CARBONDALE — Donald E. Lovejoy, 85, passed away peacefully on Mar. 8 at 4:25 a.m. in Carbondale Memorial Hospital with family by his side.
He was born Mar. 22, 1934 in St Louis, to Mary Clarice Qualls and Edward Lovejoy. He spent much of his youth living with his grandmother in Grand Tower, and his mother in St Louis where she worked. He attended Hadley Technical High School in St Louis.
The Mississippi River in Grand Tower was always fascinating to Don. As a child he loved sneaking over to play around the river. He would see the tow boats and barges go by and decided that was what he wanted to do. He worked on the river, mainly for Sinclair Oil and Mobil Oil, for 40 years working his way up to pilot in 1959 and Captain in 1961. He retired in June of 1994. On Aug. 3rd of 1954, he married the love of his life, Lorene Rains, in Hernando, Mississippi. They had two children, Dona and Alan.
For brief periods, Don pursued other career paths. Don and Lorene opened a Laundromat wash in Grand Tower and he purchased the Tower Rock Ferry which was a key link between Wittenberg, Missouri and Grand Tower, Illinois, enabling commerce of goods such as forest and agricultural products between the two. In addition, he acquired several farming properties near Grand Tower. He loved to help out in the fields when he could. During his time off, Don loved to hunt and fish with his buddies.
Don traveled extensively while his daughter was in the military, including several cruises (Hawaii, Alaska, and Panama Canal), and many countries throughout Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand. His favorite spot was Hawaii and he said you have to go a long way to find somewhere more beautiful than Hawaii.
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Due to illness, Don and Lorene moved from Grand Tower to Marion in 2009 to be closer to their children. They both hated leaving Grand Tower and missed visiting with their friends at home and at the local coffee shop. It wasn't long before they made new friends in Marion, which made it a little easier for them to live away from their hometown of many years. They continued to visit friends at Grand Tower, always with a stop to check on the Mississippi river, as much as possible.
Despite all his accomplishments, his children were his greatest joy. Dona served in the Air Force for 28 years, retiring as a Colonel. His son-in-law of 39 years, Arthur Hanley, served in the Air Force for 22 years and retired as a Lt. Colonel. His son, Alan Lovejoy, became a Certified Public Accountant and retired as a partner for the accounting firm Gray Hunter Stenn LLP in Marion.
Don is survived by his wife, Lorene Rains Lovejoy, residing in Marion, and his children Dona (Art) Hanley residing at Lake of Egypt and Alan Lovejoy residing in Marion. Also surviving are one step grandson, Aaron Hanley of Port Orange, Florida, and two step great grandchildren, Tiffany Hanley of Port Orange, Florida, and Jason Hanley of Greenville, Ohio, sister-in-laws Velma (Jim) Sumner of Grand Tower, and Judy (Herb) Heaton of Dorsey, Illinois, a niece, Karen Sheets of Edwardsville, and two nephews, Herb (Dawn) Heaton of Edwardsville, and Timothy Sumner of Ava, great nieces and nephews and several cousins.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Mary Clarice Qualls, and father Edward Lovejoy, maternal grandparents, Rufus and Margaret “Maggie” Qualls of Grand Tower and 10 aunts and uncles. He was also preceded in death by one step grandchild, Jason Hanley of Sudbury, Massachusettes.
He will be dearly missed. Visitation will be from 9-11 a.m. on Mar. 12th at the Grand Tower Methodist Church at 423 2nd St., followed by the memorial service at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Walker Hill cemetery in Grand Tower, with a meal following at the Grand Tower civic center.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Grand Tower Methodist Church, PO Box 46, Grand Tower, Illinois 62942.
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