In Remembrance of Donald Eugene Teeters
27 July 1920 - 22 September 2008
Don started down life's path here in Michigan initially with Dow Chemical and used the money earned there to get a pilot's license and further his education. After earning a Master's degree in Chicago he taught aircraft instruments to military and civilian instrument technicians.
With the advent of World War II he joined the Navy and flew with VP 98 until it was disbanded and took his final discharge in the Far East. At that time seaplanes were his specialty and there was a growing need for such pilots in the Asian theater.
In August of 1949 Don married his one love in life, Stella Martinez Ducepec, in Rangoon. Although they never had children their home never lacked for the warmth of a fulfilled partnership.
Don joined CAT in its formative years and flew just about everything they had at the time and progressed up the ladder to become the Director of Aviation which encompassed CAT, SAT and Air America. My first dealings with Don came in 1964 as a new hire. At that time everybody was run through Taipei before being assigned to the various crew bases and got to meet the honcho s in the CAT house. My first impression was not favorable since Don smoked a pipe and this was a big no no in the high pressure world of executive selection; since it indicated a slow decision making ability.
The head shed decided that I would go to Tachikawa as a F/O on the DC-6 - and I thought that truly sucked and promptly told Don that this wasn't for me. His reply was that if I passed the Chinese ATR written he would give me a transfer to Saigon or Vientiane. At that time the Chinese were not happy with CAT since there had been a C-46 crash that had some mysterious causes and I think Don thought I would be stuck in the land of the rising sun. I proved him wrong and he kept his word and moved up several notches on my rating list.
The years went by and I worked with and for Don as an AMF in Saigon until transferring up to Vientiane in 1969. Then in the last throes of our presence in Laos Don came to Vientiane to fly the C-123.
At long last I would be giving Don training in the C-123 and really looked forward to showing this desk jockey a thing or two! Over the years I had checked out a lot of pilots for the company and had only run across one true natural stick and rudder pilot, Roger Vikre, however, Don became the second and last pilot of that strata that I would ever encounter in this lifetime. Following the war Don and Stella came back to Michigan and settled in a cozy home in Tawas, Michigan. Stella provided the joy in Don's life and her ability in the Great American Casino (Stock Market) provided for a comfortable lifestyle. Stella lived with lupus, a debilitating affliction, and never lost her bubbly charm - succumbing two days after Christmas in 1994. Don stayed in the home in Tawas and continued to hunt, fish and savor the memory of Stella until he too became infirm and moved to his family' s old farm near St Charles, Michigan to be closer to the few remaining relatives. On 22 September 2008 Don made his last flight into the sunset.