John “Donald” Hames
94 Year Old Belleview Native Donald Hames was born April 2, 1926, at the family home in Belleview, Florida. He was the third child of Winters Baker Hames Sr. and Mary Eleanor Abshier Hames. He had 2 older brothers, 4 younger brothers and 2 younger sisters. The Hames family has always been a close knit family and they raised their children to honor, respect and love family.
Donald attended Belleview School which was at present day Belleview City Hall and he graduated in 1944, from Summerfield High School which is still standing near the Summerfield First Baptist Church. One of his favorite things to do later in life was to attend yearly school reunions for both schools and catching up with all his classmates.
Donald was a World War II Veteran by serving in the United States Army and was very proud to have served his country when they asked. He was very excited when he got to go to Washington DC and visit the WWII Memorial a few years ago. Donald had been asked in the past if he had received any medals and his answer was that he didn’t need any medals, it was his duty & honor to serve. Recently, when the family started planning his Memorial Service, they discovered he had been awarded several medals. They include the EAME (European – African – Middle Eastern) Medal, 2 Bronze Stars, Good Conduct Medal and World War II Victory Medal.
After returning to Belleview after World War II, he met and married Eloise Whitfield. They were blessed with a son, Bill and a daughter, Jan. Their first home stood where The Farmhouse Restaurant is today. He had various jobs including being a part owner of Hames Drive-In Restaurant located at the corner of present day Mimosa Road and Hames Road. He was also a meat cutter for Roy’s Cash Market which stood where The Video Vault is located now. He then started a career with Firestone as a manager. That career is what took him away from Belleview as he was transferred to Bradenton, Florida and then to Sanford, Florida. After his career with Firestone, he started a new one in construction. He helped build different parts of Disney World, including It’s A Small World After All. In Epcot he helped build The United Kingdom and Japan. He also did construction at Cape Canaveral with helping build a Rocket Assembly Building. One of his last construction jobs was helping build a Coal Burning Plant in Orlando.
Family was important to him. He was very active in his children’s activities as they were growing up. Including his son’s sports such as track, football and others. His daughter was in the Band and he was a Band Booster. The tradition continued with the grandchildren, as he followed Brad & Kristi all over the state when they were clogging. Then supporting the Great Grandchildren as he went to their ball games, dance recitals and other activities.
While he was living away from Belleview for work, he visited Belleview often. In his down time, he enjoyed fishing and hunting, Some of his best fishing was with his mother and Uncle Lou & Aunt Edith Abshier. He was a member of The Mullet Club with Roy Abshier, Clyde Harrell and others. They would “Net Fish” in Lake George and have two fish fries a year in Salt Springs. It was a great gathering of family and friends. People would come from all over to attend, including Jacksonville and Tampa among other places. Sad to say the club dissolved when “Net Fishing” was stopped. Donald enjoyed hunting in The Ocala National Forest and in Texas with his brother-in-law Kennon Law.
Donald was an avid sports fan, which started when he was a young boy listening to the St. Louis Cardinals Baseball Games on the radio with his father. He enjoyed watching College Football and especially loved The Florida Gators!!! He would support other SEC Teams when they were not playing the Gators. As for Major League Baseball – The Tampa Bay Rays was his team!!!
His mother made sure all her children were in Sunday School, Church and Baptist Training Union on Sundays. He accepted The Lord as his Savior, was Baptized and became a member of Belleview First Baptist Church at the age of 8 Years Old. When he moved around for work, he never changed his church membership, making him a member for 86 years. He was a Deacon for many years and even wrote the Church History for the pastor. When he moved back to Belleview in 1989, he bought a house next door to his mother and sister (Mary Ann) and immediately got actively involved with the church again. Damon Walker, Greggie McWhite and Donald seemed to be always at the church. They were the unofficial repair men, property maintenance and construction crew. He was also the Sausage Gravy and Biscuits Cook at the Men’s Monthly Prayer Breakfast for many years.
Donald especially loved the Little Friends Preschool and Kindergarten Program which has now grown into The Belleview Christian Academy teaching children through the 8th Grade. One of his favorite highlights was when he assisted Greggie with “Farm Day” at Greggie & Gracie’s Farm. They would show the children all the animals, the life on a farm and even let them tour The Cracker House. Another good buddy of his was Juddy Perry. He loved spending time with him and his wife Lillian. They enjoyed many lunches at Red Lobster and he was always helping at all the cookouts held at The Perry Farm.
Another important part of his life was spending time in Tennessee with family there. He loved taking his granddaughter and great granddaughters to thrift stores and yard sales.
History was very important to him and he spent a lot of time at The Belleview Cemetery getting the records in order. He went from grave marker to grave marker writing down and correcting birth dates and dates of death on the records and then adding new burials..
Family Reunions were an exciting time for him. He and his wife held family reunions for her family at their house and they were instrumental in getting the Annual Abshier Hames Family Reunion started. He wanted the younger generations to know their family history and to get to know the older generations on a more personal level.
Donald was also known as “The Photo Album Maker”. After his mother passed away, he gathered her boxes of pictures and organized them. He made each of his brothers and sisters an album of their pictures growing up. Then put the rest of the pictures in albums of each extended family.
After retirement, he and his wife got to travel some. Some of their adventures included North Carolina, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont and Branson, Missouri. Later on his sister Mary Ann and him made several trips to Texas to visit their sister Violet and family.
A few years ago, his brother Peek organized a Family & Friends Breakfast. They meet every Monday morning at Plaza Lunch in Belleview. They enjoy getting together to eat, talk and catch up with each other. Donald was famous for always bringing family photos and news articles from long ago to share.
Over the last 10 years or so, Donald’s passion was visiting homebound church members. He would take them a CD of that week’s church service, visit and have prayer with them. He was known to say when he was unable to visit anymore, he would be ready to go to Heaven.
John “Donald” Hames passed away at 7:15 AM on Sunday, October 18, 2020 and entered Heaven in time to attend church with his Lord and Savior.
He is survived by his son & daughter-in-law, Bill & Saundra Hames of Sanford, Florida; daughter and son in-law, Jan & Fred Parker of Knoxville, Tennessee; Grandson Bradley Hames of Daytona Beach, Florida; Granddaughter Kristina Givens and her husband Michael of Corryton, Tennessee; Great Grandchildren Zachery Hames, Zoe Hames, Sydney Hames, Michelle Givens, Saige Hames & Parker Givens and Great Great Grandchildren Augustine “Auggie” Hames and Arabella Hames. He is also survived by his brothers Gene Hames and his wife Phyllis; Peek Hames and his wife Linda; sister Mary Ann Hames McIntyre and his niece (His Bonus Daughter) Tami McIntyre all of Belleview, Florida. He is predeceased by his wife and soulmate Eloise Whitfield Hames, his parents Winters and Eleanor Hames, his sister Violet Hames Law and his brothers Winters Hames Jr., Milton Hames, Frank Hames and Dean Hames.
His Memorial Service will be held at Belleview First Baptist Church on Saturday, November 14, 2020 starting at 2:00 P.M. There will be a visitation starting at 1:30 P.M. Military Honors will immediately follow the service on Church grounds. His interment will take place at The Belleview Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Betty Walker Scholarship, which helps children attend Belleview Christian Academy. Your donations can be mailed to: Belleview First Baptist Church, 6107 SE Agnew Road, Belleview, Florida. Please write In Memory of Donald Hames on the memo line.