On July 1st, 2021, Donald Fifer, Port Charlotte, FL, passed away from dementia. He finally escaped the nurses, doctors, and law enforcement that had been trying to keep him in line most of his life.
In 1936, Don was born with a sense of humor and independent streak too large for Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. In 11th grade, he’d overrun the school system and a judge volunteered Don to join the Army, thinking they could handle him. Don was a natural and lifelong mechanic and fearlessly drove tanks in Korea where he terrorized both his fellow servicemen and the enemy.
He returned to Fort Meade, Maryland, and fell in love with the farmer’s daughter. Despite her being in high school and her father’s concern, Donald knew she was his soulmate. When his mother hesitated to consent, Edith Lucas proved his equal and doctored his birth certificate. They married, had two sons, Mark and Stephen, four grandchildren, and one great granddaughter.
Don honorably wished the Army well, preferring to fix cars to war. Before long, McLean Trucking noticed his talent and he began driving, supervising the docks, and eventually was promoted to dispatch. However, Don wasn’t one to be locked in an office under anyone’s thumb and favored the freedom of the road. He bought a tractor and began driving for Schneider Trucking, seeing the country he steadfastly loved. When regulations tried to reign in his hours, Don moved his family to Florida, sold the tractor, and finished his career working alongside his favorite co-worker, his wife, in environmental water quality testing.
Don was quietly sentimental and expressed his love for family through his lifelong determination to drive, captain, repair, or restore any vehicle that tested his patience. If his first cruise to Korea was unpleasant, it didn’t deter Don from learning to captain a boat so his family could enjoy fishing trips. While his favorite place was at home, he daringly rounded up noisy family into an oversized RV for vacations. Don was always ready to repair and restore vehicles throughout his life to help family and friends. His proudest accomplishment was not his numerous car show trophies but giving his wife a Studebaker truck and trike that he had lovingly customized.
Donald defiantly resisted pneumonia and when Christ presented him an offer he could not refuse, he only hesitated as he’d spent his entire marriage thinking his wife was his highest authority. Edith held his hand tenderly and he peacefully listened as she told him joyful stories of their life together and reassured him that she loved him. Then, after 64 years of marriage, she let him go.