My deepest condolences to Don's partner David, Family, and Friends and to the AOSS Department for the loss. I can safely say that Don was one of the greatest influences on my professional life.
I was TA for his Weather and Climate course taught to non-AOS students. Every morning I would take the first morning bus from Central to SPRL on North Campus to put together a morning weather briefing for the class. This was quite a task in the days of wet-paper fax charts and a teletype. Don would arrive blurry eyed around 0745 to pick me up, and then we would race (quite literally in his MG dodging the morning rush hour traffic around the Medical School) down to the East Engineering Bldg on central campus to arrive JUST in time for the 0800 class. Not once did he have a bad thing to say about my weather briefings. Always supportive, constructive, and thoughtful.
When the quieter times of summer came, Don didn't stop thinking of challenges for his students. He was always active in finding special projects such as the Battle Creek Hot Air Balloon Festival or Port Huron to Mac Race which would give an opportunity to expose us to real world weather, working conditions, and customer expectations. For the Balloons, we would be at the airport at 0400 - such is the requirement in a real-world forecasting experience. Don thought nothing of putting one of us young, inexperienced, wannabe weather forecasters up in front of 300 caffine-deprived and impatient balloon pilots/crew to explain how long a weather delay was going to last. No matter how tense ans stressful some of this work could be - after all peoples lives were on the line - Don was always ready with a smile, a joke, and a laugh.
With Don's careful and supportive mentoring, I learned to apply the abstract learned in the classroom to the reality of weather in the field. Having interviewed hundreds of forecaster job candidates in my professional life, I can tell you this is something very few schools teach.
Finally, it is Don who put me on my career path as a weather forecaster for some of the world's best sailors. He introduced me to a former student (Lee Davis) who hired me to work at the America's Cup in Fremantle, Australia in 1986-87. After successfully helping the team bring The Cup back to the States, my career path was established, and I've been lucky enough to be very successful in that line of work ever since using not only the meteorology that Don taught, but also the work ethic he instilled.
Thank you, Don. Your legacy lives on with me and your many thankful students.