Leroy Donald “Don” Aspenson passed away on April 11, 2022, at 79, surrounded by his family. His faith in God and love for his family and friends didn't end with his death. His recent years of medical challenges showed his true strength and his ability to tackle life's challenges head-on with a positive attitude. That strength and positive attitude will be carried on through his family.
Don was born Sept. 29, 1942, in Decorah, Iowa, to Adelaide and Donald Aspenson ‘42 and was raised in Ridgeway, Iowa, by his grandmother, Alice A. Hovden. He spent his primary education years in Ridgeway and then graduated from high school in Cresco, Iowa.
Don's love for learning led him to Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where he received a bachelor's degree in history and mathematics. Several years later, he obtained a master's degree in personnel management from Webster University in St. Louis.
Don met the love of his life, Marcia Parks, in Rochester, Minn. They married on Nov. 30, 1963, in Chippewa Falls, Wis. They had two children, Jack Parks Aspenson (Carolyn), born Dec. 12, 1965, and Donald Erik Aspenson (Karen), born May 25, 1967.
His love for his country led him to enter the United States Air Force on Jan. 2, 1964, where he began his career as a navigator and electronics officer. In 1969 he joined pilot training. That training afforded him the responsibility of flying several large aircraft, including B-52s, 141s, C130s, and C-5s. In 1970 and 1975, Don had the honor of flying rescue missions during the Vietnam War.
Don's military career allowed him to travel across the world. His assignments included Waco, Texas; Sacramento, Merced, and Vacaville, California’ Marquette, Mich.; Columbus, Miss.;, Wrightstown, N.J.;, Altus, Okla.; and Guam.
He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in April of 1985. The same month he began a 24-year career with Flight Safety Services Corporation and moved him and his wife Marcia to Littleton, Colo. Upon retirement in 2009, the couple moved to Tulsa, Okla.
Faith, family, and service to others were Don's priorities. He relished his time coaching his sons' baseball teams and teaching their Sunday school classes. He honored his faith in God in many ways, and volunteering and giving were part of his everyday life. He led Bible studies, taught Sunday school, built ramps for the disabled, cared for his church's many flower beds, and partnered with his wife as church youth group leaders.
Don spent many years volunteering with Meals on Wheels, the American Cancer Society, and as a pilot coordinator for Angel Flight, which provides free air transportation for passengers in need of medical care.
Later in his life, Don refused to let his Parkinson's diagnosis slow him down. Instead, it inspired him to learn about the disease and how to manage it. He attended therapeutic boxing classes at Rock Steady Boxing, traveled with his wife to visit friends and family, and continued his volunteer work.
Don's stature and personality commanded a room. He was a humble and natural leader respected for being a man of his word and his willingess to jump in and help, but most of all, for his love of his family. He was a loving husband, a wonderful father, and a beloved grandfather. He often talked of his family, and his love for them was apparent. All will greatly miss him.
Don was preceded in death by his parents, stepmother and stepfather, his beloved grandmother, grandparents, many aunts and uncles, and a cousin. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marcia (Parks) Aspenson, sons Jack (Carolyn) and Erik (Karen) Aspenson, his grandchildren, Erika, Morgan, Justin, Dain, Emma, Finn, and Beau, his siblings, Susan Gould, Dianne (Aspenson) Du Bose ‘72, Gary Aspenson ‘74, Jim Aspenson ‘76, Mark Aspenson, Janet Blessum, Debbie Gambrell, Greg Kilcher, Jan Kleve, and Julie Aspenson ‘77.
A service to honor Don's life was held April 25, 2022, at Schaudt's Tulsa Funeral Service Chapel.
The family suggests donations in Don's name be made to the America Cancer Society, Parkinson's research, or the charity of choice.
Don's family would like to thank Rock Steady Boxing and the coach and other parkies for six years of friendship and support, Doctors James Burelson, Mark Boomer, and Paul Zito, the Oklahoma Cancer Specialists and Research Institute and their amazing nurses and staff, and the staff at St. John's Hospital.