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Donald Culler Jennings, 91, passed away after a brief stay at his daughter's home in Hinesville, Ga., April 5, 2012. He was a retiree, University of Florida, a former Professional Engineer and also, a Fellow, American Society of Civil Engineers.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 63 years, Jean Louise Galbreath Jennings. She passed away in December 2011. He is survived by his two children, Lauren, Hinesville, GA., Donald William, his wife Mary Catherine "Kellie", and four grandchildren, Samuel Thomas, Shannon Kelly, William Robert, and Caroline Mary, Arlington, MA.
He was a member of Servants of Christ Anglican Church, Gainesville, FL.
Donald was born in Plains, Georgia, January 4, 1921, the second of three sons, to Kathleen Culler Jennings and David Thomas Jennings, Sr. He was especially proud of his high school senior year as first team offensive center and defensive guard and the smallest man on the football team under Coach Jack Finklea in Coach Finklea's first year at Americus High school in 1937.
Donald, also known as "Jinx" Jennings, played the trumpet with his orchestra locally at the D.S. Club, and various dance pavilions in the County.
He graduated from Georgia Southwestern College and Auburn University having worked his way through as an engineering co-op student.
At Auburn, he was elected Senior Class Representative to the Student Executive Council, President Sigma Phi Epsilon, and Blue Key. He joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and, following graduation from Auburn, entered training at Camp Peary, VA. He served as a Naval officer in the 93rd U.S. Naval Construction Battalion, "Seabees", in Southwest Pacific, Philippines. After the Japanese surrender he was transferred to the 122nd then the 96th Naval Construction Battalion, attached to the Sixth Marine Division, and became Operations Officer., enlarging the airbase near Tsingtao, North China. He returned to the U.S. and inactive duty till his retirement (honorary) in 1959 with the rank of Lieutenant.
In his professional life he was with the Humble Oil and Refining Co. as Resident Engineer on the construction of gasoline absorption plants and the first completely self-contained offshore drilling platform in the unprotected waters of the Gulf of Mexico, South of Grand Isle, LA.
This project, designed and constructed by W. Horace Williams, New Orleans, required the driving of the longest steel piling in history, followed by several smaller platforms until all activity was halted due to disputes between the States and the U.S.
He left Humble and joined The Lummus Co. in 1949, for the reconstruction and expansion of the refinery, Dunkirk, France; followed by major expansions; Shellberre, France; and S.I.B.P. Antwerp, Belgium, then his first assignment as Construction Superintendent, Koppartans refinery, Sweden; then, Manager, Construction Departments, The Lummus Company; New York City and Bloomfield, NJ.; Societe Francaise des Techniques Lummus, Paris; and Assistant General Manager C.A.V. Lummus, Maracaibo, Venezuela; Stone and Webster Engineering Ltd., London; Vice-President, The Pritchard Corporation; Kansas City, Mo. Manager, Construction, The Badger Corporation, The Netherlands; and Manager, Construction, GE Plastics, The Netherlands.
At the culmination of an extensive career in the construction of all types of oil, chemical, petro-chemical and brewery facilities, worldwide, he and his wife, Jean, moved to Gainesville, FL., where he was employed at the University of Florida as a Professional Engineer and, later, Assistant Director in charge of the Architectural Engineering Department., Physical Plant Division, retiring in 2001.
Donald was also fluent in French with sufficient proficiency in Spanish, Dutch, and Swedish.
A memorial service will be held at Servants of Christ Anglican Church, Gainesville, FL. Mid May. Afterwards Donald will be interred with his wife, Jean, at Andersonville National Cemetery, Americus, GA. A notice will be placed in the Gainesville Sun regarding the date and time for the memorial service.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Apr. 15 to Apr. 16, 2012