Donald P. Stearns, Sr., 87, of Springfield, passed away on Friday, February 26, 2016, with his wife of 64 years by his side. He leaves behind a large and loving family that will miss him deeply.
Born in Syracuse, New York on July 30, 1928 to Lawrence and Ethel Stearns (Angwin). He dedicated his life to being a family man and was a wonderful father. He was a loving husband to Joeline (Kane) and loving father to Dawn Stearns, Donald Stearns, Jr., Denise Stearns, who preceded him in death, Dale Stearns and daughter-in-law, Mary Stearns (Honecker), Diane Kontra and son-in-law Jim Kontra, Dee Angelo and son-in-law Geoffrey Angelo and Lindsay Stearns. A loving grandfather to 12 grandchildren and 1 great grandson, he was also a loving brother to Carol Baule of Syracuse, NY.
While an engineering student at Pennsylvania State University, he was drafted into the Navy to serve his country for 4 years during the Korean conflict, serving as Communications Officer on the US Navy ships USS LSC 525 and the USS Adirondack AGC 15.
Dad met mom at the Spinning Wheel in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where he walked up to her and asked her to dance, and from that day forward they were at each other’s side. In the years that followed dad and mom created a big and loving family.
Growing up, some of our fondest memories were of camping at Little Pond, in Lew Beach, NY with the family. Dad was a fantastic outdoorsman who taught us all to fish, set up a great camp site, and most importantly, have a great time.
Dad was a commanding presence and a fine businessman who ran a successful company designing computer solutions for many corporations, such as Bloomberg and the US Navy. Prior to owning his own corporation, he ran the national sales operations for TotalTec and Honeywell.
In his retirement years dad was an avid walker and most days could be found walking around the Bryant Park fitness track in Summit, NJ, where he had many friends and brought a smile to everyone’s face. During the last few years he kept up his 4 mile a day walk around his neighborhood in Springfield. Dad loved people and met each person with a big smile, hello, and more times than not, a joke. It is often said that there wasn’t a person he couldn’t make laugh and brighten their day. He could be seen in his white fishing hat every day and was often greeted with a big hello and a “hi Colonel” by his many friends.
Above all, he was a wonderful person who left a legacy of love in this world. He will be missed more than words can express.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, March 4, 2016 at 11am at St. James the Apostle Church, 45 S. Springfield Ave., Springfield. Please meet directly at church. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery, Westfield. There will be a visitation at the Bradley, Smith & Smith Funeral Home 415 Morris Ave. Springfield on Thursday from 2-4 & 7-9pm. Donations may be made to The Salvation Army, 4 Gary Road in Union, NJ, 07083.