Donald William Drumtra, 80, passed away on Thursday, May 20th at The Watermark at Southpark Meadows residence in Austin, TX. His family was by his side in his final days.
Don was born June 1, 1940 in Evanston, IL to Donald and Eve (Josephsen) Drumtra. He was the oldest of three children. In 1958, he graduated from Arlington Heights High School where he was keenly interested in short wave radio, having made several strong friendships that lasted a lifetime. After a five year internship program with Bell Telephone Company, he graduated in 1963 from Northwestern University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering.
Soon after he graduated, Don enlisted in the United States Air Force in radio and communications. He was part of the Air Force Communications Command and honorably served our country both domestically and overseas in both Thailand and Germany. Through his service he received numerous awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
In Germany, Don was part of a team called Scope Creek, that went to remote communication sites around the world to test equipment and bring them up to operating standards. In 1975, Don retired from active duty as a Captain and then served in the Reserves until 1981. He continued an active career in the Civil Service, retiring in 1999 as the Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency Megacenter, or DISA, at Warner Robins Air Force Base.
Don married Patricia Wilson on October 15, 1966 in Henry, IL. They have three children (Dawn, Dwight, and Durand) and the family settled in O’Fallon, IL. Don joined church choirs at every opportunity and frequently attended opera and Masterworks Chorales. Later he acquired a passion for classical organs, be they for religious purpose or just for fun. In 1992 Don and Patty moved to Bonaire, GA where he volunteered and oversaw the renovation project of the pipe organ in the local Methodist Church. Upon retiring, Don and Patty moved to Texas where he earned a third Master’s Degree, Master of Science in Information Studies from the University of Texas in 2009. He and Patty attended numerous music concerts, enjoyed classical organ in the many fine churches of Austin, and especially enjoyed performances by the UT Students.
Don was an active member of IEEE, MENSA, American Library Association, and many other organizations related to his areas of study. He held leadership positions with several of them and committed his time and experience to advance their work.
Don had a zest for life, a curious mind, a sense of duty to our country, and a deep love for his family. He believed in the power of education and enjoyed learning throughout his life. He was a railroad enthusiast and he and Patty made several trips throughout the United States by train.
Don is preceded in death by his parents and brother, David AJ Drumtra. He is survived by his wife, Patricia Ann, daughter Dawn Elizabeth, sons Dwight Christopher (Marta) and Durand Donald (Stacy), and sister Deanna Elizabeth Conroy. A celebration of his life will be planned at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to National Public Radio or a local Public Broadcasting Station, both favorites of Don’s throughout his life.