Obituary for Dr. Don Lance
Dr. J Don Lance, 77, was involved in a vehicle accident on April 20th. On May 1st, 2017 he succumbed to his injuries and passed away, surrounded by loving family and friends in Waco, Texas.
Don was born Jerry Don Lance on May 27, 1939 in Houston, Texas to Kitty Lee Helm & Gerald Lee Lance. Shortly thereafter he and his family moved to Ft. Worth where he graduated from Pascal High School in 1957. He attended TCU on a General Motors Scholarship graduating in 1960. His life’s plan was to become a doctor especially since his family included several dentists. Through his research of visiting offices and talking with doctors, he became enamored with Oral Surgery. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 1964 from Baylor University, College of Dentistry where he was a distinguished member of his dental fraternity serving as house manager and social chair. He was certified in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 1967 from the University of Alabama Birmingham where he served as Chief Resident of his program.
He moved to Waco the summer of 1967 and opened his oral surgery practice. There he met and married the love of his life Kayron Ann Murphy on September 12th, 1970. They adopted their daughter Shelly in 1975 and their son Jason in 1977.
With the help of his devoted staff, he practiced Oral Surgery for 40 years where he followed his passion for medicine and treating over 87,000 patients. He was board certified with the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and served as the president of the American Cancer Society in Waco. He retired as a Lifetime Fellow of the AAOMS 1997. He then went on to open a travel agency, Focus on Travel. He had a brief battle with prostate cancer and closed the travel agency in 2004. Once in remission from cancer, he returned to Oral Surgery part time and retired a second time in 2012. He found his encore career working as a consultant for a dental insurance company, which he did until the day of his accident.
Don had a generous heart, great sense of humor, and a passion for doing the right thing even if it’s hard. He touched so many people’s lives in different ways.
He loved teaching, travel (especially cruising in the Caribbean), fishing, food, coaching soccer and the theater. He always up for discovering a great restaurant whether it was gourmet or a hole-in-the-wall but it was the company while on these adventures that made the meal. As long as he was surrounded by those that he loved and cherished, the food was always good.
He coached his son’s soccer team for years and discovered an extended family along the way. Later he had the privilege of watching his granddaughter and grandson’s soccer games from the sidelines and taking great pride in their achievements as well.
It was later in his life that he discovered his love of the theater. It was when he was helping his grandson Tyler follow his dreams of the ‘Great White Way’ that he too found a passion for the theater by building sets, helping back stage, and even starring in a small role or two. And again, gained another extended family along the way.
His faith meant a lot to him. He was an active member of The First United Methodist Church of Waco where he had recently fulfilled a lifelong wish to go on a medical mission trip to Peru.
Don is survived by his beloved wife Kayron Ann Lance, as well as his children, daughter Shelly Lance and her Husband James Pledge, his son Jason Lance and wife Anna, his grandchildren Andrew, Brendan, Tyler, Andrew, Addison, Jaydyn, and Jordyn. His mother-in-law Louise Murphy, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Leonard and Linda Berry, his nieces Tricia Earl and Elizabeth Murphy; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Randal and Debbie Murphy, his nephews Johnathan and Matthew Murphy and their family.
The family would like to thank the first responders, the amazing doctors, Debbie Ucci his Nurse Practitioner, the ICU nurses Taylor, Meghan, and Mike. Their valiant efforts gained us precious time to say our goodbyes and prepare our hearts for this great loss.
A memorial service will be held 2pm Friday, May 12, at First United Methodist Church Waco, 4901 Cobbs Dr., Waco, with Wayne Williams and Molly Simpson officiating. The family will welcome visitors one hour prior to the service starting at 1pm.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers that a donation be made to Fuzzy Friends Rescue in Waco or the Humane Society of Central Texas. Information can be found at fuzzyfriendsrescue.com and humanesocietycentraltexas.org.