Donald Parker DeMerritt

By on February 19, 2009

Donald Parker DeMerritt, 72, of Aurora, formerly of Big Rock, passed away following a 12-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease on Feb. 7, 2009, in Springfield, Mo. He was born Aug. 20, 1936, the son of John Parker and Anna Helen (Stewart) DeMerritt in Aurora.

Don grew up in Aurora on Pigeon Hill and attended local schools. He graduated from East Aurora High School in 1954. Following graduation, Don became an apprentice typographer for the Aurora Beacon before he was drafted into the United States Army. Before he went to boot camp, he married his neighborhood sweetheart, Sandra Bushor, in 1958.

He served his country from 1959 until his honorable discharge as a Staff Sergeant in 1961. Upon his return to civilian life, Don continued to work setting type for the Aurora Beacon for the next 40 years, retiring in September 1998. In later years, Don worked as a part-time realtor for Pilmer Realty in Plano.

Don and Sandra made their home in Aurora until 1972, when they moved to Big Rock.

Don was a long-time member, past president and recipient of the Fellows Award by the Big Rock Lions Club. He also was a faithful member and served as trustee and treasurer for the Big Rock English Community Congregational Church. Don held the office of Secretary Treasurer for the Aurora Trades and Labor and was the union representative for the Aurora Beacon News. He also served time as the President of the Chicago Progressive Club, which was a political party within the International Typographical Union, of which he was also a member.

Don, known to some in later years as “Papa,” had a special sly sense of humor which he only bestowed upon close family and friends, and was always accompanied by his “Archie Bunker” smile. Don was the oldest of six children and possessed an intellect that belied his years, which partly came from the numerous books and newspapers that found their way onto his path. His love of dogs began during his childhood, and his devotion to “man’s best friend” only grew throughout the years.

He now leaves two children, John DeMerritt and Kathleen (Isidro) Gonzalez, both of Aurora; five siblings, JoAnn Gately of San Clemente, Calif., Alan (Jan) DeMerritt of Coldwater, Miss., James (Betty) DeMerritt of Delray Beach, Fla., Patricia (Bill) Buss of Oakland, Ark. and Martha (John) Duy of Bitely, Mich.; two step-grandchildren, Melanie and Chris Gonzalez of Oswego; and one “adopted grandson,” Brian Gonzales of Aurora; many nieces and nephews, as well as a community of friends.

He now joins his wife, Sandra, and his parents who preceded him in death.

Visitation was held Friday, Feb. 13, 2009, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. Rev. Byron Henn, pastor of the Big Rock English Congregational United Church of Christ, officiated, and interment followed on Saturday, Feb. 14, at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Aurora.

A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the “Donald Parker DeMerritt Memorial” and sent in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn 60119. Tributes and memories may also be forwarded to the family through