Donald Joseph Wakefield age 84 died Saturday, December 12, 2020 at Rae-Ann Suburban, West Lake, Ohio.
Donald was born on May 6, 1936 in Cleveland, Ohio to LeRoy and Elizabeth Wakefield. He attended St. Aloysius Elementary School in Cleveland.
Don graduated from Gilmour Academy in 1954 and from John Carroll University in 1958. He earned a Bachelor of Social Science and History degree.
Don graduated as a Commissioned Officer, Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army through his membership in the R.O.T.C. and the Pershing Rifle Competition. Following graduation from John Carroll University, Don was assigned to Fort Eustis in Virginia.
In 1959, Don was called for active duty overseas. He was promoted to First Lieutenant and was stationed at the U.S. Army headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. Eventually Don was promoted to the rank of Captain and led the Transportation Corp 557 Heavy Truck Company in Bamberg, Germany. He remained in the Army Reserves until receiving an Honorable Discharge on January 31, 1969.
Don was a true scholar earning a graduate degree in Educational Psychology, and almost a Doctorate in German at Heidelberg University in Germany. He also studied at William and Mary University, Virginia, Toledo University and Akron University in Ohio.
Don held dual teaching certificates for both Michigan and Ohio. He taught high school in Cleveland, Akron, Barberton and Painesville, Ohio and Monroe, Michigan. He was offered a position of teaching German at Toledo University.
Don married Janice Vaeth in 1972. They spent one-year traveling, six months in the U.S. and six months in Europe. Three children were born, Amanda, Stephanie, and Scott Wakefield. Don loved his family dearly and was so proud of them. He recognized musical talent in his children at a young age and provided lessons for them to become proficient in playing the violin.
The family moved from Cleveland to Don’s grandparents farm in Pierpont. Don was a good steward of the land perpetuating the legacy of the 100-year-old farm.
Don enjoyed a variety of careers, he was employed by Social Security, Blue Cross of Northeast Ohio, Dun & Bradstreet, American Sterilizer and Nordsen. Other accomplishments include a pilot’s license, playing trumpet with an orchestra, membership in a German Classic Club and member of a German Fraternity in Heidelberg.
Don belonged to the American Legion, the V.F. W., the Irish American Club, Moose, Pymatuning Sportsmen’s Club, and the Grange. He was a member of Corpus Christi Parish in Conneaut.
Don had a passion for reading. He never met a stranger and was blessed with many friends in all walks of life. He was proud to be an advocate for veterans.
Don is survived by his daughter, Amanda and son, Scott, brother Jerome (Peggy) of Cleveland, sisters, Sr. Carole Wakefield H.M. of Grand Island, Nebraska, and Sr. Praxedes OSU, of Pepper Pike, Ohio, nieces and nephew; Gayle Wakefield, Kathleen (Wakefield) Macula and Daniel Wakefield, great nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
Don was preceded in death by his grandparents, Joseph and Mary Kurey and Leonard and Anna Wakefield, parents, and daughter Stephanie Lynn.
Visitation will take place at the Raisian Funeral Home, 581 Harbor St, Conneaut on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Mass of the Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 12:00 Noon at St. Frances Cabrini Church, 744 Mill Street, Conneaut with Father Philip Miller of Corpus Christi Parish officiating.
Burial will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, Conneaut, with the American Legion Honor Squad conducting full military honors.
Due to Covid-19, social distancing and masks will be required.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland, 6085 Parkland Blvd., Suite 175, Mayfield Heights, OH 44124, or Sisters of the Humility Mary, Villa Marie Rd., Villa Maria, PA 16155.
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Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland
6085 Parkland Blvd., Suite 175, Mayfield Heights OH 44124
Sisters of the Humility Mary
Villa Marie Road, Villa Maria PA 16155