Life Story / Obituary
Donald J. Navarro passed away peacefully with family at his side on December 30, 2017, at Lakeside Vista, Holland, Michigan. He dearly missed his wife, Nancy, and looked forward to the day they would reunite in their heavenly home. Donald was born on February 18, 1920, the eldest son of Paul and Grace Navarro. He was blessed to be part of a large family, which included nine siblings, one of whom died as an infant. Donald is survived by his two sons, Dr. Donald “Scott” Navarro (Randi Tillman) and Thomas William (Martha) Navarro. He cherished his grandchildren, Brandie (Thomas Pietri) Navarro, Angela (Marek Janek) Navarro, Michael (Kate) Navarro. Donald “Rocky” (Vivian Trinity) Navarro, Nanette (Chad King) Navarro, Allison (Jon) Smiles, and Jake (Erika) Tilllman. He also delighted in his great grandchildren, Dominic Pietri, Ingrid Janek, Oskar Janek, Donnie Navarro, Lucas Navarro, Jordan Smiles, and Aaron Smiles. He was preceded in death by his wife Nancy, infant son Paul, and siblings Mae (Archie) McGill, Joanne (Scott) Giordano, Tom (Lena) Navarro, Sarah Puglia, mary (Wally) Billenstein, and Josephine Navarro. His brothers Sam Navarro and Frank Navarro, brother-in-law Wally Billenstein and sister-in-law Joanne Orr remain to mourn his loss, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
Donald was employed as the Electrical Inspector for the City of Grosse Pointe, Michigan before retiring to Naples, Florida, where he spent 25 years playing golf, fishing, and enjoying family visits. While in Naples, he and Nancy were founding members of the Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ, and volunteered countless hours of service.
As a young man, Donald played the trumpet in an orchestra during the Big Band era. His band performed in the Detroit and Chicago area. Throughout his lifetime, he rarely missed the Lawrence Welk show on television. He also had a successful military career in the Air Force during World War II.
Donald is best described as a strong father figure, working two jobs at a time for much of his adult life, to ensure only the best for his family. He was very proud of his children and grandchildren, and strived to instill in them a strong sense of responsibility and dependability. He will be greatly missed.
Cremation has taken place. A memorial service will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a donation in his memory can contribute to the Veteran’s Association or St. Jude’s Children Hospital.
Arrangements were by the Dykstra Funeral Home-Downtown Chapel.