Donald J. DeBona Sr., a captain in the Navy Reserve, died of cancer at his home in Glen Meadows Retirement Community, Glen Arm, MD, on November 17, 2019. Capt. DeBona was 92 years old.
To plant a memorial tree in honor of Donald Joseph DeBona Sr., please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
Born in the Bronx, Capt. DeBona grew up there and later moved with his parents, Joseph and Rose DeBona, and younger brother Gerald, to New Rochelle, NY. At age 17 he left his first semester of college in June 1945 to join the U.S. Navy during World War II. He served for one year as a seaman apprentice and was honorably discharged from active duty in June 1946.
Capt. DeBona graduated from St. Francis College in Loretto, PA with a bachelor's degree in sociology. In 1951, while attending graduate school at New York University, Capt. DeBona was recalled to active duty by the Navy. He was accepted for Navy Officers Candidate School and was commissioned as an officer in May 1952. Capt. DeBona left active duty in 1955 and joined the Navy Reserve. He was an officer in the Navy Reserves from 1955–1987, ending his 42 year naval career with 18 years of distinguished service at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD.
Capt. DeBona is the widower of Joan DeBona. He married the former Joan Alice Flynn in 1954 in Miss Flynn's hometown of Port Washington, NY. He was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Mrs. DeBona worked as the first woman investment advisor for the Bank of New York in New York City.
After leaving active naval service, Capt. DeBona worked for Abbott Laboratories for 13 years selling pharmaceuticals. The DeBonas moved to Camden, NJ, Chester PA, Pittsburgh and eventually to Huntington, NY.
In 1969 Capt. DeBona accepted a job selling advertising for medical journals at Waverly Press/Williams & Wilkins, a publishing and printing firm in Baltimore, MD. Capt. DeBona, by now the father of one son and three daughters, moved with his family to Towson, MD.
Capt. DeBona worked at Waverly Press/Williams & Wilkins for 23 years, where he became a printing and publishing consultant and continued with advertising sales. In 1982 he was honored with the Camille Mermod Award from the American Medical Women's Association for the exceptional work he did with the association on the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association. Capt. DeBona retired in 1992 from Waverly Press.
After retirement Capt. DeBona became very active in volunteer work. He volunteered with the Baltimore County Republican Party for more then twenty years. He started a citizens crime prevention patrol program in his Towson neighborhood of Wiltondale and served as the groups director for years. He also joined the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, serving as the president of the Towson-Dulaney lodge. Capt. DeBona was a member of the Appian Society of Baltimore and a longtime and enthusiastic attendee of the Cockeysville (MD) Senior Center.
Capt. DeBona loved travel, hiking, visiting the National Parks, and enjoyed many whitewater rafting excursions including several in the Grand Canyon. He had many foreign travel adventures and greatly treasured the many trips to Italy with a group of friends who gathered in Italy every summer.
Capt. DeBona is survived by his brother Gerald DeBona of Vernon, CT; son Donald DeBona Jr. who lives near Asheville, NC; daughter Elizabeth McDonald of Glen Arm, MD; daughter Margaret DeBona of Takoma Park, MD; and daughter Carolyn Knowles of Austin, TX. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, a great-grandchild as well as five nieces and five nephews.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in Capt. DeBona's name to his secondary school, Mount St. Michael Academy (Annual Fund). Donations can be made online at Mount St. Michael Giving or mailed to: Mount St. Michael Academy, Institutional Advancement, 4300 Murdock Ave., Bronx, NY 10466.
An interment ceremony and celebration of life are being held for Capt. DeBona on Friday, January 3, 2020. The interment will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Maryland State Veterans Cemetery – Garrison Forest, 11501 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, MD 21117. The ceremony will be followed by a celebration of life at Eagle's Nest Country Club, 12801 Stone Hill Rd., Phoenix, MD 21131.