Donald Duane Wilkes

PALMDALE, Calif. – Survived by his wife, Debbie Wilkes, daughter, Deva Lacefield, son-in-law, Jason Lacefield, grandchildren, Caleb, Chloe, Nathan and Abbey Lacefield, mother-in-law, Nancy Lydick, siblings, Diana Guest, Darrell Wilkes and Dee Anderson. Preceded in death by his son, Dane Wilkes, grandson, Jacob Daniel, niece, Stacey, parents, Don and Doris Wilkes and father-in-law, Don Lydick.

Don and Debbie were married Sept. 27, 1970 in Torrington, Wyoming and recently resided together in Palmdale.

During his first year of marriage, Don found himself in a perilous situation in a grain silo. As he was quickly being suffocated, he cried out to God that if God would save his life, he would surrender his life to Jesus. God heard his prayer and spared his life. Shortly after, Don was baptized in a cold creek on the ranch. Don’s new life had begun.

Don received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Wyoming in 1974. He enlisted in the Navy in 1975, and continued onto officer candidate school in New Port, Rhode Island and graduated in 1977. He served on a Landing Ship Tank, which Don used to call a “Large, Slow Target.” His final duty was the communications officer on the recommissioning of BB62 New Jersey Battleship. After eight years in the Navy and earning a Master of Science in Systems Management at the University of Southern California in 1987, he went to work for Northrop on the B-2 Bomber. Don retired from Northrop Grumman after 31 years as the Chief Engineer for the last 10 years of his career. 

Don served on the deacon and elder board of Grace Chapel where they attended for the last 28 years. He regularly taught Sunday School and co-taught marriage classes with his wife. 

Don enjoyed archery, fishing, hunting, hiking, snorkeling, cruising, traveling to see God’s creation, and above all spending time with his family.

Don never met a stranger. He was a servant leader. Don could tell stories and jokes like no other. He was charming and enjoyed bringing a smile to your face and evoking laughter wherever he was. He loved his Lord above all, followed by his family and friends.

Don was a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle, a father, a father-in-law and a grandfather, which was his favorite title because the kids called him Musty for his mustache. He said, “There’s not another Musty.” He will be dearly missed.


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