Don was killed in Viet Nam in 1971.
Edward A Peters
From the Vietnam Virtual Wall
I grew up with Don Wentz. I lived across the street from him ... we spent many hours together playing football, basketball, baseball, and wiffle ball. He was, without a doubt, the nicest person I have ever met. That is not surprising given how nice his parents were.
When Don was in Vietnam, I was working at Ford Motor Company in Cleveland, Ohio. I remember writing to him and saying that I was working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. He wrote back from Vietnam to tell me that my schedule sounded pretty good compared to what they were going through.
When growing up Don's favorite somg was "Duke of Earl."
When Don was in Vietnam, my brother was also there as a Company Commander in the 1st Infantry Division. That was the same division as Don, but my brother was in a different location. My mother (a former Army officer, as was my father) always kept a lookout through her living room window for the Army car that might arrive to tell her bad news about her son. One day it happened. She saw the Army car pull up and park right in front of our house. She told me she felt absolute dread as the two men got out. But then they walked across the street to Don's house. My mother said that her dread immediately turned into intense sorrow for Don and his parents.
In 1970 I entered the Army as an officer and spent 2 1/2 years. I thought of Don every one of those days. In fact I still think of him almost every day - not just today, Memorial Day, 2003.
Linda Hansell (Regnery)
You are so right about Don. He was really a nice fella. I was saddened to hear of his death at one of the reunions. When I was in D.C. I went to his name on the wall and it gave me chills.Thanks for posting that story.
Linda Hansell Regnery
How sad it is that anyone have his/her life cut short before they have an opportunity to reflect on decades of memories. I think often of our classmates who are no longer with us. I remember Donny as unique among us at Manoa. Not only because he would order peanut butter and jelly sandwiches everyday, but because he was kind to, and thoughtful of, others way beyond his years. "Pushing the buttons" of classmates was simply not part of his persona. Don and I had our draft interviews at the 69th Street recruitment center on the same day.
Cynthia G Marshall
I believe Donald was in one of my classes during our years in HHS. I did not know him too well but was greatly saddened to hear of his death in Vietnam. I do remeber reading of it in the Main Line times during a visit home, I think and was unbelieving and greatly saddened.When I visited the Wall in DC, I looked for his name, but not being sure of his dates, I did not find it. The posts here allow me to remeber again a young person that I knew only a little but know I would have enjoyed knowing better.
Some of us still travel there everyday... I visit Don as I visit the others, not always by name and face as I knew but a few... We don't talk, merely stare at each other for a few seconds. Oft times there is an exchange of a smile, some times a wince of pain, but always a recognition in our eyes.
Stu Goldman, Petty Officer 3rd, 5th DIV, BB 62, USN, Vietnam 1968-69
Don and I were best friends in Manoa Elementary School, we were constantly at each other's house and driving our parents crazy! We lost contact with each other in junior and senior high school but I remember my mother sending me a letter at college informing me of Don's demise. My mother called his mother and talked for several hours. Later when I moved down to Washington, DC, to live I visited The Wall and saw his name there. Don left us way too early in his young life but will remain in many of our thoughts for years to come.
Thanks to Ed Peters for posting for this moving tribute. We should all be so lucky as to have one like it.