Donald Allen Small

donald small
Donald Small 1954-2023 Donald Allen Small (AKA Smalls, Big Don Small, Donny Ballgame, Don Remote, Mr. Don) entered the gates of heaven and began dancing with Jesus on February 15, 2023. Don succumbed to acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by COVID-19. He was 100% mentally sharp (and a wise ass) until the end. He was blessed to be able to make all his own medical decisions throughout his illness. Don is survived by his wife, Kristy Yahola-Small; daughters Mistie Palmer (Audley) and Rachael Gillespie (Craig); grandsons Riley, Micah, and Jackson; siblings David Small, Donna-Sue Brown, and Daniel Brown; nephew William and nieces, Katy and Cera. He is predeceased by parents George Small and Josephine Brown (Foti). Don was born on March 6, 1954, in New Haven, CT. He was a 1972 graduate of Hamden High School where he was a starting catcher on the varsity baseball team. He then served proudly as a sonar technician in the US Navy. Don was a connoisseur of all things music and was especially proud of his time with the New Haven band Forced Entry as lead singer, harmonica player and drummer. Most of Don’s life was spent in West Palm Beach, FL where he was a Plumbing Foreman before a back injury ended his career. His second career was as a food service manager in several organizations, the most extensive being several locations of Jon Smith Subs. His Florida residence did not change his love of the New York Yankees and the New York Giants. Don moved to Tennessee to marry his bride, Kristy, in 2018. His years in Tennessee could be thought of as his best. With the support of his wife, he was able to live the life he always wanted and to be the man God created him to be. Don was an active member of Joy Church in Mt Juliet. He served on the Cooking with Joy ministry and attended World Changers Bible Institute. Many souls will live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven because of Don’s willingness to let God use him to lead others to Jesus. His last words were “The joy of God is my strength.” A private family service to celebrate Don's life was held. Arrangements in the care of Compassion Funeral & Cremation Services, Nashville, TN (615) 857-9955. We proudly remain locally owned & operated.

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Memories Timeline


  1. I smile because your my brother. I laugh because there is nothing you can do about it. Eternal peace my brother. Love you, your sister.

  2. My brother and I shared happy memories a young children playing baseball and football in the backyard and with local friends at the neighborhood field. I loved his wit and sense of humor, and sharing lines of movies and favorite songs (he always bested me). While he had lots of great moments in his life his final years living in Tennessee with his wife Kristy were his happiest. I’m my thoughts forever Donald.

  3. I was blessed enough to work with Don at Mt Juliet Firehouse Subs. Everyone that met him, was blessed to have met such a wonderful man. He had a recent nick name for me before he contracted Covid 19 again for the second time, and it was “ricochet,” because I would use the broom to knock down chip boxes from the top shelf, and they would fall on me, on occasion, causing him to laugh out the nick name, and then telling me it was my nick name from him for that day on. I will cherish that nick name forever.

  4. Don was such A great great person to know. Some of the happiest times I remember over the past 22 years have been when he had the opportunity to spend with his daughters Mistie and his grandchildren. He brought so much happiness and joy to our family over the years our boys always looked forward to spending time with grandpa Don. Special times and I believe their love for baseball and the Yankees are were inspired by him. Don always encouraged me in my walk of faith in the books he gave me as well as in our conversations over the years. So glad to have known him.

  5. Q: How did you meet Donald? A: In a singles group on line, if Rachael had not put him in there I can’t imagine what life I would be leading if we had not been together

  6. You will always be “Donnie” to me. Your humor, wit and the fond memories of the many years we shared will always hold a special place in my heart. I cherish my “Bonus Mom” status, thank you for the gift of their love. You raised remarkable young women. Someone said they saw you dancing in Heaven. I see you surrounded by the many dogs you loved and cared for. Give Jake an extra big hug from me. Peace unto you, your wife and family, and those whose lives you touched. God be with you ‘till we meet again.

  7. Always in my corner, forever in my heart. There are no words to describe the relationship we shared. “THINGS ONLY WE KNOW FOR A THOUSAND, ALEX” 0281

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