Donald (“Don”) Youngpeter, age 90, of Daleville, Alabama died on June 5, 2021 at a Dothan, Alabama hospital. The family will receive friends on Thursday, June 10, at Fuqua-Bankston Funeral home, 508 Faust Ave., Ozark, AL 36360 from 5:00 to 7:00pm. A graveside service will be held at Fort Barrancas National Cemetery in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, June 11 at 11:00am. A celebration of Don’s life will be held in Landeck, Ohio on July 31, 2021.
Don was born on May 26, 1931, in Landeck, Ohio, the son of Clarence Youngpeter and Alma Shirack Youngpeter. He grew up on a small farm, the oldest of four brothers and two sisters. When they were not at school, they worked the farm in an era of hard times. Don graduated from St. John’s High School, Class of 1949, in Delphos, Ohio. He excelled in all sports especially track and field and basketball. He was the starting guard on the school’s 1949 state championship team.
Don attended The Ohio State University on a ROTC scholarship to study Engineering and to be close to his high school sweetheart, Helen Savage. Helen and Don were married August 9, 1952. After graduating, he entered the Army as a commissioned officer with goals of becoming a pilot and traveling the world. He would accomplish both. Don became an Army pilot flying helicopters, planes, and eventually Navy Jets. He served tours of duty throughout the United States, Korea, Europe, and two combat tours in Vietnam --serving as a Huey pilot in his 1967 tour. His final duty as a pilot allowed him to test fly the world’s first Fly-By-Wire helicopter in 1974.
Throughout his Army career Don helped raise a family of five while attending training schools, TDY’s, and moving from base to base. He most enjoyed his tour of duty in Germany with the family residing in a small village in a seemingly haunted house with no running water. Being in Germany allowed travel throughout Europe and Don never hesitated to take the entire family along (even the dog at times!). There were beaches and coliseums in Italy, salt mines and mountains in Austria, museums in France, and pubs, plays, and palaces in the UK. In the states, a change of duty station always entailed stops along the way at historic sites, attractions, and national and state parks.
He retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel in 1975, and then obtained an MBA from Troy University. He went back to his farming roots working with Kill Brothers of Delphos, Ohio establishing sales of the company’s gravity grain carts in the southern states. He also co-purchased a Century 21 real estate franchise in Daleville working as the broker and manager of the business. He enjoyed working in the community, and everyone enjoyed him. His favorite retirement job however was entertaining his twelve grandchildren. Every grandchild has fond memories of spending summers and holidays at Papa and Nana’s house. Trips to the beach and Disney World were treasured by all.
Don and Helen enjoyed 62 years of a wonderful marriage and were very proud of their children. After losing Helen to cancer in 2015, Don remained active with his church family from St. Michaels in Ozark. He maintained a close relationship with his brothers and sisters throughout his life. Much to everyone’s delight, the siblings enjoyed getting together to tell humorous stories about life growing up on the farm. He also enjoyed attending games at the University of Alabama and trips to Biloxi with family and friends. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
In addition to his parents and wife Helen, he is predeceased by a sister, Ann Ruen; a brother, Richard (Dick) Youngpeter; his sister-in-laws Carol Youngpeter, Marilyn Youngpeter and brother-in-law Fred Ruen. Surviving are his three daughters, Laura (John) McLemore of St. Petersburg, FL; Lynda Sutton of Durham, NC; Teresa Phillips of Greensboro, NC; his two sons, Michael (Laura) Youngpeter of Mobile, AL and Steven (Marie) Youngpeter of Montgomery, AL; his two brothers Leon (Diane) Youngpeter of Ft. Wayne, IN; Joseph Youngpeter of Landeck, Ohio; his sister Ruth (Ron) Faulter of Columbia, SC. Twelve grandchildren, Michael (Emily) Haga, Oscar (Echo) Phillips, Carson Phillips, Katie (Ken) Ingraham, Stephanie (Will) Mailand, Lindsey (Stephen) Age, Meghan (Luke) Echols, Amanda Youngpeter, Jennifer (Eric) Youngpeter, Christopher Youngpeter, Matthew Youngpeter, and Rachel Youngpeter. Seven great grandchildren: Isla, Ryleigh, Alexander, Lena, Charlotte, James and Alexandra. Many wonderful nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 427 Camilla Ave., Ozark, AL, 36360.