Donald T. Marion.
Born November 21, 1939, Waco, Texas. Died Dec. 10, 2022, Deerfield, IL.
Donald Terence Marion was known by his longtime Waco family as Baby Donny, which his
sister, Barbara, still calls him. Don was a voracious reader from a young age. The owner of a
nearby drugstore would let Don sit and read sci-fi books for hours returning each to the rack
when he finished. He could read a book a day and continued to collect and speed-read books
until his last weeks.
Don graduated Waco High School and traveled to the other side of the world to work in Air
Force intelligence, stationed in Japan in the early 60’s. Don attended UCLA before getting an
advertising sales job at the Los Angeles Times, where his brother, Rush, worked.
Don’s creative talent took him to Chicago as promotions director for WMAQ TV, the NBC
Network-owned station, where he met many big TV stars of the time, including William Shatner
(Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek).
Don left Chicago for his love of the desert and ancient Indian civilizations as a tour guide at
Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. Don had read hundreds of books about the Anasazi Indians (the
ancient ones) who left their stone cities before Columbus came to the Americas.
In his mid-thirties, Don returned to his hometown of Waco. He always wanted to be a
journalist and signed on as a reporter at KCEN TV, where he was soon promoted to bureau
chief. That’s where he hired me, Lee Williams. Don was the toughest boss I ever had. While he
did kick this green reporter into shape, Don was also my foremost mentor and a couple of
years later we became would become best friends.
Don’s next stop would be Albuquerque, New Mexico, as promotions manager for KOB TV. That
is where we reconnected, as I had been a reporter there for a year before he arrived in 1977.
We traveled the dirty desert backroads exploring Indian ruins, ancient sea beds that had been
shallow seas hundreds of thousands of years ago, where I hacksawed sharks teeth out of solid
rock. We met all manner of ranchers, miners, old west sheriffs, Indians, cowboys, green-eyed
Spaniards whose families had lived in northern New Mexico valleys for hundreds of years, and
treasure hunters, which we were, too, though more for history than gold. Those years passed
Don headed to Hollywood because his brother, Duane was working in the movie industry and
could get Don in, too. The movies did not work out, as the recession of 1982 choked off the
movie industry and Don ended up working at a donut shop.
Soon, he was headed back to Waco to become news director of the new NBC TV affiliate, KXXV,
hired by Bob Goode, who was the general manager for more than a decade. Don hired his best
friend, me, to be his assistant news director, and we put on an exciting newscast that alarmed
I would work for Don this time for two years, where he trained me in management as he had in
reporting. Don worked there for another eight years before a change in ownership swept out
the existing managers, just weeks shy of his pension.
From that point Don traveled the west and southwest following the career of his wife, and,
post-divorce, he became editor of the Navajo Hopi Observer newspaper in Winslow, Arizona.
Major health ailments forced Don back to a Waco hospital, where he could have died, but
didn’t. He treasured a visit and reconnection with his daughter, Michelle Marie Marion, who he
said was brilliant and beautiful.
Don retired and soon found one of his lost loves. He remembered Anngail Norris as a beautiful
woman at the Chicago train station in the 60’s. They took the train together downtown. More
than fifty years later, Facebook brought them together, and he soon traveled north for a visit.
It wasn’t long until he traveled back for rest of his life. Anngail called him, “the sexiest man”
she’d ever met. Despite Don cluttering her house with thousands of books and other
collectibles, they lived in happy companionship until Don died of Covid and underlying lung
conditions just after midnight on Saturday, December 10. Anngail was there.
Don is survived by his sister, Barbara Tosch Marion of Waco. She ran “Mother Red’s” night club
for many years where she paired up hundreds of lonely strangers. Don was preceded in death
by his brothers Sonny, Dwayne, Gene, and Rush.
Arrangements entrusted to Chicagoland Cremation Options of Schiller Park, IL