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Donald L. Dudgeon


Donald (Don) Lee Dudgeon, 86, of Lutz, Florida, went home to be with the Lord on June 21, 2021. Don battled Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), a type of bone marrow cancer, for nearly two years. Don was a wonderful man who will be missed by many.  His life revolved around faith, family, and service to others.

Don was born on June 17, 1935 in Van Wert, Ohio. He was raised in northwest Ohio by parents Voyle and Audrey, along with younger brother Clair and sister Barbara. Don contracted polio in eighth grade where he missed a full year of school and worked hard to overcome its physical effects. After much hard work and an opportunity provided by his coach and mentor, Bud Monroe, Don became a standout first baseman and pitcher in high school and was a member of Ohio’s High School “All-Star” baseball team. Don was voted Senior Class President and graduated from Wren High School in 1953. He was honored as the “Outstanding Senior in Van Wert County” that year.

Don was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at the University of Michigan and graduated in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After graduation, Don began his professional career at the headquarters of Central Mutual Insurance Company in Van Wert, Ohio. It was there where he met his wife Suzanne (Friedly) Dudgeon. They were married in 1958 and within four years had a son and two daughters. Don became Central Mutual’s youngest officer at the age of 26, serving as Assistant Secretary. For five-years Don served in the Ohio National Guard and was involved in Van Wert’s Rotary Club, the Jaycees, and a number of other community and charitable organizations. Don also used his skills and love of baseball to coach in Van Wert’s youth baseball leagues.

Don often shared how he became a follower of Jesus in 1968 when he accepted Christ into his life. Soon afterwards, Don became a founding member of Calvary Evangelical Church, and several years later led his family on a mission trip to Haiti. In 1977 Don and Suzanne believed God was calling them into full-time Christian work. Don left the business world and the family’s roots in Ohio to relocate to Southern California with their three high schoolers. There, Don served as the Human Resources Director for Campus Crusade for Christ (now “CRU”), overseeing more than 25,000 staff world-wide. He was instrumental in implementing comprehensive health insurance programs and long-term planning for CRU’s staff. Don also served his local community, as an Elder at Crestline Community Church, and as Rotary Club president.

In 1990 Don and Suzanne moved to Little Rock, Arkansas to join the staff of FamilyLife, a CRU ministry helping people strengthen their marriages and families through Biblically-based life principles. Don operated in a Human Resources capacity there, in addition to speaking with wife Suzanne at FamilyLife conferences throughout the country. Don became the inaugural International Director for FamilyLife, personally visiting 25 countries overseas while helping to launch FamilyLife ministries into 70 more.

In 1992 Don visited Novgorod, Russia, with several others from Little Rock.  Seeing the need and having a vision, they helped raise funds to build a church and train pastors there. The congregation is still thriving and the church seats more than 1,000 people. In 1995 Don was a founding member of The Summit Church in Little Rock and served as Administrative Pastor there for five years.

In 2005, Don and Suzanne moved to Lutz, Florida to be near their two-year-old grand twins where Don was Human Resources Director for Alpha-Omega Title, his son-in-law’s title insurance company.

Though Don was successful and accomplished, his primary focus along with his faith was his family. Don loved his wife, loved their three children and their families, loved to work, and loved to serve.  Don was a true Man of God – wise, joyful, servant-hearted, and faithful. He knew what really mattered and devoted his life to advancing God’s kingdom.

Don is survived by his loving wife Suzanne of 62 ½ years; son Greg and wife Susan; daughter Jodi and husband Will Joyce; daughter Lori and husband Byron “Gibbs” Wilson, Jr.; and seven grandchildren: Matthew, Sierra, Ryan, Denali, Hunter, Andrew, Zachary, and two great-grandchildren: Teddy and Zooey.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held Thursday, July 1, at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida.  Visitation will take place at 10 am and the Service will be held at 11 am EST.  Idlewild Baptist Church is located at 18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd, Lutz, FL 33548. The service will be livestreamed for those unable to attend in person at https://youtu.be/685NNPJ76kk.  A second memorial service will take place on Sunday, July 11, at 1:00 pm EST at Calvary Evangelical Church in Van Wert, Ohio.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to “International Christian Response” (ICR), which supports persecuted Believers in 44 countries (www.christianresponse.org/give). Donations are tax deductible and may be made online or checks may be sent to: ICR, P.O. Box 611, Lynden, WA 98264.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

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  • Darryl & Kathy Bowe says:

    Our deepest sympathy to Suzanne and family on the homegoing of loving, caring, gentle Don! We will remember his
    well-lived life always centered on Jesus and deeply devoted to you, dear Suzanne. You are in our prayers. 🙏
    ~ Darryl & Kathy Bowe
    Federal Way, WA.

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