Donald Oscar Laitinen May 8, 1925 - Jan. 2, 2019 SALINA, Kan. — Donald Oscar Laitinen, of Salina, Kansas, fell asleep in Jesus on the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019. His funeral will be held at St. Mark Lutheran Church, 2349 Ohio St., Salina, Kansas, at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 11, 2019. The presiding minister will be Pastor Jeremy Laitinen. His earthly remains will be laid to rest in Mt. Hope Cemetery, in Barre, Vermont, on Janury 16, 2019 at 11am. Hooker-Whitcomb Funeral Home is assisting with the burial. Visitation will be at the church from 10 until 11 a.m., prior to the service. Memorials may be addressed to Christ the Redeemer Lutheran Church, Barre, VT; St. Mark Lutheran Church, Salina, KS; or the Wisconsin Evangelical Synod designated for missions. Don is survived by his wife, Viola Laitinen; a sister, Jean (Henry) Neff, of Roxbury, Connecticut; four children Wayne (Carol) Laitinen, of New Ulm, Minnesota, Linda (Nick) DeNichilo, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, Joan (Dave) Kehl, of Hong Kong, and Wendy (Ken) Bailey, of Barre, Vermont; 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Donald was preceded in death by his parents Oscar and Marguerite (nee Goken); his first wife, Vera (nee Van Auken) (1991); a sister, Carolyn (Joseph) Calcagni (2008). Don’s earthly pilgrimage began in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 8, 1925. After graduation from William Henry Hall High School, West Hartford, in 1943, he served in the United States Coast Guard as a motor machinist’s mate on the destroyer escort USS Chambers until 1946. After military service, he graduated with an engineering degree from Hillyer College in 1948 (now the University of Hartford). From college, he was employed by Henry Reynolds building speculation homes. Donald married Vera Van Auken on Oct. 7, 1950. The Lord blessed them with four children. After the death of his first wife in 1991, Don married Viola Frost. He worked 16 years at Pratt and Whitney Aircraft in East Hartford, Connecticut. In 1970, he earned a master’s degree in industrial hygiene from the University of Michigan, specializing in respiratory diseases. Don worked at the Continental Insurance Co. in New York City until 1973 when he moved his family to Barre, Vermont, to work for the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Always a woodworker, Don spent many hours after work building his family’s first home, fashioning furniture, remodeling living spaces and volunteering as a handyman for projects at his church and for people in need. Throughout his life, he demonstrated a strong love for his country. Don was privileged to proclaim his Savior with words of encouragement and by serving in various church offices over the years. He imprinted on his family a love for their Savior, a deep appreciation of salvation by God’s grace alone and a desire for the heavenly glory which is ours only through Christ’s death and resurrection. To God be the glory! “For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain” - Philippians 1:21.

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