Donald W. Calabrese

08/13/1932 - 05/10/2023


Obituary For Donald W. Calabrese

Donald W. Calabrese, of Brevard, NC, passed away at home on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at the age of 90. Donald lived with Alzheimer’s for the last ten years of his life and was a brave example for many on how to embrace the steady progression of dementia and continue to live life fully. He never lost his dry wit and mischievous sense of humor.

Donald was born in Flushing, NY on Saturday, August 13, 1932, to the late Ralph J. Calabrese, Sr. and Bernice Peck Calabrese. Donald is also preceded in death by his son, Baby Boy Calabrese, who passed shortly after birth in 1964; and brother, Robert Johnson, and Robert’s wife, Wanda.

Donald received a Bachelor of Science in Ceramic Engineering from Alfred University, an honor and opportunity for which he was very proud. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Donald lived in Rome, NY, where he was an active member of the Elks Lodge. While in Rome, Donald had a rewarding and distinguished 34-year career as a Civilian with the U.S. Department of the Air Force as a Reliability and Failure Analysis Research Scientist.

Donald’s interests included photography, with his own dark room for developing film and printing photos. He was also a passionate cook who was proud of his Italian American heritage, and an avid gardener. Donald loved animals, especially his cats.

Donald is survived by his wife, Florence B. Calabrese; son, Russell Calabrese of Brooklyn, NY; daughters, Cindy Decker (Terry Decker) of Brevard, NC, Kelly Calabrese of Wendell, NC, and Whitney Zick (Brett Zick) of Knightdale, NC; grandchildren, Brielle Decker of South Roxana, IL, Eva Decker of Salida, CO, Elizabeth Richardson of Asheville, NC, and Ben Calabrese of Wendell, NC; great-grandchildren, Sophia Amedd and Kannon Riddle of Asheville, NC; and brother, Ralph J. Calabrese (the late Elsie Calabrese) of Webster, NY.

A joyful Memorial Ice Cream Social was held on May 23, 2023, at College Walk Senior Living Community, where Donald lived for the past 7 years. A private family service will be held at a future date. The family would like to thank the staff and residents at College Walk, Four Seasons Hospice, and Choice Care Your Way for their love and support of Donald.

In the spirit of honoring Donald’s love for animals and his cats, memorial contributions may be made in Donald’s memory by volunteering or donating to SAFE Haven for Cats in Raleigh, NC, Transylvania County Animal Services in Brevard, NC, Lollypop Farm in Fairport, NY, or the animal organization of your choice. Please click on the green links provided to donate.

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