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 Donald “Don” Oberlin

Donald “Don” Oberlin

Canton, Stark County, Ohio, USA
Death 12 Jul 1972 (aged 51)
Cape Canaveral, Brevard County, Florida, USA
Burial Cocoa, Brevard County, Florida, USA
Plot Veterans Garden 1
Memorial ID 41631663 · View Source
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Birth Record revealed Donald Oberlin was born at 6:30 am by a MD on March 8, 1921 at home in Canton, Stark County, Ohio.

He was the first of two sons. Donald fell out of a tree and broke both arms severely when he was about ten. Metal plates were placed in both arms and his mother tutored him at home that school year. His mother always called him Sonny. On Dec 8, 1932, just three months before his twelfth birthday, Donald competed in a declamation contest, public recitation. Six weeks later, he received a first place ribbon* from the Stark County Schools of Ohio. The letter congratulated him for winning out of over eighteen hundred participants.

He began tinkering with radios as a hobby when he was twelve. His parents separated while they were in high school. He was only fifteen when he began his own radio repair shop in Bolivar, Ohio which he operated from 1936 to 1939.

Marriage License revealed Donald L. Oberlin and Myrtle I. Oliver of East Sparta were married by a minister on September 26, 1939 in Canton, Stark County, Ohio.

Don was eighteen and Myrtle was sixteen when they married.

The 1940 census revealed Don lived in Bolivar in 1935, was a driver for a bread company and earned $156 in 1939 and was seeking work during the week of March 24-30, 1940. They were living on Sherman Church Road with Myrtle's family in Bethleham, Stark County, Ohio. Donald and Myrtle had a tenth grade education. Household members: Donald L. Oberlin (20), Myrtle I. (16), Mirrel S. Oliver (41), Dorothy V. (34), Dorothy A. (15), Bernadine M. (12) and Donna J. (2).

While employed by Republic Steel Corporation of Canton, Ohio from 1940 to 1941, he maintained and repaired electrical furnaces, electric cranes and electrical equipment in the machine shop. He was an instructor for an engineering science development course at Mount Union College in Canton, Ohio when he was twenty. He was the radio service shop manager for the O'Neil Company of Akron, Ohio in 1942.

U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records revealed Donald L. Oberlin was born in Ohio in 1821, had a tenth grade education, was an electrician and was separated with dependents. Don enlisted as a private on September 22, 1943 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Military Record revealed Donald Oberlin served in the United States Army Air Force. He was a radio mechanic from 22 Sep 1943 and qualified for marksman - carbine on January 8, 1944. He got a honorable disability discharge at age twenty-four on October 22, 1945 in Amarillo, Texas.

On April 12, 1946, they bought their bungalow on fifty acres on the corner of East Sparta and Sherman Church Road. They raised their three oldest children in the country for the next nine years. He operated his own radio repair shop for a few years in Canton, Ohio. He drove a panel truck with the advertisement on the side. His daughter, Carol Fortin has five small advertising calendars* inscribed with: 1947 Don's Radio Service. In June 1951, he obtained his High School Diploma from Massillon High School in Massillon, Ohio.

Pilot's License, issued October 23, 1948, revealed Donald Oberlin was part owner of a small airplane for a few years in the early fifties. They flew to Niagara Falls on a sight seeing trip. On the return trip, they encountered bad weather and had to land in a hay field. The farmer bedded them for the night and the next day cleared a strip in the field so they could fly home.

Donald worked for Goodyear Rubber Company in Canton a few years prior to working for Chrysler Corporation in 1954 as an electronic engineer. They moved to Cocoa Beach in Brevard County, Florida in 1956 and bought a home across the street from a canal. They enjoyed fishing almost daily for the fish were plentiful and delicious.

In September, 1957 they bought a home in Utica, Michigan. Their only son graduated there from High School in 1958. Their fourth child was born in May of 1959 when he was thirty-eight. A week later, they sold their home and moved to Alabama for six months. He thought his name was Donald Lee until he received his birth certificate in preparation for going overseas in 1959 and found he had no middle name.

They had one son and three daughters:

Donald Lee Oberlin (b.1940)
Carol Jean Oberlin (b.1942)
Sandra Kay Oberlin (b.1945)
Janice Fay Oberlin (b.1959)

They moved to Taranto in southern Italy on Christmas Day in December 1959. He worked in Italy and Turkey for NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Christmas of 1960, the family traveled down Italy's coast to the southern tip of the peninsula and took the fairy to the large island of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea, to see Mt. Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. They mistakenly took the road intended for experienced climbers and found a path leading to the top. His wife and baby waited in the car many hours while he and his two daughters explored the trail to see the crater.

They returned to the United States and moved to Cape Canaveral, Brevard Co, Florida, in December of 1961 to work for Chrysler Corporation on the Space Program. By the end of the summer in 1962, they moved into the beautiful home they had built on the canal in Snug Harbor Estates in south Cocoa Beach, Brevard Co, Florida across the canal from where they lived in 1956. He was president two years of the Homeowners Association where they lived for ten years. Don enjoyed golfing and fishing in his spare time. In 1965 he bought a thirty-two foot yacht which was his pride and joy. He always tinkered on it and went on deep sea fishing trips in the Atlantic Ocean. They took a few vacations aboard his yacht using the inter-coastal waterways to Miami, Florida.

He worked for Chrysler Corporation for ten years. Working in systems control, he met all the astronauts through the years. He also was in the blockhouse, control center when the Apollo spacecraft tragedy happened, killing the three astronauts in Jan 1967. He was a member of the Management Club until he had a heart attack in March 1972. Because of his poor health, he wasn't told when his father died on 21 June 1972.

They had been married over thirty-two years and their youngest daughter, Janice was thirteen when Don died in 1972.

Death Record revealed he died at Cape Canaveral Hospital in Brevard County, Florida on July 12, 1972 after three days of Acute Passive Pulmonary Congestion due to Arteriosclerosis.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Record revealed Donald Oberlin was born on March 8, 1921, enlisted in the Army on October 13, 1943, was released on October 22, 1945 and died on July 12, 1972.

Obituary (Star Advacate, Pg B3, Friday July 14, 1972)

{{Services Saturday for Donald Oberlin. Services for Donald Oberlin, 51, of 1721 Bayshore Dr., Cocoa Beach, will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home, Cocoa. He died Wednesday at Cape Canaveral Hospital, Cocoa Beach.}}

Obituary (Orlando Sentinel July 14,1972, Pg 6B)

{{MR. DONALD OBERLIN 51, 1721 Bayshore Drive, Cocoa Beach died Wednesday.

He was a native of Canton, Ohio and a resident of Cocoa Beach for the past ten years. He was a world War II veteran and an electrical engineer with Chrysler Corportation and a member of the Chrysler Management Club.

Survivors: widow, Myrtle O. Oberlin; son Donald L. Oberlin, Alliance, Ohio; daughters, Mrs. Glenn W. Carter, Titusville, Mrs. James Suttle, Springfield, Mo., Miss Janice F. Oberlin, Cocoa Beach; brother, Kenneth C. Oberlin, Bolivar, Ohio; mother Mrs. E. Oberlin, and eight grandchildren.

Services for Donald Oberlin, 51, of 1721 Bayshore Dr., Cocoa Beach, will be at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home, Cocoa with the Rev. Morrell S. Robinson, Pastor officiating. Burial will be in Brevard Memorial Park. Friends may call at the funeral home from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday. Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home in charge of arrangements}}

Don lived to age 51.

Link to their Grandson.

Donald Lee Oberlin Jr

Family Members







  • Maintained by: Janice Oberlin Smarr
  • Originally Created by: Janice McCoy
  • Added: 6 Sep 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 41631663
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Donald “Don” Oberlin (8 Mar 1921–12 Jul 1972), Find A Grave Memorial no. 41631663, citing Brevard Memorial Park, Cocoa, Brevard County, Florida, USA ; Maintained by Janice Oberlin Smarr (contributor 47231132) .