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1933 Don 2024

Donald James Jalufka

September 28, 1933 — March 27, 2024

Bryan, TX

Donald James Jalufka, 90, passed away March 27, 2024, at his home in Bryan, Texas, surrounded by his four children. Don was born September 28, 1933, in the Czech community of Schulenburg, Texas, to Emil and Lottie Hluchanek Jalufka.

The first eight years of his life were difficult, beginning with the loss of his father while he still was a baby. Due to this and other events, young Don was brought to St. Mary’s Orphanage in Galveston, Texas. He had fond memories of his time at St. Mary’s and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word who ran the orphanage. Don remembered the nuns, most of them from Ireland, singing “O Danny Boy” to him.

At the age of 16, Don enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, How Company 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment (H-3-1), and by the age of 17, was fighting in Korea, where he was twice wounded; for his service he received the Purple Heart.

Soon after his discharge from the Marines, Don joined the Merchant Marines and, from 1951 to 1953, traveled the world. Upon his return to Galveston, he married Ann Marie Scott in 1953, eventually settling in Houston to raise their family.

Don attended the University of Houston while working full time to support his young family.  In 1965, he began work for Lockheed Martin at NASA, where his career as a communications engineer spanned four decades, starting with Project Gemini, through the Apollo era, Apollo-Soyuz, and the Space Shuttle Program.  In the mid-80’s, he partnered with his son Michael to create IXIAN, a company providing fiber optic communication solutions internationally.

Don and Ann retired to Centerville, Texas, in 2001 to begin their newest adventure by starting a pecan orchard which they managed until 2017. During several years, they produced prize-winning pecans. They subsequently moved to Bryan, Texas.

Don is survived by his four children, Donald Jr., Dona and her husband Dr. Christian Koeberl, Michael and his wife Pat, and Sandra.  He is also survived by his grandchildren Erin Jalufka Heatherly and her husband Justin, and their children Aria and Eli; Ashely Jalufka and her fiancé Thomas McCall; Sean Jalufka and his wife Heather Chaney, and his daughter Marcie and their son Rowan; Scott Jalufka and his daughter Natalie; Alaina Jalufka Joiner and her husband Josh, and their children Zachary, Noah, Claire and Brian; Mark Jalufka, and Patrick Jalufka and his fiancé Vivian Delgado.

Don’s love of family, his devotion to his Catholic faith, and innovative spirit are just some of his amazing qualities that will live on through the lives of his family.

Don is preceded in death by his parents Emil and Lottie, his beloved wife Ann, and his sister Dorothy and brother Leonard.

Visitation will be on April 4, 2024, at Hillier Funeral Home, 2301 East 29th Street, Bryan, Texas 77802 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM with Rosary at 7:00 PM.  Burial will be on April 5, 2024, at 11:00 AM at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery, 598 Kallus Street, Schulenburg, Texas.  

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you please donate to the Brazos Valley Food Bank or an animal shelter of your choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald James Jalufka, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, April 4, 2024

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Hillier Funeral Home & Cremations

2301 East 29th Street, Bryan, TX 77802

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Rosary

Thursday, April 4, 2024

7:00 - 7:30 pm (Central time)

Hillier Funeral Home & Cremations

2301 East 29th Street, Bryan, TX 77802

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Friday, April 5, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery

598 Kallus Street, Schullenburg, TX 78956

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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