Donald D. Davis of Hillsborough, NJ passed away at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Somerset on March 8, 2021 at the age of 88.
Don was born on May 25, 1932 at Presbyterian Hospital in Newark, New Jersey to Clarence Bernard Davis and Alice Frances Davis (nee Gaynor). He spent most of his childhood living on Snyder Street in Orange. Don was molded by the hardships of the Great Depression, and the early death of his father that greatly increased his sense of responsibility.
Don attended high school at St. Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, NJ graduating in 1951. Immediately afterwards he enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent three years in various parts of Korea with the 25th Infantry Division as a Radio Operator. He was honorably discharged as a Corporal in 1954.
Don attended Seton Hall University and graduated in 1957 with a B.S. in Chemistry. Don later went on to earn an M.S. in Chemistry with concentration in Physical Chemistry and Polymer Physics from Rutgers University in 1978.
On November 15, 1958 Don married Yu Kwen (Miriam) Lee, a Chemistry graduate from Caldwell University. Two weeks later Don was hired by Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill as a Physical Chemist. Don thoroughly enjoyed every day of his career at Bell Labs working alongside internationally renowned scientists. He worked in the field of fiber optics with the main mission of improving the quality and speed of data transfer through polymer-based fibers. This work by Bell Labs is foundational to today’s internet. In 1996 he retired from AT&T Bell Laboratories with 38 years of service as a member of the Technical Staff in Polymer and Organic Materials Research.
Don had many interests and devoted many hours to intellectual pursuits. He was an avid reader of history and biographies with a particular interest in the Civil War and World War II. (As a young boy during WWII, he kept track of military unit movements around the globe and was known to send in corrections to the Newark Evening News when they got it wrong.) In the evenings, Don spent many hours at his desk studying languages and doing advanced math for fun. He also taught himself folk guitar, took up ice skating, tried sky diving, maintained a large vegetable garden each summer, toiled endlessly over the house and yard, and kept the family cars immaculately clean and tidy, and equipped for any emergency.
Post-retirement, Don and Yu Kwen enjoyed a common interest in international travel. They embarked on many cruises and tours covering the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, China, Australia and New Zealand. In 2002 Yu Kwen suffered a stroke, and Don took care of her at home. During that time, he took over all household duties, and found joy in learning to cook and bake. Don took care of Yu Kwen at home for ten years until he just physically could not do it any longer.
During their marriage they lived in New Providence, Stirling, Gillette, and in 1965 purchased a brand-new home in Basking Ridge, which was their home for more than 50 years.
Don lived his life as a loving and dedicated son, brother, husband, father, and grandfather. Together with Yu Kwen, they promoted the values of education, hard work, loyalty, honesty and patriotism.
Don was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers-in-law, Domenic Falcone and Robert J. Vreeland, and his nephew Robert M. Vreeland. Don is survived by his wife, Yu Kwen (Miriam) Davis; his daughter Daretia Carmichael and son-in-law Dwight of The Woodlands, Texas, and grandchildren Stewart and Leah; and his daughter Danette Purkis and son-in-law Ray of Belle Mead, and grandchildren Emily and Ian; his sister Helen Falcone of Tinton Falls; and his sister Dorothy Vreeland of Cranford; and many nieces and nephews.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date as the pandemic situation allows. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests Memorial donations to Don’s favorite charities: SAVE Animal Shelter (https://savehomelessanimals.org/donate/) or The Salvation Army (https://www.salvationarmyusa.org).