Donald Joseph “Don” Pesmark, 81, of Topeka, passed away Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
He was born January 19, 1941, in Menominee, Michigan, the son of Peter and Sabie (Holda) Pesmark. He graduated from Menominee High School in 1959 as both class president and valedictorian. He obtained his bachelor’s in science degree at the Air Force Academy. In January 1961, Don marched as a cadet at JFK’s inauguration. JFK would later address Don’s graduating class on June 5, 1963. Following graduation, Don trained on the Northrop T-38 Talon jet aircraft and shortly after earned Top Gun status.
Don served in the Vietnam War based in Thailand. He flew the Sikorsky HH-3E nicknamed the “Jolly Green Giant” and would later serve as helicopter flight instructor for the USAF from 1965 to 1969. Don was honorable discharged with rank of Captain. He would later obtain several Master’s Degrees from The University of Kansas.
He served as the Personnel Director at the Kansas State Hospital and later at the Kansas Highway Patrol where he retired. He then went back to work at Home Depot retiring after 10 years.
Don was a member of V.F.W. Post No. 1650 and American Legion Capitol Post No 1.
Don married Gail V. Sadler on September 25, 1965 in Reno, Nevada. She survives. Other survivors include his children, Ellarie (Matthew) Langdon and Dan (Brenda) Pesmark; siblings, Lorraine (Bob) Kudwa, Chester (Tobie) Pesmark, and Margaret (Mark) Johnson; and three grandchildren, Brenna Langdon, Devin Pesmark, and Ellise Langdon.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Pat and Robert Pesmark.
Don had a green thumb and enjoyed gardening and yard work. He also had a love of quantum physics and enjoyed every moment with his grandkids.
Private family graveside memorial services with military honors will be at Memorial Park Cemetery, Topeka. Memorial contributions may be made to the V.F.W. Post No. 1650, 3110 SW Huntoon St., Topeka, KS 66604.
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