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163 Avon-Belden Road
Avon Lake, OH 44012
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Donald Neil Rawlings


1935 - 2013 | Obituary Condolences
Donald Neil Rawlings Obituary
AVON LAKE - Donald Neil Rawlings was born in Cumberland, Maryland, on April 17, 1935. Born into poverty in a small rural town, he went on to get his degree in teaching and eventually his EdS, specializing in reading. He met his wife, Janet Clouse as an elementary school teacher at Brookpark Memorial Elementary in 1964, and they were married in 1966. After completing his post graduate degree, Don joined the Bay Village School System where he served as the Title One reading program coordinator for over 25 years. Don was a pioneer in his field and was an early innovator bringing computers into education. Later in his career, he was a national speaker for the International Reading Association, teaching other teachers around the country how to more effectively reach their students. Don was awarded over 100 letters of commendation, recommendation, thanks and recognition for his contributions to education.
Don was always active in the communities in which he resided. In the midst of civil unrest in the 1960s, he led a Boy Scout troop in the Hough area of Cleveland. He was active in the Civil Rights movement, marching several times with Dr. Martin Luther King, and supporting the Freedom Rider movement. Don was active in the Avon Lake United Church of Christ and was one of the founders of their television ministry program and served as an assistant Boy Scout leader. He taught summer school at the Chautauqua Institution for over 20 years. After retiring to Sun City Center, Florida, in 1996, he was active in the Kiwanis, the neighborhood watch association, and founded the computer club for Sun City residents.
Don returned to Avon Lake in early November to reside with his daughter, Christi Nelson and her family while he endured late-stage Parkinson's Disease. Don passed away on Saturday, December 14, due to complications from his 25-year battle with Parkinson's, surrounded in love by family, friends and the caregivers that had helped him through these last days.
Don is survived by his son, Steven Rawlings of Otto, NY; his daughter, Christine Nelson of Avon Lake; his wife, Janet Rawlings of Sun City Center, FL; three grandchildren, Kayla, Brendon, and Jordan Nelson; and one great-grandchild, Remington. He is also survived by his sisters, Joyce Freisner of Plymouth, IN, and Judy Sheets of Decatur, IN; brother, Richard Rawlings of Bloomington, IN; and numerous nieces, nephews, and many others who considered him dad and grandpa.
Celebration of Life will be held at Busch Funeral Home, 163 Avon Belden Road, Avon Lake, at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 17. The family will receive guests beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The family also requests that any donations be given to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
440-933-3202 www.buschcares.com
Published in www.morningjournal.com on Dec. 16, 2013
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