Richard James “Dick” Donald, age 94, of 490 Scenic Avenue, Bloomsburg, died peacefully with his family by his side at his home at 1 p. m. Wednesday, March 18, 2020 after a brief illness.
Born in New Philadelphia, Schuylkill County on July 25, 1925, he was a son of the late Richard and Caroline (Hill) Donald. He moved to Bloomsburg from Manhattan, Kansas in 1968.
Dick was a coal miner from the age of 16 to age 30, working as a member of the United Mine Workers Union, except for the time he spent in the U. S. Navy.
He enlisted in the U. S. Navy in November, 1943 and served until January, 1946 with the rank of Sonar Man First Class. He served on the USS Melvin R. Newman participating in seven major engagements, including two of the greatest battles in history, Okinawa and Iwo Jimo. He was present on Iwo Jimo when the US Troops raised the American flag. Dick also served in the Navy during the Korean War on the USS Richard E. Krouse (a destroyer).
Dick received many medals for his military service including the Pacific Theatre Medal with five stars; the Philippine Liberation Medal with two stars; Unit Citation Battle of Leyte; and the U. S. Navy/U. S. Marine Corps Combat Action Medal.
He was a graduate of East Stroudsburg University and attended New Mexico State University and Kansas State University on scholarships.
Dick taught in the Port Jervis, New York schools and served as the Curriculum Director in Lower Merion Township, Pa. He was a mathematics professor at Kansas State University, Penn State University and last at Bloomsburg University, retiring in 1990.
Following retirement, he enjoyed visiting local schools, telling the students about the history of World War II and the Korean War. He traveled throughout the area speaking to many groups about his war experiences and sharing his many stories. Dick also participated in many veteran’s parades and loved playing taps on his trumpet.
He was a member of the Ft. McClure Post 804, VFW, Valley of Bloomsburg, American Legion Post 273 and the Columbia County Veterans group. He could be seen annually at the Veterans booth at the Bloomsburg Fair.
Dick enjoyed taking bus trips with his late wife, Marie, spending time with his family, playing cards and gardening. He served as President of Phi Sigma Pi, a National Honor Fraternity of twelve thousand members.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, the former Marie Perbetsky, on December 4, 2007 and his only child, Richard W. Donald on December 6, 2014.
Dick is survived by his grandson, Richard J. “Rick” Donald, and his fiance’ Cara Hashagen of Bloomsburg; a great-granddaughter, Lily Marie Donald; two step-great-grandchildren: Cole Wharton and Gabrielle Hashagen; a sister, Carol Bulvich, Allentown; two brothers: Thomas Donald, Pottsville and Donald “DJ” Donald, Philadelphia; and a number of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 4 p. m. in the Dean W. Kriner, Inc., Funeral Home & Cremation Service, 325 Market Street, Bloomsburg, with Rev. Gary W. Reichenbach officiating. The family will receive friends from 2-4 p. m. Military honors will be accorded by the combined VFW and American Legion group.
Interment will be in Sky View Memorial Park, Rush Township, Schuylkill County on Monday at 10:30 a. m. The procession will leave the funeral home promptly at 9:15 a. m.
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