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Col. Donald G. Kane passed away peacefully on Sunday May 6, 2018 at his home in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania at the age of 83. Don fought valiantly against a long illness, and holds the Paoli Hospital record for most transfusions at a total of 180.
Don was born in Rockford, Illinois in 1934. His father, Chick, was chief engineer of the Roper Stove company. His parents loved to fish in the Wisconsin lakes. His first memories were looking at the stars from his bed in a boat while they fished. His mother was Doris Reed, and loved having Don’s friends come for games at their “Plantation.” He attended Rockford West High School, where he was a multi-sport participant. He enrolled in the University of Illinois, Champaign in 1952 and became an active member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
His decision to join the Air Force was simply because it had the shortest line. He felt it was the best decision ever. He won the Outstanding Cadet award in ROTC.
After graduating in 1956, and marrying Roberta Olson, the Air Force sent him to serve in San Antonio as an air traffic controller. He and Roberta started their family there. He was later sent to manage Yokota Air Force base in Japan and was given top honors for having the safest airport in the world.
Don was a natural leader. He lead by example and inspired others to work together as a team. He would settle for nothing less than excellence and encourage others to do nothing less than their best.
After the Air Force sent him to Syracuse University to receive an MBA in accounting, he served in Alabama, Turkey, Germany, and later the Pentagon as the assistant auditor general of the Air Force in charge of foreign military sales and directed the office of Cost and Management Analysis. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, plus many other awards for outstanding service.
After Roberta’s death in 1983, he retired from the Air Force having served for 27 years. He met and married Mary Schremp Boyd of Fairfax, Virginia. Together they moved to Philadelphia where he partnered to build and manage Webb Manufacturing Industries on Carpenter Street in Philadelphia until he retired in 1999.
With his partner, Steve Krupnick, they created thousands of mesh tote bags in 1990 for Sierra Club and launched the “Bring Your Own Bag” initiative in this country to save paper and plastic.
Together he and Mary have a blended family of 8 amazing and beloved children. Surviving him are his children Sally Kane and her husband Don Frerichs of Highlands Ranch, CO; Donald Kane II and his wife Diane of Hinsdale, IL; Jeffrey Kane and his wife Mary of Santa Ana CA; and Susan Zilliox and her husband Steve of Houston, TX. His step-children are Alexandra Shute and her husband Kevin of Coeur D’Alene, ID; H. Lance Boyd and his wife Tina of Haymarket, VA; Charlie Boyd and his wife Alison of Montpelier, Va; and Samantha Bower and her husband Ernie of Fairfax, VA. Together they have 25 grandchildren (averaging 3 per family). Four grandchildren have married and there are four great grandchildren, three in Texas and one in Cleveland, Ohio. Don is also survived by his brother Ron, of Gainesville, VA, who is a master Elvis impersonator and movie aficionado.
Affectionately called “The Colonel,” he was known for his quick wit and happy sense of humor. In addition to good natured teasing, he loved to read books like “The Big Hungry Bear” to his grandchildren, and as they grew, was able to enjoy many experiences with his kids and grandkids from cross-country road trips to vacation destinations all around the world. He and Mary enjoyed many trips to Europe and the Islands.
He loved music, especially Sondheim and opera arias, crying each time he heard Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma. He loved reading would consume at least three books a week. He loved hiking, wildlife, and watching the birds at his Chester Spring home. Golf with his close buddies was something he missed terribly as he found himself slowing down. People will remember him most for the stories he told, his jokes, and his interest in providing sound advice to others. He kept his hospice nurses and the Angels who cared for him laughing and they were all very fond of him. He loved his neighbors as well, and loved talking to their children as he watched them grow.
He is survived by Mary, his beloved wife of 35 years, a local artist and current president of the Philadelphia/Tri-States Artists Equity Assn. Don and Mary were active members of the Main Line Unitarian Church where they formed an ECO group after Earth Day 1990 to work on environmental causes. They were honored by Senator Dinniman, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection Gene Wilson Award in 2013 “…for their extraordinary dedication, commitment and leadership in our pursuit of a cleaner, healthier environment.”
A memorial service will be held 7:00 P.M. Monday, September 10, 2018 at Main Line Unitarian Church, 816 South Valley Forge Road, Devon PA 19333. He will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia at a later date.