Donald (Don) James Depew, age 76, passed away this month in Thackerville, OK. Don was born in San Francisco, CA on June 19, 1945, to Frank H. Depew and Mary Teresa Robinson Depew. He was their first son. Don was preceded in death by both of his parents in 1996. As a young boy, Don lived in Philadelphia, PA and as a teenager he lived in Albuquerque, NM because his parents wanted to enjoy the sunny blue skies above the Sandia Mountains. Don was tall, 6’ 2” and could easily have been an athlete in school, but when he was only 10 years old in 1955, he spent a year in the Philadelphia Children’s Heart Hospital to treat his Rheumatic Fever. While he was there, he wrote a get-well letter to President Eisenhower who had been in the hospital for a massive heart attack that fall. He received a signed photo of the president and a letter of thanks from the First Lady, Mamie Eisenhower.
Don attended Madison Junior High and Sandia High in Albuquerque. In June of 1963, just one day before his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the US Navy. While in the navy, he served aboard the USS Ticonderoga CVA-14. He was on board when, on August 2, 1964, the Ticonderoga was the first aircraft carrier to respond to the North Vietnam attack on the destroyer USS Maddox DD-731. This became known as the “Gulf of Tonkin Incident.” Don stayed in the navy until he was honorably discharged in October 1966, at which time he returned to Albuquerque.
The next year he married Molly Ann in April of 1967 and the couple had one son, Tod. He subsequently had 2 other marriages with no children. In addition to Albuquerque, Don lived in numerous other cities from Stafford, Virginia to Boise, Idaho. His favorite place, though, would always be the Duke City.
Don was a craftsman by trade. He worked with his tools to make things more beautiful. He always took pride in his work, a trait he inherited from his father. He did this work until he could no longer physically continue. Don was a good man, with a good heart that must have received its strength during that long year in the hospital. He left behind a loving sister, Barbara, and brother, Ray, neither of whom will never lose a place in their hearts for him.
Don will return to New Mexico and be laid to rest along with his father, a WWII US Navy veteran, in the National Cemetery in Santa Fe.