Culver City Observer -

DONALD ORMAND CHANDLER

September 19, 1924 - September 24, 2014

 

October 2, 2014

Donald Ormand "Don" Chandler was born in Oregon City, Oregon, on September 19, 1924. He grew up on a small beef ranch owned by his parents, Harry and Frieda Chandler, and had his primary and high school education in Oregon City schools.

After completing high school, Don enrolled at a local junior college, where he studied engineering until he was drafted into the United States Army. Don served with the U.S. First Army and after basic training was shipped to England. He entered Occupied Europe at Normandy on D-Day, plus 3.

He was a clerk in the U.S. First Army command battalion, which gave him many opportunities to see notables such as his commander, Gen. Omar Bradley, as well as Winston Churchill, George S. Patton and Sir Bernard Montgomery. His unit was always close to the Front and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge.

He was honorably discharged from the Army at the end of the war and returned to Oregon City, where he married his sweetheart, Jean Lorraine Kyllo, on September 1, 1946. Don studied aeronautical engineering at Oregon State University and, after graduating in 1948, he and Jean moved to Santa Monica, where Don was employed by the Douglas Aircraft Company as an aeronautical engineer.

He was involved in designing and upgrading Douglas passenger aircraft such as the DC-4, DC-6 and Douglas' first jet passenger plane, the DC-8. Don was lured away from Douglas by an offer to work at Thompson Ramo Wooldridge, which later became TRW Space Systems. Don became involved in the then-super secret Defense Support Program, working on designing and building reconnaissance satellites. Don worked on many of the 23 reconnaissance satellites in that program, which are the principal components of the Satellite Early Warning System currently used by the United States.

Throughout his life Don loved airplanes and flying. He was dissuaded from completing training for a private pilot's license by his wife after the birth of their daughter, Terry Lynn Chandler, in 1949, but he enjoyed flying in private planes and gliders. He was a member of Planes of Fame Aviation Museum in Chino, California, and spent many happy hours there at air shows and seminars.

Done also enjoyed sailing, starting with an 8-foot Sabot, moving up to a 15-foot Flying Junior and graduating to a Cal 28 sailboat, which he raced and used for recreational trips. He was a member of Windjammers Yacht Club in Marina del Rey. While working at TRW, Don designed and built a spectacular house in Mandeville Canyon, where he and Jean lived for many years before moving to Marina del Rey to be closer to their boat. They subsequently moved to Culver City, to be closer to their grandchildren, Matthew Fate and Dana Fate.

After Jean died in 1996, Don became increasingly involved in an interest that had intrigued him from his youth – jazz music. Don made many friends in the Los Angeles jazz community and produced several compact disks of jazz music for various jazz artists.

Don also became an active member of the Culver City Exchange Club and served as that Club's President in 2006-2007. He also was a member of Culver City Elks Lodge 1917.

Don loved to spend time with his grandchildren and to attend their games, graduations and special events and he could always be counted on for his unwavering love and support.

In recent years, Don's health deteriorated and, following a stroke and a broken hip, he stayed in a convalescent home. He died on September 24, 2014, after a short illness, with his family close at hand. Don will be remembered by his family and friends as a gentleman and a gentle man, a special person to have known and to have been around, and as a loving husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather and friend.

He is survived by his daughter, Terry Lynn Fate, his grandchildren, Dana Elizabeth Fate, Matthew David Fate, Katrina Nicole Fate, his great-grandson, Porter Tesla Fate and by his son-in-law and daughter-in-law, Michael and Francia Fate.

 

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