Ohio. She survives. Additional survivors include three sons; Gary (Charlene) Sheets of Carthage, Missouri, David Sheets of Springfield, Missouri, and Eric (Stacey) Sheets of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Seven grandchildren, Jenny (Sam) Madsen, Amanda Lyn (Lee) Hollars, Michael (Sarah) Sheets, Amanda Leigh (Brandon) Sheets, Stephanie (Casey) Haley, Ethan (Deb) Sheets and Alex Sheets. Eight great-grandchildren, Eli, Connor, Courtney, Daniel, Kenzie, Kyler, Kelby, Ellie. He is also survived by a brother, Carl Sheets of Carthage, Missouri and a special nephew, Scott (Debbie) Sheets of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Alpha Sheets, and a grandson, Zachariah Wayne Sheets.
Don is a member of St Paul’s United Methodist Church where he was very active.
Memorial services will be 2:00 pm Thursday June 23, 2022, at St Paul’s United Methodist Church. Visitation will be 1:00pm Thursday prior to the service. A private family interment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.
PLEASE NOTE NEW SERVICE DATE
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
Arrangements are under the direction of Mason-Woodard Mortuary & Crematory Joplin, Missouri.