Donnie Van Meter died in a traffic accident at age 41. He is survived by his wife: Kenny Beth, and his daughters: Morgan and Madison - ages 12 and 10. He was laid to rest at 10:00 AM today, in his home of Robinson, TX, which is just south of Waco.
Donnie coached every softball and basketball team on which Morgan and Madison ever played. Last summer, when Morgan's softball team finished as the second best team in Texas, Donnie struck up a friendship with the coaches and parents of the best team in Texas: Graham, TX. He told them Robinson was coming to get their championship medallion in 2006. The day before Donnie's funeral, three of the Graham coaches and parents drove four hours so they could personally express their condolences, and also present Kenny Beth, Morgan, and Madison with their team's 2005 State Championship Medallion.
The night before Donnie's funeral, a long line of mourners had to wait over an hour to view Donnie's body.
This morning, the mourners at Donnie's graveside service included several dozen ten to twelve year-old girls - many of whom wore blue jeans, athletic jerseys, and tennis shoes. Some of the jerseys said "Robinson All-Stars," and these all-stars wore their 2005 State Runner Up Medallions outside their jerseys, dangling from their necks on red, white, and blue striped ribbon.
Most of the girl mourners were stoic throughout most of the ceremony - until the very last song - performed by a single acoustic guitar. The finality of the notes, carried on the November breeze, began to be too much for the girls. A few began to cry, with heads lowered and shoulders heaving. Then, a few more. Soon most of the 40 or so girls were sobbing great salty tears, which visibly dropped from their cheeks, and plopped into the yellowed winter grass below. Of the many ways to ceremonially depart this Earth, being serenaded by the tearful lamentations of young girls is not the worst, by a long shot.