Official Obituary of

Donald Frederick Criss

January 7, 1943 ~ March 2, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Donald Criss Obituary

Donald Frederick Criss was born on January 7,1943 in Penfield, NY.  He died peacefully at home in Portales, NM the night of March 2, 2024.

He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.  He is survived by his wife, Paula, daughter, Lisa Woods and her husband, Randy, his son Martin, his grandchildren, Maya and Kai Woods, his sister, Nancy Darrow and numerous nieces and nephews.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Theater and his Master of Education degrees from Eastern New Mexico University where, at KENW-TV, he worked for 49 years as a videographer, television host, producer and teacher.  Many of his students went on to successful careers in the television industry.

Don served God as a youth pastor, a Deacon, a Sunday School teacher, and the children’s story teller at University Baptist Church.  He was also a member of the International Gideons organization.

On stages in Portales, NM, he was in numerous musicals and plays.  He is pictured here as Elwood P. Dowd (one of his favorite roles) in a painting from a production of the play, Harvey, by Mary Chase.

For many years he traveled far and wide bringing historical figures to life for the public.  In full costume, he portrayed a variety of great men including Johnny Appleseed, George Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt for civic and scholastic events.

He was one of Santa’s special helpers, filling in for St. Nick as part of The Mayor’s Christmas Tree, the Christmas Parade in Portales and Breakfast with Santa at the Portales Public Library as well as for many happy children in private homes.

The family will hold a small, private memorial, and urges those who wish to honor Don’s memory to make a donation to either KENW-TV, or the International Gideons.

Don will be greatly missed by both his family and his community.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Donald Frederick Criss, please visit our floral store.

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Donald Frederick Criss?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Donald's memory.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Donald Frederick Criss

© 2024 Wheeler Mortuary. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility