Donald was born in Big Cane Parish, Louisiana on September 1, 1934. His mother, Mildred Flom, and father Miles Austin Chadwick moved from Los Angeles to Louisiana during the great depression to be with family. They were quite poor until the 1940’s. At his mother’s insistence, in order to give their children a better life and education, his family moved to Minnesota when Donald was in the 4th grade. Donald’s mother was a woman of faith and raised him, his four brothers and one sister as Catholics. Brothers Richard, Larry, Phil (deceased) and Paul Chadwicks all live in Minnesota, and his sister Irene Chadwick Hall now lives in Washington state.
Don graduated South High in Minneapolis in 1953. He ran cross country, was on the theatre stage crew and enjoyed vocational classes. At 19, he married his high school sweetheart, Joanne Macho, on September 5, 1953 at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. He and his wife Joanne had four children together: Cheryl Denice, Donald Eugene II, Susanne Marie, Douglas Austin. Joanne, died young, at age 47 from lung cancer. After Joanne passed away, Donald remarried and had a fifth child, Kristina Chadwick McCombs. Donald has 11 grandchildren and step grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
After high school, he was drafted and served in the U.S. Army. He reported for duty and received his artillery training at Ft. Riley, Kansas. Four years later he was Honorably Discharged as a Private First Class. Upon return, Donald worked at the Minneapolis General Hospital as an orderly. He worked nights so that he could attend St. Thomas College and studied Political Science and History.
Donald worked as a Claims Adjuster for Hartford Insurance Company in Minneapolis. Tiring of the brutally cold winters in Minnesota, in 1965, he was given a chance to relocate to the Los Angeles area. He attended law school at night at the San Fernando Valley School of Law and passed the bar exam on his first attempt. Donald became an attorney at age 33 and opened his own law practice in Northridge, California, which he ran up until he was in his late seventies.
Donald had a spirit of adventure. For several years he rode motorcycles, got his pilot’s license and bought an airplane. He enjoyed taking people flying – and pulling stalls! He was a lover of nature, enjoying many family road trips and camping excursions, and he loved travel, culture and history.
Dad was a good mechanic and builder. He liked to read Popular Mechanics magazine. He once made a flying saucer out of a round cake pan and gyroscopes, a guitar amp from scratch, he fiber-glassed a swimming pool diving board and gave it spring from automobile springs. He enjoyed doing his own construction and built room additions to all of their homes.
In 2016 Donald sold the large family home in Northridge, California and moved to Oceanside, California. For more than 15 years, Donald suffered from Parkinson’s disease and later developed other serious ailments, but despite that, he was never known to complain about them.
Donald was an honest, hard-working, kind, strong and stoic man. He was a gentle man and a gentleman, smart and intelligent. He had a great sense of humor and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Donald was a man of deep and abiding faith, a devout Roman Catholic, and he loved reading the Bible and his travels to the Holy Land.
The good Lord called Donald up at sunrise on Christmas morning, December 25, 2020.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in his name to: Michael J. Fox for Parkinson’s Research https://www.michaeljfox.org and/or The Gary Sinise Foundation (for Veterans) https://www.garysinisefoundation.org/
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