1922 - 2013
Resident of Bonny Doon
Donald B. Hummel has died at age 90 with loving family by his side. Don was born in York, PA, the third of four children to the Rev. Dr. Norman and Edna Hummel. A talented pianist from a young age, Don played the piano during services in his father's church. Don enlisted in the navy in 1942 while still a student at Penn State. After graduating with a degree in mathematics he immediately entered active duty in the South Pacific.
As the celestial navigator and eventually the commanding officer of the USS LCI-31, Lt. j.g. Hummel participated in the liberation of the Philippines, receiving the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two bronze stars and the Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with four bronze stars. Among his greatest challenges during WWII were piloting his small ship through five typhoons, including the one of October, 1945 which damaged, grounded, or sank over 250 U.S. naval vessels trapped in the bay at Okinawa. He was only 23 years old.
Upon returning home from war Don began teaching mathematics at Purdue University, where he met a "cute coed," Marilyn Heim. They were married in 1948 and relocated to Penn State, where Don earned a second degree, this one in mechanical engineering. In 1952 his career took them to Southern California, where he worked for several corporations and taught engineering mathematics for UCLA Extension. He and Marilyn raised four children in Long Beach. They had forged life-long friendships there, but Don longed for a more rural lifestyle.
When the LA smog became too much, Don moved the family to Bonny Doon, arriving during a snow storm in January 1968. That is where both Don and Marilyn found home. He served on the board of the Bonny Doon Unified School District and worked with UCSC Extension in curriculum development. He provided engineering consulting for local businesses, including Salz Tannery (among other things, helping to bring down their tall brick chimney) and for Long Marine Laboratory. He continued to teach engineers who were studying for their licensing exams.
Favorite activities included backpacking, playing the piano, taking long walks around the north county, and dragging his family outside to appreciate the night sky. He proudly supported Marilyn in her decades of community service. He was in the process of writing a book on mathematical logic when his health began to fail.
Don was survived by Marilyn, his wife of 64 years. Also surviving are his sister Elizabeth and his four children: Nancy Edmondson (Alan), Bill (Denise), Tom, and Chris. He also leaves behind his grandchildren: Lily (Adam), David, Nick (Kristy), and Lizzy. He is also survived by six nieces and one great grandchild, Olivia. At his request, no services were held.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Jan. 18, 2014