James Donald Deer
MOORE, SC-- At the age of 92, James Donald Deer, joined his heavenly father on Sunday, September 15, 2013, after a brief illness.
He was born James Donnell Deer in Franklin, Indiana to Clarence and Josephine Deer on October 8, 1920. He attended and graduated from Center Grove High School in 1938. He went on to attend Purdue University
in West Lafayette and received a Bachelor of Physical Education in August of 1943. While at Purdue he met his future wife, Frances Irene George of West Lafayette, Indiana. After graduation he entered the United States Marine Corps
Officer Candidates School and upon completion, was assigned to the Fourth Amphibian Tractor Battalion, which was deployed to the Pacific Theatre. Prior to his deployment he married the love of his life, Frances George on May 27, 1944. During his service in the Pacific, his unit received the Presidential Unit Citation for extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces during the assault and capture of Okinawa, April 1 to June 21, 1945. In May 1946, he completed his active duty and returned to Indiana, to teach at West Lafayette Junior High School, but remained a reservist in the USMC. In 1951, he was called back to active duty during the Korean War
. During his service in Korea, he received a citation for meritorious achievement in the performance of his duties while serving with a Marine amphibian tractor company during operations against the enemy in Korea from March 13 to November 4, 1953. After the Korean War he returned to teaching and remained a reservist. He attained his Master of Science in Education at Purdue in 1954 and soon after took a position as principal of Burtsfield Elementary School in West Lafayette, Indiana. During this time he also achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Marine Corps. In 1964 he moved with his family to Moore, South Carolina and returned to the profession of his youth; farming. He managed the family cattle business, Gap Creek Farm, until his retirement in 1982. During this time he was heavily involved in several local and national organizations. He was President of the South Carolina Cattleman's Association in 1971, President of Spartanburg County Farm Bureau 1974-75, and was a delegate to the National Cattleman's Association for several years. Don also continued his interest in education and served on the Board of Trustees for Spartanburg County School District 5 from 1973-81. He was also a member of the Duncan Ruritan Club. As devoted as Don was to his family and nation, he is probably best described as a good and faithful servant of his Lord and his church. He was a lifelong Presbyterian. He attended Bethany Presbyterian Church in W. Lafayette, Indiana, and became a ruling Elder in 1955. After moving to South Carolina, Don and Fran joined Nazareth Presbyterian Church where he served as a Deacon and then Elder for several years. He was honored to have served as a delegate to the National Council of Churches General Assembly on two occasions. Don actively served the church in many ways through the years, but he, perhaps, enjoyed teaching Sunday school most. He is loved by many and will be greatly missed.
He leaves behind his wife of 69 years, Frances Deer. He is also survived by son and daughter-in-law, Thomas and Dianne Deer; son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Teresa Deer; daughter and son-in-law, Lisa Deer and Michael Pruitt. Surviving grandchildren include, Justin Deer and wife, Elizabeth, Suzanne Deer, Daniel Deer, Lee Deer, Jeannette Pruitt, and Liz Pruitt.
Visitation will be held at Dunbar Funeral Home today, Tuesday, September 17th from 6-8pm.
Funeral services will be held at Nazareth Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, September 18th at 2pm.
In honor of Don, memorials may be made to Nazareth Presbyterian Church, 680 Nazareth Church Road, Moore, SC 29369.
Condolences can be expressed to the family at www.JMDunbar.com.
Dunbar Funeral Home
Published in the Spartanburg Herald-Journal from 9/17/2013 - 9/18/2013.