He was 98 years young. He was a man of faith and an active member of the North Dresden Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, Wallaceburg. A veteran, he served overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II working with the new and secret technology of radar and travelling all over Britain and North and South Africa. He was one of the few non-Americans to be awarded the U.S. Soldier’s Medal for distinguished heroism by risking his own life in saving American soldiers after a fiery airplane crash. A proud 60-year member of UA Local 663 (Plumbers/Pipefitters Union), Don worked on the construction of the original Burlington Skyway Bridge, the St. Lawrence Seaway and spent many years at Kel-Gor in Sarnia.
Don was a genuinely nice man who always smiled and spoke to everyone who crossed his path. As recently as January, Don could be seen driving his PT Cruiser, having just passed a driver’s road test. Don loved board games and cards – as his family will attest to – and was up until 3:00 a.m. on New Year’s Eve playing cards with friends at the Sydenham Retirement Residence. Don was devoted to his family.
He was predeceased by his first wife Grace in 1970 (nee VanSickle) and his second wife Rose Marie in 2009 (nee Amos). Loving father of Ron (Dianna), Lorne, Donna Jean Cornelius (Wayne), Randy (Lynn), Peter (Debbie) and Paul; and step children Shirley Carter (Lawrie), Ron Kerr (Karen), and Nancy Drew (Dale). Cherished grandfather of Byron, Mike, Shawna, Jamie, Amanda, David, Irene, Jeff, Hannah, Eric, Christine, Ian, Erin, Richard, Rebekah, and Kyle and 15 great-grandchildren. The last of his generation, Don spent many hours researching his family tree, starting with his parents, Milton and Bertha Harrett, brothers Frank, Fred, Bill and Ralph, and sisters Winifred Elder, Florence Lynn, Doris Jackson and Annebelle Milne. Don was always in contact with their families and recording all of the family milestones.
The family will receive relatives and friends at the HAYCOCK-CAVANAGH FUNERAL HOME, 409 Nelson Street in Wallaceburg from 7 – 9 PM on Sunday. The funeral will be celebrated at First Baptist Church in Wallaceburg on Monday, May 7 at noon, with visiting at the church in the hour prior. Interment in Dresden Cemetery. If desired, remembrances to the Heart & Stroke Foundation may be left at the funeral home 519.627.3231. Online tributes may be left at www.CavanaghFuneralHome.ca