Charles Donald McGuigan, Jr. passed away on May 8, 2013 at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley, California. He was 88 years old.
A memorial celebration of his life will be held at 1:00 p.m. July 27, 2013 at Grass Valley United Methodist Church.
Don was born October 6, 1924 in San Francisco, California, to Charles and Mattie (Hamilton) McGuigan, Sr. The family moved to San Leandro, California, in 1940. He graduated from San Leandro High School in 1942, the first graduating class of the World War II era.
He volunteered for service in the United States Air Force in November 1942. After completion of his training, he served in the Central Pacific Theater as a lieutenant and pilot of B-24 bombers, flying missions mostly from Guam. His crew led the squadron’s flight on D-Day on Iwo Jima. He and his crew were en route back to the U.S. for rest leave when the war ended, and he was discharged in December of 1945.
He married Wanda (Jackie) Pipes on October 28, 1945, and they were happily married for 67 years. They were the proud parents of three children: Patrick Grady McGuigan of Fort Collins, Colorado; Daniel Kerry McGuigan, who is currently living and teaching in Mongolia at the International School of Ulaanbaatar; and Lauren Gaye, who died in early childhood.
Following his World War II service, he worked first in his parents’ hardware store in Temple City, California, then at Clayton Manufacturing Company in El Monte, California, as a district sales manager. At age 38 he decided to go to college and become a school teacher because of his love of working with young people, both in Little League and Boy Scouts as well as church youth groups. He graduated from Fullerton State College and received his secondary teaching credential.
The family moved to Nevada County, California, in 1967, where he began his 20-year career with the Grass Valley School District, teaching eighth grade social studies and the U.S. Constitution. The family has been active in Grass Valley United Methodist Church, leading many youth group activities and work trips.
He is survived by his wife, Jackie; two sons, Patrick and wife Carol McGuigan and Daniel and wife Kathy; a sister, Jean Ellsworth and husband Brad of Cabool, Missouri; four grandchildren, Jason and wife Michell, Megan McGuigan, Kerry Gillette and husband Marcus, and Michael McGuigan; three great-grandsons, Justin, Jeremy and Joshua; five nieces and nephews, Jim Ellsworth, Bret Ellsworth, Brian Ellsworth and wife Carolyn, Jeanine Brill and husband Stephen, and Juliet Vonallmen and husband Jason.