Don R. Felix passed away suddenly on Thursday, May 26, 2022 from Ascension Day.
Born August 21, 1938, to Norbert and Edna (Gray) Felix, Don was the second of seven children. Farm boy, having grown up along the shores of Lake Ontario, Don loved to fish, explore and share stories of bike rides from the pier in Olcott, NY. He was affectionately nicknamed “Butch” by his family and friends.
Don was a 1957 graduate of DeSales High School in Lockport. After high school, he served honorably in the United States Naval Reserve. While working full time, he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education and an advanced administration certificate from Buffalo State College. His career as an elementary educator included teaching at Lewiston-Porter in Youngstown and Maple Elementary, then serving as vice-principal at Heim Elementary in Williamsville. In 1974, Don accepted the position of primary school principal at the Central School in Warsaw. He was a highly respected principal for over 20 years, retiring in 1994. After a short break, Don was invited to become principal of St. Michael’s Catholic School in Warsaw, where he served for another 5 years .
Don had an inquisitive mind, loved nature, and was always interested in learning something new. He was a dedicated statistician who enjoyed tracking and recording the weather, studying maps, and calculating miles per gallon on family trips. April found him preparing and welcoming the purple swallows as they returned to their nesting gourds on the dock of his beloved cottage on Chippewa Bay. He shared his passion for fishing with his family and was never upset when his son raided his tackle box.
Don was a talented carpenter who created beautiful furniture. His table saw often served as a family alarm clock on Saturday mornings. After retirement, he became an accomplished wood turner and graciously shared his projects, including hardwood bowls, pepper mills, pens and shoe horns.
Don loved tinkering in the basement and was good at fixing almost anything with bungee cords, zip ties and wooden wedges. If it couldn’t be fixed with these items, it wasn’t worth keeping.
A longtime member of the Perry Rotary Club, Don received the club’s highest honor, the Paul Harris Award, in 2016. He was also a member of St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Warsaw, where he “often listened better” with his eyes closing. Don was a church administrator and a member of the parish council. He was a member of the Pembroke Woodturners Guild and volunteered at the Humphrey Nature Center in Letchworth State Park.
Don will be remembered as calm and humble, slow to anger and quick to forgive and forget. These qualities served him well as a manager for over 25 years. As family friends recently said, Don ‘always put the wind in his sails’ and has been described as ‘one of those old-fashioned guys from the old generation that they don’t make anymore’ .
Don’s greatest passion, however, was spending time with the light of his life, Maureen, whom he married on a snowy day in December 1963. They traveled the world together and raised their family in Warsaw.
Don was predeceased by his parents, two siblings and most recently by his eldest daughter, Lisa T. Felix, whose hand he held until the very end in 2020. Don is survived by Maureen , his beloved wife of over 58 years; daughter, Shauna (Jerry) Andres of Hayden, Idaho; son, Matthew (Kristen) Felix of Warsaw; and his 5 favorite grandchildren, Hunter, Cole and Maddie Andres and Mitchel and Lukas Felix; brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and lifelong friends.
A Christian funeral mass will be held on Friday, July 8 at 10 a.m. at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Warsaw. Light refreshments will follow. Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorials may be made to St. Michael’s Church (171 North Main Street, Warsaw, NY 14569), the Perry Rotary Foundation Inc. (PO Box 339 Perry, NY 14530), and the Wyoming County YMCA Scholarship Program Fund (115 Linwood Ave. Warsaw, NY 14569). Condolences online at www.robinsonandhackemer.com.