Don, 66, passed away unexpectedly on January 3, 2020 at UCLA Medical Center. He
was born in New Jersey and raised in Middletown, NY, graduating from Middletown
High School Class of 1971. He obtained degrees from Orange County Community
College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Troy, NY, majoring in civil
engineering. He was a member of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. After college, Don
began his career in Harrisburg, PA working for Conrail, always specializing in railroad
transportation. He moved to sunny California soon after which then became his home.
Don’s proudest career achievement was spearheading the Alameda Corridor project in
Long Beach, CA an integral part of LA’s infrastructure. Don was regarded as a highly
respected and brilliant engineer.
Work took Don to many distant lands, including a two year stint in Saudi Arabia,
working for Bechtel Corporation. Travel has always been part of both career and
pleasure, beginning with a trip to France as a junior in high school. His dream trip was
a 3 week long adventure through Australia. Navigating airports and cities was second
nature to Don.
An integral part of Don’s life was being an athlete, being voted the “Sparkplug” of his
high school basketball team. He ran track and cross country, later participating in 5K’s,
10’ks and the famous “Bay to Breakers” in San Francisco. As a kid, Don was part of a
bowling league at Middletown Lanes and later developed a love of golf, participating in
many golf trips with his buddies. Don was always competitive and challenged himself to
do more. Some of his most treasured times were hiking, biking and ocean kayaking
with his son Mike.
One of Don’s greatest gifts was his desire and ability to form and maintain deep and
enduring relationships. Friendships meant the world to him, especially his
“brotherhood” of Ronny, Joey, Scott and Keith. He was a leader in organizing reunions
to keep connections strong. He was currently working on another reunion.
Don’s kind and loving heart is how most who knew him remember him. He would go
out of his way to help anyone. His dry sense of humor permeated all aspects of life and
relationships, whether through a subtle joke, comment or many facial expressions. He
loved his favorite band, Blue Oyster Cult, attending an astounding 27 concerts – his last
just a few weeks ago.
Those who will miss him most are his treasured family: His loving wife, Marsha, his
special little sister Dolores (husband Jack) of Clifton Park, NY, older brother Tom (wife
Pat) of Georgetown, KY, who Don always looked up to and his most precious legacy, his
son Michael (wife Amber) of Wilmington, NC. In addition, his step-daughter Elisa
(husband Christopher) of Simi Valley and grandchildren, Gwendolyn, Genevieve and
Griffin, who adored him.
Though these past 5 years have been challenging for Don as his Parkinson’s Disease
progressed, he still continued to be physically active. His drive and perseverance to live
fully never wavered. We will miss Don more that words can ever say so please keep his
shining light burning through your kindness and love.
Service: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 10AM to 2PM
Reardon Simi Valley Funeral Home – 2636 Sycamore Drive, Simi Valley, CA 93065