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Donald Melvin Chronister
May 2, 1930 Nov. 27, 2009
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Donald Chronister, 79, of Merced, died Nov. 27. A memorial open house will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Donald’s home on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Donald was born on May 2, 1930, in Merced, the youngest child of Jesse Fayette Chronister and Gladys May Callahan, along with his sister, Arlee and brother, Jesse. Growing up during the Depression era helped mold Donald’s lifelong endearing frugality (and maybe his choice of economics as a course of study). After graduating high school, he earned a degree in economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.
After graduation from college, Donald married Patricia Ann Foster in Las Vegas on Jan. 12, 1952. The following year he was drafted into the Army and served two years in Germany as a military policeman. Upon discharge from the service, he began a rewarding and innovative teaching career in Los Angeles that spanned the next 33 years until his retirement.
Donald remained close with Arlee and their families enjoyed alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations every year. Don was a wonderful father to Marcia, Eric, and Karyn and a caring grandfather to his three grand children, Austin, Sarah and Aaron. He was an inspiration to all. Donald’s sense of humor, compassion, and understated confidence gave him a unique charisma.
In 1994, Donald moved back to his hometown of Merced and reconstituted many of his childhood friendships, including the revival of his high school poker game after a hiatus of 40 years. He was quick to make friends with neighbors and for many years hosted a neighborhood July 4th barbecue. He had a love of people that showed in the affection and loyalty that he engendered with his friends and neighbors.
Daddy, we miss you.
Services under the direction of Allen Mortuary. Please share your memories at