Dr. Donald Gene Stutters, Ed.D., left this earth on January 10, 2023. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Sandra Welch Stutters, son Mitchell Don Stutters, daughter April DeAnn Stutters, God children Alex Albrecht, and Sadie Albrecht, nieces Carolyn Hamburger and Linda Cain, and sisters-in-laws Diann Morris and Erma Krieger. He is predeceased by his parents Claud and Nella Stutters, sister Evelyn Russell, brother Bob Stutters and brothers-in-law Maurice Welch and Bob Morris.
On 22 May, 1933, Don was born on his parent’s farm near Greenfield, Oklahoma (OK). In the 6th grade his family moved to Calif. (WW II had erupted) and his father took a job in the shipyards. Don loved living in California during this time because he only went to school ½ a day and the rest of the day worked shaking fig trees and playing baseball. He also went to a lot of western movies and was able to meet many of the stars. After the war the family moved to Watonga, OK. He played sports during high school & went to Midwestern University in Wichita Falls, TX., on a football scholarship. He played there two years & then he transferred with a football scholarship to Southwestern State College in Weatherford, OK for his final two years. He coached sports in Wellington, TX , Lamar, CO, and then returned to Southwestern State College to coach and earn his Masters Degree. During that time he met Sandra Welch, and 7 weeks later they married on Christmas Day 1957, in the Cooperton Baptist Church. The couple took jobs teaching at Sargent, CO and in 1960 Coach Joe Prater hired him as an Assistant Coach at Pueblo Junior College which led to him coaching and teaching at what is now called Colorado State University-Pueblo.
One of the most memorable events of Don’s life was on 29 Aug 1970. The football team was practicing when a small cloud came over and a lightning bolt struck the football that player Dennis Nauslar was catching. Don and Fred Oglesby gave him CPR until medical help arrived. For their efforts on Oct. 28,1970, they each received an award from the Red Cross and certificate signed by President Nixon honoring them for saving a life.
In 1968, he earned a doctorate degree from the University of Colorado. In 1975, he took sabbatical and drove to Denver 5 days a week to work under several heart specialists. This was before we had heart rehab centers in Pueblo, so at his return some of the heart doctors asked him to run a heart rehab center at the University. Patients would come with their prescriptions and he would oversee them on the exercise machines. Don’s program was written up in the TV Guide magazine.
In 1989, he and Sandra served as candlelighters at the wedding of Todd and Kelly Albrecht. Their hearts were broken when the Albrecht’s first born child – Andrew, was born and only survived about 21 days, but when their next child Alex, was born they shared God-Parent privileges with Barb and Wendell Grishow. The good luck continued when the Albrecht’s had a daughter Sadie and once again they were honored to be God Parents.
Along his life’s journey some other nice things have happened:
The Watonga Football team (on which he played) won the State Championship in 1948. He also played on the Basketball team that qualified for the State Finals, The Lamar HS team, (on which he helped Coach Prater ) won the state football championship. The
Southwestern, OK team (where he was an Assistant Coach while finishing his Masters) won the conference for the first time since the 1930’s, The Sargent, CO Track Team he coached won the conference for the first time in 20 years. He was Teacher of the Year at the University in both 1984 and 1986.
The University dropped football (along with several other sports) and he constantly worked to restore them. He began an athletic newsletter to keep athletes united in restoring football. Interest was high and he conducted a number of reunions, which brought many people back to Pueblo. He retired in 1990, but continued working for restoration of football. And Football was finally reinstated mainly due to the efforts of a former player, Dan DeRose. The Newsletter continued as he found that it was fun keeping up with former athletes and letting them know what each other were doing (and besides, the former players wouldn’t let him quit!). In Pueblo in 1993, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by The Greater Pueblo Sports Association. He organized several player’s reunions. He was inducted into the charter class for the Football Hall of Fame in Watonga, OK in 2005.In 2019 he was inducted into the CSU-P Sports Hall of Fame, charter group.
Don and Sandy traveled after retirement and he continued with his passions, golf, fishing, bridge, and attending CSU-P Football Games.
Services will be held at Montgomery Steward Funeral Home located at 1317 N. Main Street in Pueblo, CO at 11:00 am on Monday, January 16th.
If you wish, and since Don was not a “flower” person, please consider making a donation to the CSU-Pueblo Football Team. Donations can be mailed directly to:
CSU Pueblo Athletics
2200 Bonforte Blvd.
Pueblo, CO 81001
Or Donate Online:
Please note on your check or in the comments online: “in memory of Don Stutters.”