Donald F. “Don” Tellman, co-founder of St. Mary Parish Chamber of Commerce Bayou BBQ Bash, dies

Written by

Last Updated on

Donald F. “Don” Tellman, 85, a native of Eugene, Missouri and a resident of Morgan City, passed away Monday, March 18, 2019 at Teche Regional Medical Center.

Don was born on January 5, 1934 in Eugene, Missouri the oldest son and fourth sibling of eleven born to Frank H. Tellman and Cyrilla M. Tellman.

Don retired from the United States Navy in 1977 as a Lieutenant Commander after serving on destroyers, submarines and submarine tenders as the chief engineer. He was a qualified nuclear operating engineer and he taught Marine Propulsion School in Great Lakes, Illinois. Don also taught nuclear power plant and chemistry at the S1C prototype in Windsor, Connecticut.

After his retirement from the Navy, Don spent the next 30 years building and repairing ships and boats. He managed several shipyards in the United States for Lockheed Shipbuilding, where he would oversee the construction and repair of ships and boat for various customers. While employed with Lockheed, he held numerous management and senior management positions including Vice President of Production Operations.

In 1987 Don moved to Morgan City and began working at Swiftships. His reputation was world renouned and in 1992 he was recruited to manage the Williamstown Dockyard in Williamstown, Australia for the construction of 10 3600 Anzac Class Frigates for the Australian and New Zealand Navies. Also in Australia he was the CEO of Darwin Ship Repair and Engineering in Darwin, Australia. He also managed the construction and repair of ships for civilian customers as well as the Royal Australian Navy and Army.

Don was very active in the VFW Post 4222, American Legion Post 96, and the Military Officers Association. In his free time Don loved to fish and hunt and was an accomplished BBQ Chef. Don especially liked to compete in BBQ competitions throughout South Central Louisiana and won numerous awards for his efforts. Don and his wife Mata were very instrumental in the beginning stages of the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce Bayou BBQ Bash. Don was always there to help others and loved sharing his food with people who liked to eat good BBQ.

He will be sadly missed and lovingly remembered by his wife of 63 years, Mata Kaiser Tellman; three sons, Larry Don Tellman of Tampa, Florida, Roy Franklin Tellman of Seattle, Washington, Douglas Lennard Tellman of Berwick; two grandchildren; four great grandchildren.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Cyrilla M. Tellman, brothers and sisters, Chuck Tellman, Paul Tellman, Butch Tellman, Jacqueline (Tellman) Newmann, Bonnie (Tellman) Newmann, Wanita (Tellman) Bubbis, and Mary Ellen Tellman.

A Mass will be held Saturday, March 23, 2019 at St. Bernadette Catholic Church with Father Bill Rogalla officiating. Visitation will be held Friday, March 22, 2019 at Twin City Funeral Home from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., with a rosary reading at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will continue Saturday, March 23, 2019 at St. Bernadette Catholic Church Hall from 12:00 p.m. until the time of Mass.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers well-wisher please consider masking donations to the Operation BBQ Relief ( or to the Central Missouri Honor Flight (

Article Categories:
Local News · Obituaries

Comments are closed.