Don Paul Park


Don Paul Park,


(12-10-1914 to 09-04-11)

Passed away peacefully in San Diego, CA at the age of 96. Don was born in Frankfurt, Indiana.  His parents, Nellie June Coverdale Park and Joseph Milton Park, relocated to Glendale, California several years later, where his father became Labor Editor of the Los Angeles Times.  Don attended Hoover High School and became the first Student Body President.  His older brother, Charlie was Student Body President of rival Glendale High School and went on to become Sports Editor of the Mirror and Los Angeles Times newspapers.


During the Depression, Don dug ditches, then joined the Merchant Marine after high school and sailed west.  Upon returning to Glendale he received his Associates Degree in Philosophy and English at Glendale College.  He met his partner for life, Mary Katherine Vandiver, while consuming a candy bar and soft drink early in the morning.  She was aghast but married him anyway on April 24th 1937. They shared 69 years together.


Don went to work for Los Angeles Merchant and Manufactures Association where he honed his public relations and sales career skills. Prior to World War II and while studying at UCLA, he joined the Navy’s intelligence community as what is now popularly known as an NCIS agent.  Stealth, intrigue and storied assignments followed with hidden smoke bombs, cameras, even a pen shaped revolver.


With the war’s arrival, Don was sent to Harvard and Princeton where he received his commission as an Ensign with communications and intelligence specialties.  Following Florida training, he was deployed to the South Pacific in Melbourne, Australia, Cebu and the Solomon Islands where he monitored and delivered highly classified communications.  Two children arrived shortly after the war, Marianna Eileen (who goes by Amber) in 1945 and Patrick Joseph in 1948. 


Don was recalled to active duty during the Cuban missile crisis, and remained in the Naval Reserve for a total of 24 years, ultimately achieving the rank of Commander.  Returning to Glendale, he again worked for the Merchants and Manufacturers Association where his sales career flourished.  Don & Mary built their first home in Glendale, and shortly afterwards he joined KIEV 870 AM on the radio dial, where he worked until 1955.  They relocated to La Canada and built their second home. He joined the CBS television network KNXT Channel 2 as an Account Executive, a position he held for over 30 years.  Don was praised by Governor Jerry Brown during his first term in office as being the fairest person for media advertising coverage in LA.


Retiring from CBS in 1985, Don continued to do advertising consulting work.  His Navy medals and campaign awards included the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, American Campaign, American Defense, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Navy Service Medal (20 years), Naval Reserve Sea Service Ribbon and Philippine Liberation Award.

Don enjoyed tennis, painting, photography, playing the clarinet, barbecuing and travel. He possessed a great sense of humor.  His wife Mary, of 69 years, predeceased him in July of 2006.  Their daughter, Amber, resides with her husband in Soquel, CA and their son Patrick lives in San Diego.  He is also survived by five grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.  Don's Memorial Service will be held at All Hallows Catholic Church in La Jolla -  6602 La Jolla Scenic Drive South, on October 17th at 11AM. Internment will follow at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma.  May he rest in peace.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Catholic Relief Services. For inquiries contact Patrick J. Park, 619-813-8233




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