Arlington—Donald Vern Gatchel, 82, passed away on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Arlington, Texas.
Memorial Service: Friday, March 31, 11 a.m. at Wade Funeral Home, 4140 W. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington, with inurnment at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
Don was born on March 9, 1935 in Kansas City, Missouri, to Clarence Gatchel and Jane Drennen. He grew up in a loving family with two younger brothers, Larry and Stan. After graduating from high school in Aurora, Missouri, he joined the U.S. Air Force and fulfilled his dream of becoming a pilot, achieving the rank of Lt. Colonel during his distinguished 21 years of service—flying missions all over the world, including two tours in Vietnam. He proposed to his high-school sweetheart, Marilyn Crook, the day he graduated from flight school, and they were married on February 25, 1956 in Topeka, Kansas. Don and Marilyn were married for 56 years until her death in October 2012. Together, they raised a family and provided their son and daughter with opportunities to see much of the U.S. and live in Europe for four years. After he retired from the military, Don settled in Arlington and opened several confectionery and gift stores. He was an avid gardener, devoted husband and beloved father.
Survivors: Son, David B. Gatchel of North Richland Hills; daughter, Melissa Gatchel-North, and husband, Don, of Arlington; grandson, Elijah North; brothers, Larry D. Gatchel and Stanley Gatchel, and wife, Bonny.
Wade Family Funeral Home