Donald Huntoon Stires, Sr. of Far Hills, New Jersey passed peacefully at home on Friday evening at the age of 92. Don was a devoted husband to Blanche Bergen for 69 years and together they raised seven children in Somerville, NJ, where Don founded several businesses and served his community.
Don and Blanche met at Somerville High School. Enlisting in the Navy at age 17 during the closing months of World War II, Don served as a landing craft coxswain aboard USS George Clymer at the 1946 Bikini Atoll atomic tests as part of Operation Crossroads. After receiving an honorable discharge, Don graduated from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA and started his career as a civil engineer eventually becoming the Somerset County Engineer for 11 years then transitioning into the Civil Defense Coordinator. In 1952, he founded Pave-Rite Inc. and in 1955 Donald H. Stires Associates, both of which are still in operation today. Over the years, Don hired countless employees, many of whom he considered to be extended family including Speedy and Danny.
Don and Blanche always made time to have fun; traveling and spending time down the shore in Bay Head, NJ or enjoying their community in North Palm Beach, Florida. They loved playing golf and tennis and Don was an avid swimmer well into his 90s. Whenever possible, Don was on one of his boats with Blanche, his kids, or his friends. He was also an avid fan of sports and hosted many meals for his kids’ teammates as part of the Somerville Quarterback Club. His specialty was pancakes.
Don proudly served his community as President of the Somerville Board of Education, President of the Somerset Valley YMCA, founding member of the Somerset County 200 club, a member of the Raritan Valley Lodge #46 Free and Accepted Masons, and a member of the Somerset Medical Center Board. As a member of the Somerset County Jaycees, Don was involved in helping establish the Somerset County Park Commission. Additionally, Don’s faith called him to be Elder and Deacon of United Reformed Church in Somerville, President of the Bay Head Chapel, and a board member of his church in Florida.
Don is survived by his loving wife, Blanche, his children Don Stires, Jr., Kim Stires (Pat), Lori Teixeira (Richard), Pete Stires (Cathy), Todd Stires (Denise), David Stires (Allison), and Craig Stires (Amy). Don also is survived by 20 grandchildren and a growing number of great-grandchildren.
A celebration of his life to be held in the fall. Contributions can be made in his memory to: JDRF.org & CancerSupportCNJ.org