July 13th, 1932 - April 29th, 2020
My grandpa was a great man.He lived 87 fulfilling years, He was a fighter, literally and figuratively. The former Golden Gloves boxer lived 15 years after heart bypass surgery and the last several years with COPD. In the last three years he had broken both of his hips. You would never know he was in pain, because he always said he felt great. He was as happy go-lucky as they come.
Grandpa had many passions, but one more so than others. He loved the Cincinnati Reds. He never missed a game, something he and I shared. We could talk for hours about the Reds, as he shared the history of the franchise. Grandpa grew up down the street from Joe Nuxall, and was friends with his brother. He often bragged that Joe Nuxall signed his yearbook. His passion for the Reds ran deep. He talked about the glory days of the Big Red Machine and how Concepcion would be in the Hall of Fame if he had played for the Yankees. Bench was the greatest catcher of all time, and Charlie Hustle belonged in the Hall of Fame. He spent the last 40 years hoping for another World Series. His fandom never wavered. He watched every game, oftentimes falling asleep to the sounds of baseball. He loved baseball, and he loved the Reds.
Every summer my family would go to my grandparents house in Pittsburgh. It was a three story stone house, when I was a kid I thought it was a castle. He worked hard for that house, he worked for General Motors for 50 years. Grandpa was the life of the party and a kid at heart. While in Pittsburgh, we would spend the days playing cards, building with legos, and playing croquet, and end the day watching a baseball game. I miss those days. We took many vacations with my grandparents going putt-putt and swimming late into the night. He was never too tired to keep us entertained.
Grandpa spent the last 10 years struggling to get around, and often used a cane. However, on a cruise to celebrate my grandparents 50th anniversary, at the young age of 81, he threw his can aside to shimmy to the floor as the DJ played "Low" by Flo Rider. He even did a couple of push ups for good measure. My mom, her sister, and grandma looked on in disbelief. That didn’t stop Grandpa, he hopped up as everyone in the room looked on; and announced he was Jitterbug The next day several people walked up to him and said, "Are you Jitterbug?" He answered, "As a matter of fact, I am." From that day forward whenever I would call Grandpa, he would pick up the phone and say hello. I would say, "Is this Jitterbug," and he would say, "Why yes, it is."
Grandpa lived a great life and it ended no different. 24 hours before Grandpa had a stroke, he was on vacation with his wife and daughter in Florida. In the middle of a pandemic, he made the decision he was going home. He wanted to go home to Hamilton, Ohio and could not be convinced to change his plans. He flew home on April 25th and had a stroke later that evening. He was home, where he wanted to be.
Don is survived by his wife, Kate; his daughters Karla (Gregg) and Krystal (Chris); grandchildren Shannon (Cory) and Greg as well as many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents Elmer and Caroline; sister Carolyn; and brother Bill.
The family thinks the nurses and staff of Fort Hamilton Hospital for their exceptional care.
|Kate & Family- we are so sorry for the loss of Don. He walkways had a huge smile on his face that will be greatly missed. I loved having Don and Kate for neighbors, he was truly an inspiration!|