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Donald D. Baals

Obituary
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NEWPORT NEWS - Donald D. Baals, a resident of Warwick Forest, passed away June 16, 2013. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, as well as a man known for his kind-heartedness and gentlemanly ways throughout his long life. Don was born Oct. 31, 1916, in Fort Wayne, Ind., and grew up there as son of the city's mayor. His parents were Minnie Witte and Harry William Baals. He attended Purdue University, where, in 1939, he received a master's degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Shortly after graduation, a job at NASA, in Hampton, Va., brought him to this area. He worked at Langley Research Center, retiring as a senior research scientist, until 1975. He met the love of his life, Madelynne Withers, in Suffolk soon after coming to the area. They married on June 26, 1943, living first in Hampton and then moving in 1952 to Newport News, where they resided together until his death. During his career, Don was a member of the Torch Club, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and served as president of the Engineers Club of Virginia. He received a Distinguished Service Award for his work at NASA, and after his retirement, he worked two years for George Washington University, where he was a co-author of a book titled, "Wind Tunnels of NASA." He also was an active member of First United Methodist Church of Newport News for more than 60 years. In his leisure time, Don enjoyed tennis, golf and sailing. To all, but most especially to his family, he was an example of the devoted husband and father. He is survived by his loving wife, Madelynne, who was his best friend for more than 70 years. He also is survived by a son, Robert Baals and wife, Lani, of Yorktown, and three daughters, Karen Stiff and husband, Walter, of Corolla, N.C.; Patricia Rudd and husband, Robb, of Richmond, Va., and Donna Gurley of Tulsa, Okla. Other survivors include five granddaughters, Kelli Badary, Hannah Brage, Marie and Jacqueline Wheeler, and Virginia Rudd; and two grandsons, David and Jesse Gurley. The family extends its appreciation to the staff at Warwick Forest and the employees of Visiting Angels for their loving and devoted care during the past four years. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to First United Methodist Church of Newport News, 10246 Warwick Blvd. A memorial service will take place at 3:00 Wednesday in Burton Hall at Warwick Forest.
Published in Daily Press from June 18 to June 19, 2013
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