Flagler Beach, Florida
Saturday, June 1, 2013


Don A. DeSpain, 78, a Palm Coast resident since 1989, died on May 31, 2013. He was known for his warm humor, creativity, and dedication to various endeavors.

Born in Belleville Illinois on Valentine’s Day, he spent his adolescent life in St. Louis Missouri and Cleveland Ohio. Graduating from Benedictine in 1953, he worked one season as a deckhand for Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co. aboard the Edward B. Greene on the Great Lakes. The following year he entered the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany as a radio operator with HQ Company, 26th Regiment-First Division. After discharge, he joined General Electric in Cleveland Ohio as an engineering technician and also worked various part-time jobs as a private detective, electronics instructor, taxi driver, factory electrician, and deputy sheriff to supplement his growing family. In 1967 GE promoted Don to Marketing and Technical Sales Specialist for their Chicago Office and later he was relocated again to open their Kansas City Missouri office. During his 23 years at GE, he contributed to various community projects including volunteer deputy sheriff for Mentor Headlands Ohio, Lee’s Summit Missouri Citizen’s Advisory Board, Lee’s summit YMCA Board of Directors, Advisory Board for John Knox Retirement Village, President and Life Member of Optimist International, and Special Gifts Chairman for the KCMO Boy Scouts of America. He was a recipient of GE’s “Leadership in Light” award and also the National GE Phillippe Award for distinguished public service.

In 1978 GE told Don he must relocate from Lee’s Summit back to Chicago but in the interest of his family and their attachment to the area, he left GE after a 23 year career to found his own business, DeSpain & Assoc. Inc. (DAI) which is still active. During his lifetime, Mr. DeSpain resided in Illinois, Missouri, Texas, California, South Carolina, and Florida, as well as two years when he and his second wife Virginia Ann lived aboard their sailboat in semi-retirement. His hobbies included fishing, camping, boating, electronics and most sports. His love for fine food and grilling inspired him to create his own special recipes that have only been shared his family and closest friends. He was a licensed General Class Amateur Radio operator with the call sign “W0NLZ”. In 1990 he and Virginia Ann founded the Master Photo/Mail-Pak-Ship & More store in Palm Coast. They sold their business in 1994 and became Senior Sales Managers for EcoQuest International. Don also continued his activities as a sales and marketing consultant. A member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, he was instrumental in establishing their columbarium, which continues to generate substantial funds to support the parish school. In 1996 Mr. DeSpain ran for Flagler County Commission, but was unsuccessful in his only attempt to enter into the political arena. In 2003 he published his autobiography to share with his relatives.

He is survived by the greatest inspiration, love, and friend of his life, Virginia Ann, and his five outstanding children from his previous marriage; Dr. John and his wife Karla DeSpain of Columbia MO, Julianne DeSpain of Lakewood CO, Bill and his wife Missy DeSpain of Argyle TX, Marguerite DeSpain of St. Paul MN and Don S. and his wife Susan DeSpain of Rogers AR, as well as six grandchildren Caitlin, Ryanne, Will, Connor, Claire, and Patrick, and one half-brother, William Lewis of Succasunna N.Y. His other half-brother, Jack C. Lewis, of St. Louis passed away in 2012.  Mr. DeSpain requested his obituary to express his heartfelt gratitude toward everyone who contributed to his life by sharing their friendship, talent, and guidance, and to his Creator for the gift of such rewarding earthly assignment.

A memorial gathering in the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Memorial Room will be held on Saturday, June 15, 2013 from 12:00PM with a funeral mass following at 1:00PM. Inurnment in the church columbarium to follow.

Arrangements are in the care and trust of Craig-Flagler Palms Funeral Home