Don, one of two children, was born in Tuscon, Ariz.. He attended high school in Eunice, N.M. before serving four years in the Air Force. Upon leaving the Air Force, Don attended the University of New Mexico and one year at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.
From the time he was a small boy, Don had a passion for airplanes and wanted to fly. He entered the Navy and attended Naval Cadet Training and Post-graduate school in Monterey. He completed flight training in April of 1956.
Don earned the rank of lieutenant commander and received the National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star, among numerous other citations for his service on the USS Hornet as a participant in the recovery of Apollo 11 and 12.
Don had many hobbies including, restoring antique aircrafts as a volunteer at the Watsonville Air Museum, and the restoration of Russian MiG at the Byron Airport. He loved football, basketball and was a voracious reader, particularly of the United States and military history.
Don enjoyed music and sang in the Summerset Singers and Brentwood Community United Methodist Church Choir. He loved his family and enjoyed spending time with them. He had a warm smile and a great sense of humor, and always a joke or funny story to tell.
Don is survived by his wife of 12 years, Michael Ann; brother: Lavonne of Odessa, Texas; son: Jason of Berlin, Germany; stepdaughter: Margot Diaz Learned of La Canada; one grandson, three step-grandchildren and one step great-grandchild.
Family and friends attended a viewing at Brentwood Funeral Home on Feb. 22. A military burial was held at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery on Feb. 23, followed by a memorial service at the Summerset 1 Activity Center.