Obituaries » Donald L. Kyzer

Donald L. Kyzer

March 12, 1933 - June 26, 2020

U.S. Veteran
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Donald Lewis Kyzer, 87, of Hawley, died Friday, June 26, 2020, at home surrounded by his family.  He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Joan Marie Paone. The couple married on October 4, 1975.


Born on March 12, 1933, he was the son of the late Ralph Kyzer and Ruth Mignerey.


A life-long resident of Hawley, Donald graduated from Hawley High School in 1951.  At the age of 16, he joined the PA National Guard.  Later, his unit was mobilized and he was taken out of school in his senior year and inducted into the regular Army, serving stateside during the Korean War as a 2nd Class gunner. He also trained recruits in small arms weaponry.


When Donald returned to Hawley, he began a 69-year career with Gumble Brothers Construction as a carpenter and later as foreman and architect.  He worked in all aspects of the building and management of commercial and residential construction. After his official retirement, he was asked to continue on part-time as a building consultant. He claimed that after working with three generations of  Gumbles, he felt like part of the family. Because of his expertise, Donald also frequently testified as an expert witness in court cases involving fraudulent or inaccurate construction claims. 


Donald was very involved in his hometown, donating his time because he loved and believed in the Hawley community.  In the ‘70s, when the Lutheran minister asked him to help form a Cub Scout troop, Don signed on, saying with a laugh, “I became a scout leader and a den mother,” noting that at first there were few adult volunteers. 


For 15 years, he was an advisor in the vo-tech program at WAHS with Ed Wargo, and was asked to be on the board of directors at Honesdale Catholic School (later St.Vincent’s Elementary) where his children attended school.


When his son joined the Hawley Little League team, Donald was asked to help coach, and the team enjoyed four successful years: winning championships the last two seasons.


He volunteered at the Ritz Company Playhouse where his daughters performed, spending his summers working the spotlight, building sets, and performing a bit when square dancing was involved.


Shortly after joining Queen of Peace Church, he became a member of the Knights of Columbus, later becoming a 4th Degree Knight, a Deputy Knight, and Grand Knight. He also served on the Green Gates Cemetery Board for nearly 45 years.


Donald was elected to the Hawley Borough Council and served the community for 25 years, most of that time as council President, working on various borough committees, especially those concerned with the restoration and revitalization of downtown Hawley,  the stormwater/flood mitigation project, the zoning hearing board, the restoration of the Bingham Park gazebo, and the building of a safe skating park and a new garage for town police cars. He especially enjoyed holiday events in town; decorating the park bandstand at Christmas and dressing up as Santa, so that local children could talk to him and have a free photo taken. Council members remember that Donald was on call 24 hours a day for the people of his hometown and brought them through floods, power outages, snowstorms, and so much more. He accepted everyone and tried to encourage them to give back to the community as well. 


Donald had no greater joy than his family and was a loving, devoted husband and father, actively supporting all of his children’s endeavors and patiently teaching them valuable life skills and community involvement. His children remember him as their role model, hero, and the strongest man in the world who could fix anything. Others will also remember his offbeat sense of humor and almost constant teasing.


Don is survived by his wife; son Anthony and wife Jasmine; daughters Elizabeth, Amy,

and Andrea; and sisters, Janet Singer and Sarah Manhart; 5 grandchildren; and 

2 great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ellen, son Harry, and sisters Helen Granville and Sally Roberts.

His family will receive friends on Tuesday, July 7th at Hessling Funeral Home, Inc., 428 Main St. Honesdale, 4 to 7.  A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at Queen of Peace Church in Hawley at a later date.  Interment will be in Green Gates Cemetery, Hawley.