Donald Foster Newburn was born July 11, 1930 in St. Louis Missouri, one of six born to Israel and Ethel (Woodfin) Newburn. After a short illness, Don went home to be with the Lord on September 3, 2020 at 9:45am. At an early age, Don accepted Christ as his personal Savior. Don grew up in St. Louis, Missouri and later moved to San Antonio, TX where he received a BS from Palo Alto College.
Don entered the United States Air Force December 7, 1951. After eight weeks of basic training at Sheppard AFB, TX and successfully completing a Morse Systems Operator Course at Keesler AFB MS, Don shipped out on the USS Randall to Yokohama, Japan and served from February 1953 to July 1954. This began his 30-year long career in the United States Air Force in Security Service. This comprised of numerous tours of duty overseas including the Philippines, Japan, Germany, England, and service here in the United States at Texas and South Carolina air bases. Don gained the reputation as the “Headset Guy” after attending a General’s Staff Meeting. He was assigned to determine why the headsets were causing serious infections around the ears and temporal area. After numerous TDY (temporary duty travel) worldwide, Don and his team in conjunction with the Telex Earphone manufacturer identified and corrected the problem. Don was charged with making a video explaining the solution and it was dispensed to the command’s intercept units. His assignment to San Antonio resulted in him and his family putting down roots and buying a family home which served as their permanent residence. Like many Military families, Don’s assignments took him away from his family for long stretches at a time. Because he settled down in San Antonio, he was convinced his family was safe and secure. After over 30 years of uninterrupted honorable service, Don proudly retired December 31, 1981, as a Senior Master Sergeant in San Antonio, Texas.
After retirement, Don worked as an RV Salesman, the first black RV Salesman in San Antonio. If you knew Don, you would know that this job would highlight his excellent organizational, communication, writing, and people skills. After feeling content with his progress in such a challenging and grueling endeavor as RV sales, Don decided to shift gears and settled into the less demanding but just as serious world of school bus driving for the Northside Independent School District. After truly retiring, he and his dear wife Billie joined the RV community themselves, traveling around the United States in their RV. Don said he had served in so many places around the world that he wanted to see some of the wonders of the United States. And this he did.
Along with traveling, Don enjoyed fishing and building. As a self-taught carpenter, Don built numerous structures including decks, out buildings and construction upgrades for his friends and family members.
Left to cherish his memory is his wife of 40 years, Billie Jean Newburn, one of his five siblings, Pauline Thomas (Melvin), five daughters Denise Gobert, Christy Newburn, Avis Love (Floyd), Zana Hamilton (John the Baptist) and Celestine Shelton. Stepchildren Ray Washington, Ronnie Washington (Elisa), Deniece Cook (Ronny), Donell Washington (Demetria) and Michael Washington (Barbara). Grandchildren Alicia Gobert, Florian Love, Enjoli Miles, Reginald Miles, Jr., Brittany Beccia, and Elijah Shelton and numerous other grandchildren, and great grandchildren, along with a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends.
Due to the current Coronavirus pandemic, service will be private.
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