Wilkie, Donald Simpson January 27, 1926 - May 23, 2012 Donald S. Wilke of Bellflower, California, was born on January 27, 1926 in London, England and passed away peacefully after a short illness at the age of 86 on May 23, 2012 in Fullerton, California. Born to Mr. David Wilke, a British Marine merchant of Scottish descent, and his British wife, Elizabeth Smith, Don was four years old when his father died and was buried at sea. In 1932, his mother married Mr. Arthur Lee, an employee at Buckingham Palace working for the royal family. The following year, the family migrated to the United States, coming through Ellis Island. Mr. Lee became the butler at the EI DuPont compound in Delaware, and the family resided inside the DuPont compound. At the age of seven, Don became the caddy for Mr. DuPont and worked around the farm inside the compound. In 1945, Don graduated from EI DuPont High School, and he and his family relocated to Pasadena, California where Don attended and graduated from Pasadena City College. Subsequently, he majored in chemistry at UCLA while working at AT&T and Boeing Aerospace. After graduation, he worked at Borden Chemical as the Operations Manager. His professional career included serving the chemical industry as a research and development chemist at Ferro Corporation and serving as Safety Manager at Hercules Corporation. Don is preceded in death by his mother, father, stepfather, and longtime companion, Violet O'Conner. He is loved and deeply missed by his closest friends of over thirty years, the Pourhass family, Cyrus and his wife Sharon and their two children Amber and Aaron, with whom he spent family celebrations and holidays all these years and who cherished him as father and grandfather of the family. Don will also be sorely missed by his friends and fellow members of Unity Spiritual Center of South Bay in Torrance, California, where he was recently honored for his long and dedicated service, never failing to open, close, clean up and put in order the church building, among other personally chosen duties. Characteristically, he accepted this honor with his endearing humble and self-effacing manner. His wry wit, slight smile below the dark glasses, and faithful service will be fondly and lovingly remembered. A celebration honoring his life will be held on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 2:00 PM, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 1500 East San Antonio Drive, Long Beach, CA 90807.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on May 31, 2012