By Jennifer Puhl and Gordon Daniels
Don and his wife, Lynn, grew up in the city of Redondo Beach, Don spending the first 23 years of his life there, graduating from Redondo Beach High School, where he and Lynn met. He graduated from RBHS in 1955. They both attended Long Beach State College, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree and his teaching credential. Don then attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his Master of Science degree in electronics. --- And what a wonderful teacher he did become!! He then spent the next 41 years as an electronics instructor and administrator and developer of the media division at Fullerton Community College. It is said of him that he was such a good instructor in the field of electronics that students would return to him some twenty years later to advise him as to what a wonderful, excellent instructor he had been!
Don acquired a friend by the name of John "Jack" Townsend, who has been an elementary school teacher, administrator, and even Superintendent of a small elementary school district in Buena Park, California. Jack relates the following story: Prior to Proposition 13, that elementary school district had a small 50 watt FM radio station, KBPK, studio and all. Following Proposition 13, that elementary school district could no longer afford the operate this radio station, so the studio was moved to Fullerton College where it came under the capable direction of Don DePuy. Now since the transmitter of this radio station was still located at the elementary school in Buena Park, and the studio at Fullerton College, Don designed and built the microwave radio link between the studio at Fullerton College and the transmitter at the elementary school in Buena Park, which is still in operation to this day! Don worked at the studio of the radio station studio until his health forced him to completely end his relationship with Fullerton College just a few years ago, as he related directly to me, this author, in a telephone conversation. It was Don's health which forced him to quit teaching, then working at the studio, and then even to sell his home in Anaheim Hills to move into an assisted living facility there, where he passed away. Don's ill health commenced with his development of lymphoma, the treatment of which with irradiation and chemotherapy damaged his heart and kidneys. Don had to undergo dialysis, heart bypass surgery, following which he experienced congestive heart failure, which resulted his having only 10% heart functionality so that he finally passed away.
During his tenure at Fullerton College, Don was even the Dean and over the years the developer of the Media Division there. However, even though Don related to the author that he enjoyed and found meaning in being an administrator, he found his greatest fulfillment teaching in the classroom.
Jack also relates the story that some years ago Jack requested Don to build a couple of electronic devices, which Don designed, and built, from scratch, which are still operational to this day. Much of what I relate in this essay has been related to me by his dear friend, Jack Townsend. Both Jack and Don have related to me that Don took a year's sebatical leave from teaching at Fullerton College to understudy a gentleman by the name of Robert "Bob" Trousdale, an electrical engineer, where he learned digital electronics and the electronics associated with pipe and electronic organs. Don was even to undertake Bob's organ company, the Trousdale Organ Company, but Don's ill health precluded this event from ever occurring. Don made a name for himself in the organ community by helping in the restoration and enhancement of the Plummer Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ in Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton, as well as working with master organ builders in the restoration of organs in churches and homes in the Los Angeles region. Don was many times at the last minute called upon to fix an organ for a concert or a service to begin, and with incredible ingenuity did so.
Don had, as one of his wonderful attributes, that of being a good Samaritan. He frequently helped by giving time to students so as understand a subject being studied. This author found himself being one of those whom Don helped. Two and a half years ago, this author found himself in need of an automobile. Don related to him that he needed to sell his Buick Century station wagon, so this author offered to purchase that vehicle from Don. Now Don most graciously sold that vehicle to this author, as most gratefully is appreciated by the author, at a price, $750, that the author could afford on his small income. When the author took the vehicle to a brake adjustment station to have the parking brake adjusted, it was discovered that the rear brake shoes were worn almost to the rivets, the replacement of which cost $100. When informed of this fact, Don took the author aside at an open console of the Plummer Organ and informed him that he would subtract $100 from the cost of the vehicle because Don thought that when he had brake work done on the vehicle that the rear brake shoes were also replaced at that time. Don even gave the author the "pink slip" to this vehicle when he delivered it to him, even though the author still had all the payments, after the down payment, to make, which the author dutifully, in due time, did make. This is a deed which the author will, to his own dying day, always dearly appreciate! Many who have known this Gentleman have been impressed with his gentle kindness.
It was Don's pride and joy to pass on his love of music, especially organ music, to others, especially to his son Allan, whom many of you know is n exceptional organist and choir leader at a large Episcopal cathedral in Phoenix, Arizona. `
This author came to be acquainted with Don when the author was given the task of selling an electronic organ kit for the concern for whom he was working. He contacted Jack Townsend, whom he knew certainly beautifully played a pipe organ because Jack demonstrated his ability to play the Plummer Organ at an open console, in the process of finding a buyer for this organ kit. Well --- so guess what --- Jack referred the author to Don, of course, at which time the author was still to make the acquaintance of Don. Don, of course referred the author to another person whose son bought the organ kit.
Don has been active in the Orange County Theater Organ Society (OCTOS), serving on it's Board of Directors, which also includes Jack Townsend, Jack being the curator of the Plummer Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ. OCTOS has been responsible for the restoration and enhancement of the Plummer Organ under the loving guidance of Bob Trousdale. Don was always present in the lobby of Plummer Auditorium to collect ticket stubs from those entering the auditorium to hear a concert of the Plummer Organ until his ill health precluded his doing so. At one such occasion, the author, upon passing through the front door of the auditorium proferred Don two items: the entry ticket and an envelope containing the first of the payments for the automobile. Don viewed what the author offered him and then said, "Oh, this (the ticket stub) goes here; and this (the payment containing envelope) goes here, placing it in his suit coat pocket. The author was, at other such times, always asking Jack, "Where is Don today?" Well, of course, the answer to that question now is painfully clear! Don will now always be present in spirit at all events involving the Plummer Organ, as at all other events and activities in which he was involved!! Don was also active in the Orange County Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, serving almost two years as Positions Chair until his health began to fail.
Don was always a most intelligent, professional, kind, knowledgeable, articulate, instructor, humble demure Gentleman and good Samaritan.
Mr. DePuy is survived by his widow, Lynn, and two sons: Thomas, his wife, Susanne, and Grandson, Dylan of Anaheim Hills; and Alan of Phoenix, Arizona.
Last Update: February 3, 2003