FRENCH Funerals – Cremations - Lomas
10500 Lomas Boulevard
Albuquerque, NM 87110
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Donald Vonderhaar

1939 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Donald Vonderhaar Obituary
Vonderhaar, Donald Frederick

Donald Frederick Vonderhaar beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend went to his eternal reward in heaven with our dear Lord on March 9, 2017. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Rosalie Vonderhaar; Annie, his loving puppy; son, Randy and wife, Stephanie and their three children, Andre, Catherine and Vincent; son, Ronald and wife, Karen and their two children, Joseph Daniel and Julie; one brother, Gary Vonderhaar and wife, Letty and their four children, Renee, James, Rick and Becky and their spouses and children; sister-in-law, Marion Daughtery and four of her children, Karen, Thomas, Cheryl and Terry and their spouses and families; brother-in-law, Harry Seeman and wife, Elena and four children; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Romuald and Virginia Vonderhaar; his sister-in-law, Barbara Sherouse and husband, Lollie; sister-in-law, Nila Seeman; and brother-in-law, Marvin Daughtery.

Donald was born on December 25, 1939 in Binghamton, New York. He graduated in 1958 from North Senior High School. He pursued a career in theater arts. He was three months from earning his Screen Actors Guild card when he decided that defending his country was more important. He joined the National Guard and two years later enlisted in the United States Air Force in New York. He was transferred to Colorado Springs. He joined a Young Adult group at Divine Redeemer Catholic Church where he met Rosalie Seeman. They were engaged in September 1961 and married on July 14, 1962. He was assigned to Lawry Air Force Base for missile instrumentation school. His first born son, Randy was born in May 1963. Four months later he was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and joined the fledgling Laser Research Program. His second son, Ron was born in February 1965. They lived on the Air Force Base for five years and then moved to their current home in 1968. A month later he was assigned to Phan Rang, Vietnam to work on aircraft during the war. He returned home in 1969. When he returned, his assignment remained at Kirtland working on lasers. In March of 1973 he received the Scientific Achievement Award for the High Energy Laser program while working on chemical lasers. During his service he received various commendations including the Meritorious Service Medal over a 10-year period. After 22 years of service he retired from the Air Force in 1979. Within a couple of weeks he returned to the same laser facility and worked there for five years. Don decided to complete his electrical engineering degree. He matriculated at Chapman College in Albuquerque where he completed his Bachelors of Science in October 1981. He went to work for Ball Aerospace Engineering Division in 1987. While working at Ball he was assigned to the LAZAP facility at Sandia National Labs. While there he participated in numerous space shuttle missions using lasers for various tests. While at Ball he designed and built various modules that are on satellites currently in orbit. He became a proud father of two college graduates in 1989. He retired from Ball Aerospace Engineering in June 2007. He enjoyed retirement via camping, fishing, family events, gardening, reading, cruising in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera, following advancements in science and technology, especially aerospace advancements, and playing on computers including conducting research for fun. Don and Rose celebrated 50 years of marriage in July 14, 2012.

Don was always willing to give his time and talents. He was an elected officer of his bowling league while he was in the service. He single-handedly performed all of the arrangements for a field Mass for 1,500 military members and their families for the Feast of the Assumption, including the reception in the early 1970s. He was a member of the Amigos, a support group for Albuquerque Civic Light Opera Association. He was a devout Catholic all of his life. He was commissioned by Bishop James Peter Davis as one of the first Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist for the Diocese of Santa Fe. He was a Ward Chairman for the Republican Party in the late 1980s and he served at the Quadrennial Convention in 1988. He also helped establish part of the education goals when President Reagan was elected the first time. He helped design and build the staging for the Living Stations of the Cross for St. Bernadette Catholic Church in the early 2000s. He would put others first even to the point of sacrificing being on time for important functions. Once such example was confronting racial bigotry on the day of his wedding rehearsal dinner. He had to confront the landlord and prevent a neighbor from eviction based on ethnicity so he was late to his own wedding rehearsal dinner. Don was also very generous with his treasures throughout the years especially during Christmas. He always enjoyed buying lots of toys and donating to several charities to make sure as many kids could have at least one toy for Christmas. He made it a point to adopt at least one family and help them with basic necessities. He sponsored numerous children through the Unbound program. He played Santa Claus for Casa Angelica and Rio Grande Down Syndrome. He was extremely organized and highly safety conscious. His co-workers and supervisors complimented him on the way he ran his office and the laser labs.

Don had two favorite saints. He admired St. Joseph for the courage and actions of being the ideal father who took on the nearly impossible task of being Mary's spouse and Jesus' father without regard to the dire consequences they faced. He invoked St. Jude Thaddeus for hope in the face of numerous issues. He did everything you could ever want of a good husband, father and grandfather.

Friends may visit Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at FRENCH - Lomas. The Rosary will follow Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 7:00 p.m. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated Thursday, March 16, 2017, 11:00 a.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Community, 12500 Carmel Ave NE. For those unable to attend, the Mass of Resurrection will be streamed live at



on Thursday at 11am MDT.

Pallbearers will be David Braswell, Carl Lloyd, Howard Prinz, Ralph Rudder, Kurt Schwalm, and Ronald Toya. Honorary Pallbearers will be Fred Bauer, and Ray Nagle. The Ushers will be Ronald Grotbeck, and Anton Sertich. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 7999 Wyoming Blvd NE with full military honors. Dad loved flowers so they are appreciated or donations can be made in his honor to the Marines Toys for Tots at


Good Shepherd Center in Albuquerque


Adopt a Child through Unbound,


Please visit our online guestbook for Don at

Published in Albuquerque Journal from Mar. 12 to Mar. 14, 2017
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