Donald Verne  Stanley, Jr.
Donald Verne Stanley, Jr.

February 21, 1936 - October 2, 2017
Born in Grover, Colorado
Resided in Centennial, Colorado
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Obituary

Donald Verne Stanley, Jr.
February 21, 1936 - October 2, 2017
Age: 81
Residence: Centennial, CO

Donald Verne Stanley, Jr. 81, passed away October 2, 2017, in Centennial, CO.

Don was born February 21, 1936 in Grover, CO, to Donald 'Verne' and Ruth Stanley of Keota, CO. When Don was seven a tumor was found on one of his lungs. The operation to remove the tumor remove much of that lung. He spent three months at Children's Hospital and National Jewish Hospital in Denver, CO during this time. Don shared many memories and tales of growing up in northeast Colorado, with his cousins and extended family. Don was married to Marlene Ann Harding of Briggsdale, CO in 1955, they divorced in 1982. In September 1957, Don started work at the Martin Company (which later became Martin Marietta, then Lockheed Martin) in Jefferson County, CO. He remained there until his retirement over thirty years later. During his years at Martin, he worked on the Titan Missle, the Mars Viking project and the early years of the Space Shuttle. In 1997 Don married Ruth Ellen Havens, and they lived in Centennial, CO. Don and Ruth were married 20 years. Don enjoyed woodworking, gardening, hunting, fishing, and traveling. He was a perfectionist, which was evident in any task or project he undertook. Don and Ruth traveled across the country and into Canada in their RV, to may different locations. On one trip they spent time in Arizona, and went to Colorado Rockies spring training games. In his later life, Don's health issues required him to be on oxygen, but that did not deter him from enjoying his favorite past-times.

Don is survived by his wife Ruth Stanley of Centennial, CO; children, Linda Stanley and wife Paula Scougal of Littleton, CO, Dawn Gardner of Lakewood, CO, Lori Hebberd and her husband Craig of Golden, CO, Angela Correll and husband Mike of Aurora, CO, Danielle Partain of Ashland WI, Jennifer Gamble of Denver, CO; brother, Victor Stanley and his wife Julie; 11 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, and sisters, Mary 'Eleanor' Stanley , Margaret Elleda Tracy, and Ruth Joann Clevenger.

Viewing at Horan and McConaty 5303 E County Line Rd, Centennial, CO, from 6:00pm - 8:00pm, October 10, 2017. Funeral Mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Parish, 8035 S Quebec St., Centennial, CO, viewing at 10:30am, service at 11:30am. Burial after the service at Seven Stones Cemetery, 9635 N Rampart Range Road, Littleton, CO.

Donations to Children's Hospital, Denver, CO and National Jewish Hospital, Denver, CO.

Please share memories of Donald and condolences for his family by signing the guestbook below.

Below is the eulogy that was given at Mass by his daughter Jenni:

Don Stanley was not only an amazing man, but he also was an incredible Papa, father, friend to many and an amazing husband to my mother, Ruth Stanley. He faced struggles throughout his life, starting at a very young age. At the age of 7, it was discovered by the amazing doctors at Children's Hospital and National Jewish Hospital, that he would have to lose one lung. This was in 1943, and he was between these two hospitals for 3 months, basically by himself, except for other patients. His parents would come visit as much as possible, but at that time, transportation was difficult, especially from the Keota area. His parents would try to get a ride into Denver, but that was not always possible, with their visits sometimes lasting up to 3 weeks apart. But in true Papa form, he persevered and recovered. He went on and ended up graduating as Valedictorian of his High School class. He then went on to college at CSU , which at the time was Colorado A & M. He didn't get the chance to graduate from college however, due to being hired on to work for Lockheed Martin, even without a degree. That right there was the proof of the ingeniousness that Papa Don Stanley always joked around about. Turns out he was right; by quickly becoming a rocket scientist, working on rocket ships and other amazing projects. He worked along with NASA in Titusville, Florida as well as in Lompoc, California; building rockets among many other incredible projects, including the 1st Mission to Mars.

My dad, Don, taught me many things. Of course, some of them through tough teenage lessons, which I will take the blame on, as we all would in our teenage years. Once we overcame that however, we had a bond that kept growing. He then showed me so many things, and taught me critical life lessons, for which I am forever grateful. This was so important to me because I had become a young mother, and there Papa was, ready to be called Papa again, this time by his newest grandson. He was an amazing teacher to all of his grandchildren, from teaching them about woodworking to gardening, and letting all of us know to never tell them they were anything more than ordinary. He meant it with love and it's been a long running family joke for years.

Since his passing, I had the chance to hear many incredible stories, from various people who's lives had been impacted by Papa's. Papa was a man who contained a wealth of knowledge, and many people; including friends, family and neighbors alike went to him for questions and advice. He shared that knowledge with the many questions answered, and solved many problems, with his passion of teaching and sharing his genius, with everyone who needed it. Neighbors were very fond of him and his wealth of knowledge that he loved to teach and share. Little did he know, he built a reputation around the neighborhood as the go to guy. He was sort of like the Dad of the neighborhood, even if he was older, younger, the same age, or any other life differences, it didn’t matter; for he was always the one who had the answers. Yet another perfect example of Don's genius mind.

He taught me so many important lessons that I've been so grateful for. One sticks out in particular and that's how Papa kept documents of everything. He taught me to always keep a paper trail; by documenting phone calls, certain situations, who you spoke to and everything else of importance. As his family, we often teased him about his lengthy notes of phone calls and even him writing everything and anything that happened during hospitals stays. But by him always doing this, he instilled it's importance of keeping records into my brain, and I started following his example, which has ended up helping me in many ways.

My dad, Papa Don, could be very stern at times, but he also taught us to fight for what was right. He had unwavering morals and ethics that taught us to not back down from someone doing you wrong or trying to take advantage of us, especially his girls. He loved his family deeply and kindly, although quietly in his own way.

Now that he has passed , and is out of pain, I've heard so many wonderful memories and stories that I will think about forever and cherish. His passing also made me realize something, about Papa and his ways. By him always telling his kids that not only our kids were "just ordinary" but we were too, I now understand what he meant. He was teaching us to always be humble and be grateful for everything, and ultimately we would end up being extraordinary, because you have to learn to fall before you can lead. Thank you Papa, for all your love and guidance. We are all a little more extraordinary today, to try to make up for you your genius mind, that is now at peace.

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Visitation
Horan & McConaty - County Line
5303 East County Line Road
Centennial, CO US 80122
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Funeral Mass
St. Thomas More Catholic Church
8035 South Quebec Street
Centennial, CO US 80112
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
11:30 AM