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Donald John Kinzel
In Loving Memory of Donald John Kinzel
October 21, 1928 - November 4, 2023
Memorial Service Wednesday November 22, 2023 at The American Lutheran Church, 17200 N Del Webb Blvd, Sun City, AZ. 85373. Service begins at 12 noon.
With heavy hearts but joyful memories, we celebrate the life of Donald John Kinzel, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend who touched the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing him. Don, as he was affectionately known, lived a life that radiated warmth, laughter, and love.
Born on October 21, 1928, in Marissa, Illinois, to Bruno and Carrie Kinzel, Don was the third of five siblings. From his early years on the family farm in Biddleborn, Illinois, to his time spent in the United States Air Force, Don's life was marked by dedication and hard work. He was confirmed at the United Church of Christ in Biddleborn in 1941 and graduated from Okawville Community High School in 1946.
Don's journey in the Air Force during the Korean War took him to places like Morocco, where he served with honor for four years until his honorable discharge in February 1957. It was during his time in St. Louis, Missouri, that he met the love of his life, Mary Manning. They were married at the Lutheran Church in St. Louis on April 24, 1954, embarking on a journey of love and companionship that would span nearly seven decades.
Don's professional career included working at Martin Marietta in Orlando, Florida, but his heart found its true calling when he joined McDonnell Douglas in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1963. For over three decades, he served as an Engineer, Technical Writer, and Procurement expert for the F-4 and F-15 Fighters, making significant contributions to the world of aviation.
In 1966, Don and Mary welcomed their son, Alan Kinzel, into their lives, and in 1955, their daughter, Lila Lee Kinzel (Churilla). Don's family meant everything to him, and he cherished every moment spent with them. He was not only a loving father but also a doting grandfather to Nicholas, Matthew, and Cathy. His eyes would light up with joy whenever he was with his grandchildren, and he loved building swing sets, bunk beds, and sharing countless adventures with them.
Beyond his family, Don's life was filled with passions that brought him immense joy. He loved golfing, bowling, traveling, card games, and the simple pleasure of socializing with friends. Don was renowned for his infectious smile, a great sense of humor, and a distinctive laugh that could brighten even the gloomiest of days. His friendly demeanor and the way he effortlessly connected with others meant that he never met a stranger and, remarkably, never made an enemy.
Upon his retirement in 1999, Don and Mary settled in Sun City, Arizona, where they enjoyed the fruits of their labor and the company of dear friends. Don's passion for his new community led him to author several books, including his most recent work, "Living the Retirement Dream in Sun City AZ," a testament to his deep love for the place he called home.
As we bid farewell to Don, we carry with us the memories of a life well-lived, a heart that overflowed with love, and a spirit that never dimmed. Don leaves behind a legacy of laughter, friendship, and unwavering love that will continue to warm our hearts for generations to come.
Rest in peace, dear Don. You will be dearly missed, but your spirit will live on forever in our hearts.
With love and fond remembrance,
Mary Kinzel (Wife)
Alan Kinzel (Son)
Lisa Kinzel (Daughter-in-law)
Lila Churilla (Daughter)
Albert Churilla (Son-in-law)
Nicholas Kinzel (Grandson)
Matthew Kinzel (Grandson)
Cathy Churilla (Granddaughter)
Carolyn Mapes (Sister)
Rose Busboom (Sister)