Donald David Grabner, 90, of Monroeville, passed away at 9:45 p.m. Monday, April 22, 2013, at his residence.
Don was born on Friday, May 5, 1922, in Monroeville, to the late Grover C. and Leona (Leonard) Grabner.
He married Mary Kathryn Beauchot on July 28, 1945, in Fredericksburg, Va.; she passed away December 15, 2011.
Don graduated in 1940 from the Monroeville High School. He served his country in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant. He served in the South Pacific and following his service, he always wore the number 4 on his baseball uniforms in honor of the 4th Marine Defensive Air Wing in which he honorably served.
Don was a member of St. Rose Catholic Church in Monroeville, where he was the sexton for the cemetery for many years, as well as American Legion Post 420 Monroeville and V.F.W. Post 10205, where he served on the combined Color Guard for many years. During his years of membership at the VFW, he was elected commander of the post. Don was also Grand Marshall of the 2007 Monroeville Harvest Festival Parade and the State Inspector of the American Blue Gascon Hound Association.
An avid sportsman, Don developed a passion for coon hunting and enjoyed that activity throughout his life. But Don's favorite pastime was baseball. Don was a player in the Federation Baseball League in Fort Wayne from 1939 to 1942. After his return from military service during World War II, Don continued his passion for baseball by becoming involved as a coach as well as a player in the Monroeville area. For almost 20 years, Don volunteered as the Assistant Baseball Coach at Heritage High School. In 2002, he was the Indiana High School State Baseball Assistant Coach of the Year.
A volunteer in the community, Don was awarded the East Allen County Schools Golden Apple Award for community service in 2003. In 2009, Don went with the Northeast Indiana Honor Flight to tour the World War II Memorial in Washington DC; he greatly enjoyed this trip.
Don was employed for 33 years at the Phelps Dodge/ Indiana Rod and Wire Company in Fort Wayne, where he was head of maintenance.
Among survivors are four daughters, Annette K. (Samuel) May and Kathy M. (Pierre) de Calonne, both of Fort Wayne; Mary Jo “Jody” (Dennis) Linder of Monroeville; Susann Gilbert of Portland, Ind.; daughter-in-law, Sheryl Grabner of Fort Wayne; two sisters, Audrey Swanson of Duluth, Minn., and Sharon Sue (Richard) Darras of Monroeville; two brothers, Lindy Grabner and Loren (Colleen) Grabner, both of Monroeville; 11 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.
Don was preceded in death by a son, Dennis J. Grabner in 1997; three brothers, Dale, Charles "Dick", and Arnold Grabner; sister, Eileen Sloan; and son-in-law, John Gilbert.
Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, and from 8:25-9:25 a.m. Friday, April 26, at Zwick & Jahn Funeral Home, Jacobs Chapel, Monroeville. A rosary service will be held at 4 p.m. Thursday.
A prayer service will be held at 9:25 a.m. Friday, also at the funeral home, followed by a 10 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial in the St. Rose Catholic Church, with Fr. Lourdino Fernandes officiating.
Burial will follow in St. Rose Catholic Cemetery with military graveside services conducted by the American Legion Post 420 Monroeville Color Guard.
Preferred memorials are Masses to the church, St. Rose Centenary Project; or donor’s choice.
Online condolences may be made at www.zwickjahn.com.