Donald Don E. Shetler

July 18, 1925 ~ June 12, 2011

It is with great sorrow that the family of Donald "Don" Elton Shetler announces his passing. He died on June 12, 2011, at the residence of his son Carl Shetler, where he was surrounded by family.

Don Shetler was born in Syracuse, New York on July 18, 1925. At the age of nine, his family moved to Lake Charles, Louisiana. While attending Landry Catholic High School, where he excelled in academics and athletics, this all-state quarterback led the Tigers to a state championship. Don attended McNeese State University before entering the United States Marine Corps. After serving three years in the Pacific, he returned to Lake Charles to work for Schlumberger. He married Patricia Ruth Daughenbaugh on August 12, 1946. They had five children.

Don was involved in the automobile industry at every level for over 42 years. He was employed at Cagle Chevrolet and Ed Taussig Ford before acquiring his own dealership in Mobile, Alabama. He was actively involved in the management and ownership of automobile dealerships in Crowley, Lake Charles, and Sulphur. Products included Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, Lincoln, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Jeep, Buick, Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, and Chevrolet.

Mr. Shetler was a member of St. Michael's Catholic Church in Crowley. He established the annual St. Michael's Church Picnic, where he provided over 4,000 dinners at no cost. Don chaired numerous committees, received the Distinguished Bishop's Medal, was chosen for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher, served on the board of directors of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lafayette, and was a fourth degree Knights of Columbus member.

Mr. Shetler believed the success of the local area depends upon the youth. Various schools and athletic programs benefited from his generosity and support throughout the years. Don was a member of the Crowley Chamber of Commerce for 24 years. He helped foster the economic expansion of Acadia Parish by promoting the development of the Acadia Parish Industrial Park. While serving as the chairman of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, he helped bring grants and improvements to Crowley. His committee initiated and wrote the current Louisiana Seatbelt Safety Law.

Other achievements include director of the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission for 27 years, director of the Louisiana Automobile Dealer Association (LADA) for 23 years, representative and chairman of the National Dealer Council for Lincoln Mercury, representative and chairman of the National Dealer Council for Ford Motor Company, chairman on the legislative committee of LADA, chairman on the legislative committee of the Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission, director of Louisiana Dealer Services, director of Ford Dealers Advertising Fund, recipient of the Lincoln Presidential Award, 2001 LADA Time Magazine Dealer of the Year, and 21 other distinguished service awards.

In lieu of all Mr. Shetler's accomplishments, he may be remembered most for his Christmas spirit. The lights and decorations exhibited at the Shetler home have delighted children and parents alike for years. Cars lined the streets waiting for their visit with Santa. During the month of December, he provided bus tours for children followed by a "Supper in the Tent" of hot dogs, nachos, drinks, and popcorn. This free experience brought more than 100,000 people to Crowley.

Don Shetler is survived by his five children, Carl Shetler (Rosie) of Lake Charles, Donna Shetler Corley (George) of Crowley, Gwen Shetler Butaud, Rick Shetler, and Mike Shetler (Kathleen), all of Lake Charles. He is survived by grandchildren Chris Corley, Donald Corley, Tammy Truax, Rebecca Armistead, Sherri Shetler, Jenny Strahan, Michael Shetler, Shellie Eskew, Amy Bebee, Ricky Shetler, Donnie Shetler, and fifteen great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Carl and Martha Shetler, his brother Carl James Shetler, and his wife Patricia Daughenbaugh Shetler.

Visitation will be on Monday from 5:00-9:00 P.M. at Johnson Funeral Home in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A Rosary will be at 7:00 P.M, Monday and visitation will continue on Tuesday from 9:00-10:30 A.M. at the funeral home, followed by the Funeral Mass at 11:00 A.M. at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church. Monsignor Charles Mallet will officiate. Burial will be at Highland Memory Gardens under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home.

Pallbearers include Chris Corley, Donald Corley, Michael Shetler, Ricky Shetler, Donnie Shetler, Blake Corley, Grant Corley, Christopher Corley, Mark Daughenbaugh, and David Daughenbaugh.

The family asks that donations be made to the St. Michael Catholic School, 805 East Northern Avenue, Crowley, LA 70526 or St. Louis Catholic High School Foundation, 1620 Bank Street, Lake Charles, LA 70601.

The family would like to thank the nurses and caregivers who cared so much for Mr. Shetler and helped our family through the last several years. To family and friends, your love and support will always be remembered.

View current weather.

Memories Timeline


  1. Carl,Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family…Prayers and warmest regards,Diane

  2. Condolences to Mr. Shetler's family. His name and presence was a large part of my time growing up in Crowley. You must all be very proud of the legacy he established and left to you. God bless ~ Troy Leger

  3. Dear Carl and Rosie Shetler,God is our refuge and strength… Psalm 46:1May God bless your faith with more, and help you to be aware of His love for you. May He help you to be aware of those who also loved your father/father-in-law and also love you. With sympathy and prayers for good grieving. Rosie's BSF friend, Louise DeLuca

  4. Dear Cousins….It is with great sorrow that we just learned of Donnie's passing. Patty and Donnie were my Godparents and Donnie gave me away as a bride in December 1968. They will both share a special place in our hearts. All of you are in our thoughts and prayersLove Ron and Jean

  5. Dear Family and Friends,I did not know Mr. Shetler, but I grew up in Crowley and often saw his name associated with automobiles. To me, this name will always symbolize the importance of selling and owning a good vehicle.My sincerest of thoughts are extended to the family and friends during this time of sadness. Rest in peace, Mr. Shetler!

  6. Dear Shetler family- Please accept my sincere condolences in the loss of your precious Dad. God has, and will continue to bless many lives through Mr. Don's generosity. His children are a true testament to his greatest success- their character and love. God Bless you all! Susie Williams

  7. Dearest Donna, Chris, and Don Eddy: I was amazed how your Dad (grandfather) always remembered everyone by name. One of the greats of a one-of-kind generation is now at peace and being rewarded for all of his kind deeds. It is up to us to continue that generation's legacy of generosity, kindness, community involvement and work ethic for our children and grandchildren. God Bless all of you! Liz, Richard, and Adam-Paul

  8. Donna and Chris, I was sadden to read about the passing of your Father and Grandfather. My condolences to you and your family. Mr. Shetler has touched so many lives. My prayers are with you.Pam Gay

  9. Donna,was so sorry to hear about the loss of your dad!please accept our deepest condolences!we will keep you in our hearts prayers!Robert Dunphy Family*

  10. I am so sorry to hear of your lost. My sincere condolences to your family. May the memories of his good-will towards the community always be a reminder of Faith and Love prefails.

  11. I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Don as we just lost my mom, Patricia as well and it is difficult because we miss our parents. Please know that you will be in our thoughts and prayers. I have some wonderful memories of Don and your family when he lived across the street from us that I never will forget.

  12. I have fond memories of your Dad when I was growing up. So kind and community minded and always a smile on his face. Donna Ruth, Ricky, Carl, Mike and Gwen, please know my prayers are with you and your families. I had such a special relationship with yall and I will cherish it. Stay strong and trust in God as he carries you through this. I am so sorry for your loss we will miss him.

  13. Ms. Gwen and Family, I am so sorry about your father's passing. He was a great man and a good friend to my grandparents. I have fond memories of Christmas at Mr. Shetlers home he always made his grandkids friends feel so welcome. I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. Love Nicole Walker Rodericks.

  14. My condolence to all of the family. Mr Shetler was a very enjoyable person to be around. I had the privilege of sitting next to him at our monthly LDS board meetings and always enjoyed seeing him and having conversation and listen to what he had on his mind. Always had a great outlook on life. My mother Ann Thibodeaux sends her condolence also. We wish you all well.Joe B. ThibodeauxNew Iberia, La

  15. My Dad worked with Don for many years at Lake Charles. Don was always so nice to me and helped me with cars when I was in school. I have very fond memories of your father and all that he did for our family. Best wishes. J. B. Smith, II, D.D.S

  16. My deepest sympathy goes out to you all. I was at Notre Dame High with Mike in the 70's. My dad, George L. Meaux owned Meaux Pontiac GMC in Crowley was in the automobile business with Mr. Shetler for many many years. I remember when my family and the Shelter family all went to Hawaii for the LADA Convention in 1978. He was a wonderful man and did so much for the people of the area. He will be missed by many. Donald G. Meaux

  17. Please accept our condolences from the Acadiana Detachment 488 of the Marine Corps League as well as the State of Louisiana Marine Corps League. We want to express our sympathy and thanksgiving for the life of Don Shetler.Semper Fi, brother,Charles McGowen, Chaplain

  18. Please accept out sincere condolences. Sorry we could not be with you. The loss of a loved one often brings back fond memories of times gone by. May those memories comfort you as you journey with Mr. Don in your midst. And may God bless you all at this time and in the days to come.John R and Glenda Young


  20. The Cantey and Hamic families express our heart-felt condolences to the entire Shetler family on the passing of Mr. Don. He was a part of that Greatest Generation that is, sadly, almost all gone.Butch and Nancy Cantey

  21. To Carl, Mike, Ricky Donna Gwen….My sincere condolences on the loss of your father. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time of loss. Your dad was a wonderful man and touched the lives of many people. He helped people and will be remembered for his kindness and his true love of his community and family. Be strong and my best wishes to all of you.Bill Spreafico

  22. We all have great memories of Mr. Don's antics, and his love for his family and devotion to his faith were more than words can adequately express. He was a truly great gentleman, and am so fortunate to have known him and to have had the opportunity to spend as much time as I did growing up around his home. Cathy and I send our condolences to the Shetler family, and we will keep Mr. Don and his family in our prayers.

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle

  1. Candle 1
  2. Candle 2
  3. Candle 3
  4. Candle 4
  5. Candle 5
  6. Candle 6
  7. Candle 7
  8. Candle 8