Donald Robert Humphreys was born in Swampscott, MA on March 20, 1923, to Francis Henry Humphreys and Ethel Louise (Berry) Humphreys.
Don, as he was called, graduated with the Swampscott High School class of 1940. On December 8, 1941, one day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Don signed up for the U.S. Marine Corps.
He reported for duty in January, was trained as an aircraft mechanic, and was sent to the South Pacific Theater, spending 6 month on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands before moving to other tactical assignments. He returned to the states in May, 1944, as a Master Sargent, and married Ruth Treat of Marblehead, and began their Married life together at the Marine Air Station, El Toro, CA. Don was transferred to Navy Flight Training in January, 1945, and had just earned his pilots wings when the war ended.
Don stayed in aviation, first as a mechanic, then as a pilot for the next 20 years, flying for MIT Flight Research, Northeast Airlines, Seabrook Farms Frozen Food Corp., the U.S. Government, California Eastern Airlines, and selling Cessna aircraft. He was inducted into the pilots prestigious Quiet Birdmen Club, and became the second most senior member of the Boston Hanger.
He and Ruth spent twenty years living in Topsfield , MA, while their children went to school, then moved to Marblehead, where Don left flying and joined United Shoe Machinery Corp., ending his career there as Manager , Marketing of the Harmonic Drive Division. to which he left 8 patents issued for various applications submitted by him. Don then invented a new way to shape and balance hockey skates, was issued the first of several patents , and started his own company, Custom Radius Corporation, which he ran until retirement. Custom Radius Corporation was the largest designer, Manufacturer, and purveyor of ice skate care and equipment in the country. During all these years, Don was also a contract employee, both overt and covert, of a specialized agency of the U.S. Government and received 2 awards for his service.
During his life, Don joined and served with several charitable and/or community organizations, including the Topsfield Rotary, where he was president and received a Paul Harris Fellowship, the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA where he was a Commodore from 1987-1988, the Philanthropic Lodge in Marblehead where he became a 32 Degree Mason, the Marblehead Rotary Club where he received his second Paul Harris Fellowship, two banks as a Corporator (Eastern Bank for 15 years and Marblehead Savings Bank for 11), and the Marblehead Men’s Luncheon Club, also known as the “Romeos.” He also contributes to the North Shore Medical Center’s capital improvements and patient support programs.
Don was a devoted Marine, hosting the three dozen Marine Corps’ support personnel during the USS Constitution’s visit to Marblehead in 1997, overseeing the creation and maintenance of the Marine Corps Cunningham Memorial and its lovely waterfront park in Marblehead since 1998, hosting “Tun Tavern” ( named for the birthplace of the Marine Corps), a Post –Wardroom Club group of 10-20 seasoned veterans who met monthly at his home for more than 10 years, and initiating and organizing the first Marine Corps Aviation Centennial celebration in 2012, one of the most memorable weekends in recent Marblehead history.
In 2010, at the age of 87, Don passed the exhaustive FAA Flight Physical examination and took 6 additional hours of flight training to get his pilot’s license reinstated, then flew several times over Marblehead to photograph his favorite town. He was named “Person of the Year” by Marblehead Chamber of Commerce in 2011.
Don’s wife Ruth predeceased him in 1996, as did his sister Louise Emily (Humphreys) Legro. Don is survived by his son Richard Charles Humphreys and his wife Darlene of Alton Bay, NH, his daughter Cynthia Louise Humphreys of Marblehead and his longtime love and companion of almost 18 years, Lili Rowen of Marblehead.
A celebration of Don’s life will be held on Tuesday April 29, 2014, from 5 PM to 8 PM at the Boston Yacht Club, 1 Front St., Marblehead, MA 01945.
In Lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Scholarship Fund, Marblehead Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1008, Marblehead, MA 01945. For online guest book or additional information please call 978 744 0497 or visit www.MurphyFuneralHome.com.