Perhaps it was a sense of duty to his country, or just a desire to be a part of his generation's greatest adventure, but Donald F. Whistler Jr. was determined to enlist despite an Army doctor's telling him his eyesight was too poor. When the doctor left the room, Don altered his medical record to reflect acceptable eyesight and was soon on his way to boot camp.
He went on to serve with distinction in World War II with the 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion, participating in the invasion of Normandy, the relief of Bastogne (where he was wounded before the Battle of the Bulge), and the occupation of a defeated Germany. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Don died April 25th, aged 95. He was the oldest son of Donald and Helen (Weaver) Whistler, born in Fresno. He attended Washington High School in San Francisco but graduated from Palo Alto High School in 1941 and was a student at San Jose State College when the United States entered World War II.
Following the war, Don returned to California and earned a B.A. degree in Political Science and German at the University of California-Berkeley and went to work for the Bank of California. It was at the bank that he met his first wife, Elizabeth, and together they had two daughters. They divorced and Don later married Marjorie, with whom he had a third daughter.
Don's work as a budget analyst led him to the McDonnell-Douglas Corporation and a move to its St. Louis headquarters, where he worked until his retirement in 1987. Upon retiring, Don and Marjorie moved back to California and settled in Santa Rosa.
Throughout his life, Don was active in civic affairs, especially through the Lions Club and Lions Eye Foundation on the local, regional, and state levels. For many years he was a local election inspector and a U.S. Census taker. He was also active at the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, serving on various committees and as a member of different parish groups. Don was an avid reader, had a passion for history and enjoyed people. He traveled throughout the USA and Europe, played bridge, golf, and attended Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes at Sonoma State University, and the Sonoma County World Affairs Council (SCWAC).
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie; his three daughters, Tamsen (Robert), Helena (Frederick), and Amy (John); three grandchildren; and seven nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Landis.
Don's life will be celebrated in a service on May 5, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at Church of the Incarnation, 550 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa. His remains will be inurned in the church columbarium. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Church of the Incarnation, OLLI Program at SSU, or SCWAC.