Don Tottingham, who recently completed eight years as Houston’s mayor, has died.

Mr. Tottingham, who had battled cancer during the end of his term that was completed in April, was 72.

He had been under care at home and passed away this morning at about 5.  

Mr. Tottingham, who came to Houston after a military career, devoted his retirement to the betterment of the community. Earlier this year he was awarded the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Mr. Tottingham, a 1964 graduate of Cabool High School, began a Navy career that spanned 22 years before retiring to Houston. He later joined the postal service in 1987 and was a mail carrier and performed computer installations for the U.S. Postal Service.

With a child at his side, Mayor Don Tottingham leads the Mayor’s Walking Club that used trails developed during his administration. 

He helped the town in other ways: Taking on tasks at the Houston United Methodist Church, serving on the Houston board of education for nine years and aiding Houston Citizens for Education that organizes an annual awards event for students.

For 23 seasons he was the announcer at Houston High School football games, coached youth sports, served on the Houston Planning and Zoning Commission and was the second instructor hired at Texas County Technical Institute.

In 2011, he was elected mayor of the Texas County seat. Through his tenure, Tottingham provided leadership that brought improvements to the community: A northeast industrial park received roads and utilities and is ready to accommodate growth when the West Highway 17 park fills; new LED lights were installed on U.S. 63; water improvements occurred through the addition of a new well and tower; the Houston Memorial Airport was upgraded; an extension of C.W. Harry Drive was made and a new road – Lilly Avenue – connected West Highway 17 to Holder Drive; and U.S. 63 through town was expanded to four lanes with a turning lane. The city also added to its park offerings with the addition of Rutherford Park on the city’s west rim and 10 miles of walking trails that were developed.

“Don has always been a busy man,” said a former city colleague, Don Romines, in presenting the chamber honor earlier this year to the former mayor.  “He’s a great community leader, an asset to Houston.”

Services are 10 a.m Friday, July 19, at Houston United Methodist Church. Visitation is 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at Evans Funeral Home, Houston. 

Memorial donations, in lieu of flowers, are requested by the family to Downtown Houston Inc., P.O. Box 170, Houston, Mo. 65483 or Bright Futures, c/o Houston School District, 423 W. Pine St., Houston, Mo. 65483.


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