Peacefully ascended into Heaven on Friday, Sept. 27. Devoted husband of Eloise, loving father of Don (Anita) and Bill (Heather), loving brother of Dorrie, stepfather of Claire (Rob), Dan (Virginia) and Debbie (George), trusted friend of first wife Mary Louise, uncle of Bob, Steve, Sally and Scott, grandfather of Jonathan, Jillian, Adam, Heather, Aaron, Daniel, Ryan, Abbe, Jeffrey, Nicole, Cara, Michael and Jonathan, great grandfather of Madison and Olivia, Godfather of Austin. Preceded in death by parents Ursil and Dorothy, son Francis and daughter-in-law Cheryl.
Born on Aug. 11, 1931 and raised in Oakland, California, Don was an accomplished miler in high school. He joined the Army in 1951 and served his country for 43 years in the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserves and the California National Guard. His service included a tour of duty in the Korean War, where he served as a point man. He relished his time as a member of the 59th Army Band. His military awards included, but were not limited to: Meritorious Service Award (2 awards), Army Commendation Ribbon (3 awards), The Korean Theatre Ribbon with 2 campaign stars, the Korean Presidential Unit Citation Medal and the National Guard Service Medal.
Don’s life was defined by service to others. Along with his military service, Don at various times worked for the City of Sacramento, County of Sacramento and the State of California. He also worked in the radio industry for many years. Don served as the voice of the Camellia Bowl, when the game was played in Sacramento. He believed it was important to serve the community in which he lived as well. Don was a member of CB 200, a support organization for Christian Brothers High School. He served 2 terms as President of East Sacramento Babe Ruth League, one in the 1970s and another in the 1980s and was elected to that organization’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Don loved music and was a member of the Sacramento Opera chorus for 20 years. He performed minor principle roles for the opera as well. Other acting credits included playing the role of Vladimir in a Sacramento production of Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot. He also loaned his unmistakable deep voice to the River City Chorale and numerous church choirs.
His sons remember him as a great listener who had a way of making them feel like they were the only person on the planet when they talked with him. Patient to a fault, he rarely lost his cool when they screwed up, even when they probably had it coming. A man of few words, he always led by example and told them three of the most important things in life are to “suit up, shut up and show up.” He possessed a dry sense of humor and loved to tell quiet, private jokes.
Don achieved a great deal in life, but never let any of the accolades he received go to his head. He always kept things in their proper perspective, and encouraged others to do the same.
Don loved sports and was a big fan of the Raiders and the A’s. He wrote the best Christmas letters ever and led the family in the most heartfelt renditions of grace before meals. He adored his wife, Eloise, and thanked God in prayer many times daily for her. He really loved dogs and could often be found in front of the TV watching a game and sharing snacks with his pets. Heaven’s gain is our loss, but we take great comfort in knowing that he was at peace and is now in a better place.
Military Honors will be held on Nov. 16 at Calvary Cemetery, 7101 Verner Ave., Sacramento at 10am. A celebration of Don’s life will be held on Nov.16 at St. Rose Catholic Church, 615 Vine Ave., Roseville at 1:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to one of the following organizations: St. Anthony’s Catholic Church Music Ministry: 505 E North St. Manteca, Calif. 95336, St. Paul’s Methodist Church Music Ministry: 910 E North St., Manteca, Calif. 95336
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Saturday, October 26, 2013