NEW SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Donald Merle Denmeade, 89, of New Springfield, died Friday afternoon, April 16, 2021, at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Boardman.
Don was born August 1, 1931, in Struthers, a son of George and Lucille Denmeade.
He was a 1949 graduate of Struthers High School.
He had enlisted in the U.S. Navy the following year on August 23, 1950 and graduated from the Navy Training Center in San Diego, California, in October of 1950. His first duty station was on the USS Joyce DER 317 located at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California. He was transferred in early 1951 to Coronado, California, to report aboard the USS LST 1080. On his way to being deployed to Japan, they stopped at Pearl Harbor. There he celebrated his 21st birthday by being thrown in the shower of the ship, whites and all! He traveled to Yokosuka, Japan, which took 30 days and then to operations in Korea. His duties during this time included standing watch at sea on an open bridge which was very cold, watches in forward 40mm gun tub being the first at the scene of any accident, Radioman Striker, Quartermaster Striker and then worked in Korea in the Supply Department as Storekeeper Striker. They operated off and on in Korea, mostly at Pusan.
After six months, Donald went back to San Diego where he was glad to have his brother, Robert and his hometown friend report aboard. They then deployed to Japan and Korea for six more months. While in Korea, they transported prisoners at various times to Koje-do Island Prison Camp. While in Sasebo, Japan, he left ship for duty at Tacoma Reserve Station where escort carriers were decommissioned and was in charge of the General Stores warehouse. It was during this tour of duty that he married, Doris Darin, on February 27, 1954 and lived in Naval Housing off base.
At the end of his Tacoma tour, he received orders for U.S. Naval Station Adak in the Aleutian Island chain of Alaska where he was in charge of the Shipping Department. Not only missing his wife, Doris, at this time he also missed the birth of his son, Mark, who was born November 30, 1955. He would not get to see Mark until he was seven months old.
Next, Donald was transferred to Newport, Rhode Island, where he, Doris and Mark lived and he attended Spare Parts School for four months. He was then transferred to USS Nicholas DDE449 where he had to fly from Ohio to Japan to pick up a ship in Yokosuka. While on board, he was Department Leading Petty Officer and also in charge of Storekeepers. They went to Subic Bay, Philippines, which became home port. He left for home by way of Singapore, Hong Kong, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, Pago Pago and finally arrived at Pearl Harbor.
He was mustered out at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California, in 1958, being discharged as Storekeeper First Class. The ribbons he received included Korean Conflict, United Nations, two for Good Conduct, Japan Occupation and also received the Korean Medal from the President of Korea.
Following his naval service, Don went on to work in data processing for the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Company and retired from LTV in 1985 after 27 years. He had also worked for Mahoning Bank and later for Sweeney Chevrolet.
He was a member of St. Paul the Apostle Church in New Middletown; VFW #3538 in Struthers; the Tin Can Sailors of the USS Nicholas Destroyer Reunion Group and the Ohio Amphibs.
His wife, Doris, died September 19, 2018.
Don is survived by his daughter, Maribeth Mazur of Hampton, Virginia; two sons, Mark (Michele) Denmeade of Massillon and Michael (Kelly) Denmeade of Heartland, Texas; brother, Raymond (Judy) Denmeade of Struthers; seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Besides his parents and his wife; Don was preceded in death by a daughter, Maria Crosby; sisters, Shirley Leck, Marian Bator, Betty Woods and Harriet Wilson and brothers, George, Harry and Robert Denmeade.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, April 24, 2021, at St. Paul the Apostle Church in New Middletown with Father Stephen Zeigler officiating.
Don will be laid to rest, along with his wife, at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman, Ohio, where he will receive Military Honors.
Arrangements are by the Davidson-Becker Funeral Home in Struthers.
To send flowers to Donald’s family, please visit our floral store.
A television tribute will air Thursday, April 22 at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.