Wakefield Faculty/Staff Deceased: In Memoriam

Donald Louis Diffenbaugh
b: 6/13/1927     d: 3/9/2005

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Don Diffenbaugh MR. DONALD DIFFENBAUGH, U.S. & Va. Government; Y Council; BISA
Falls Church News-Press, Falls Church, Virginia, March 31 - April 6, 2005

Former Wakefield High Teacher Donald Diffenbaugh Dies at 77

Dr. Donald Louis Diffenbaugh, 77, a teacher at Wakefield High School for 33 years, died peacefully March 9 of Parkinson’s disease with his son John Diffenbaugh and care provider Vicky Morales at his bedside.

Dr. Diffenbaugh was born in Huntington, Indiana June 13, 1927.  He graduated from Huntington High School in 1945 and a week later enlisted in the Navy with his parents signatures on the enlistment papers.  He was not 18 for another week and in a hurry to join his two older brothers Robert and Richard already serving in the Army and Navy.  He served on a Navy ship during World War II, mainly in the Philippines, Leyte Gulf region.  After serving in the Navy, he received his Bachelor of the Arts from Huntington College in 1950.  He continued his education and earned a Masters of Arts in 1952 from Indiana University.  He then moved to Arlington, Virginia to pursue a career in teaching at Wakefield High School and to be near the center of politics, Washington D.C.

He started at Wakefield High School in 1954 as an English and Social Studies teacher, but spent a majority of his tenure teaching AP Government Studies.  He played saxophone and clarinet in several dance bands including “The Rhythm Rockets”, “The Harmoniers”, and “The Sonny Hawthorn Band”, and performed on weekends at The Nightingale and Hillbilly Heaven in Alexandria, Virginia for about twenty years.  He was a member of the Musicians’ Union and later set up his own combo using student and teachers at Wakefield High School.  He took a sabbatical leave in 1962-1963 for a teaching fellowship at George Washington University and began work on his PH.D earning a Master of Philosophy in 1970 and then his Doctor of Philosophy in 1973.

After retiring from Wakefield High School in 1987 he remained in his home in Baileys Crossroads until his death and lived at his home for 42 years.  During retirement he spent his time attending dances, playing tennis, going to garage sales, auctions, and refinishing furniture (especially old trunks and frames).  He also worked with his son in contracting and construction, and helped build townhouses in the Harpers Ferry, West Virginia area.  He was delighted to run into former students and received phone calls from them and was very proud of his students accomplishments.

His marriage to Shiela Diffenbaugh ended in divorce.  His survivors include: his son, John Stuart Diffenbaugh of Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia; his daughter, DeLee Ann Yaukey of Germantown, Maryland; his Granddaughter Claudia Ann Diffenbaugh of Bailey’s Crossroads, Virginia; Brothers, Robert Henry Diffenbaugh of Huntington, Indiana and Richard Max Diffenbaugh.

Burial for Don Diffenbaugh will be at Arlington Cemetery Monday, April 4, 2005 at 9:00 a.m. with a military ceremony.

Viewing will be Friday, April 1, 2005 at 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at Everly Funeral Home, 6161 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia, phone number 703-532-5161
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Another obituary in The Washington Post

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obDiffeD2000.jpg (46596 bytes)

Dr. Donald L. Diffenbaugh (1928-2005)

for an esteemed member of the Wakefield Faculty and loyal
supporter of the Wakefield Class of 1960


This page was last modified 22 August 2012
2010-2012 Wakefield Class of 1960 and Wakefield H.S. Education Foundation (information@wakefieldalumni.org)