Donald G Field passed in the presence of loved ones, in his own home, on Saturday, September 21st at the age of 97. Herein is an attempt to compress a list of his interests, talents, and accomplishments into a few paragraphs—a monumental challenge.
Don lived a fascinated and fascinating life. He relished in the complexities and mechanics of all things. He was an avid gardener. He spent hours each day reading books and magazines of science, nature, flight, astronomy, travel, and technology. He was a lover of literature, museums, creation, and repair. He could fix anything. He shared his joy and wonder for the world with his family, and everyone else who surrounded him. He loved camping and traveling through America’s national parks. He enjoyed plowing his neighbors’ driveways with the 1950s John Deere he rebuilt. He was quick to pop an enormous pot of buttery popcorn (homegrown, of course!) for anyone who cared to take up space in his living room. He heated the family home with a woodstove, and split his own firewood well into his 80s. It is estimated he cut, split, stacked, and transported a couple hundred cords of wood over this time. He loved sports (especially NASCAR and football) and visiting the Jersey Shore with his family.
His basement was a testament to his endless list of hobbies and skills. His radio shack was wallpapered with ham radio calling cards from some of his thousands of contacts across the world. Amateur radio was an 80-year passion—he was a member and past president of the Delaware Valley Radio Association and a member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association for over 50 years! His electric train set, race car track, and model airplanes were always being tinkered with. His workbench was fit for a working electrician, plumber, woodworker, or ironsmith (the tiniest fully-stocked home-improvement center in Jersey!). He enjoyed spending time in the darkroom he built developing photos.
Don was a proud veteran. As a young man, he joined the army, the 143rd Armored Signal Corps, 3rd Armored “Spearhead” Division and sailed to England to fight in WWII. He fought in D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge and liberated the Nordhausen concentration camp and British prisoners at Eiselben. After his time in the military, he worked on and received several patents at Youngs Rubber Company in Trenton over a 39-year career. He was a member and past president of the Industrial Management Club and a member of the local Civil Defense group.
Don was preceded in death by his wife of 60 years, M. Virginia Field, his parents Mae and Mervin Field, and his brothers Melvin and Norman. He is survived by his four children Nancy, Carol, Kandy, and Ken and their spouses; his five grandchildren Nathan, Jessica, Emelia, Ada, and Kelsey; and his five great-grandchildren Finn, Ava, Ansel, Harper, and Jasper.
Don cried tears of joy as he was gifted his first smartphone at age 88. He exclaimed, “I never thought I’d have one of these myself”! Certainly, he would hope that we might all find inspiration from his exceptionally full life away from our own screens and explore a new hobby in honor of this great man. Don was an example to all of what could be accomplished in our lives with a bit of enthusiasm, focus, and time.
A gathering of friends and family in celebration of Don’s life will take place at Blackwell Memorial Home, 21 N. Main Street, Pennington, NJ, on Friday, September 27 from 6 to 8 pm. Services at Ewing Cemetery, 78 Scotch Road, Ewing, NJ, will take place the following day, Saturday, September 28, at 11 am.
Donations in Don’s honor in lieu of flowers may be made to Holy Redeemer Home Care & Hospice or the National Park Foundation.