Charles (Don) McGuigan passed away on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley. He was 88.
A memorial celebration of his life will be 1 p.m., July 27, at The Grass Valley United Methodist Church.
Don was born in San Francisco to Charles and Mattie McGuigan, Sr. He lived in San Francisco until the family moved to San Leandro, Calif., where he graduated from San Leandro High School in the first graduating class after World War II was declared.
He volunteered for service in The United States Air Force in November 1942 and 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 in Iwo Jima. He and his crew were en route back to the U.S. for rest leave when the war ended, and he was then discharged in December of 1945.
He married Wanda (Jackie) Pipes on Oct. 28, 1945, and they were happily married for 67 years. They were the proud parents of three children — Patrick Grady McGuigan of Fort Collins, Colo.; Daniel Kerry McGuigan, who is currently living and teaching in Mongolia at the International School of Ulaanbaatar; and Lauren Gaye, now deceased.
Following his WWII service, he worked first in his father’s hardware store in Temple City, Calif., then at Clayton Mfg. Co. in El Monte, Calif., as a district sales manager. He then decided to go to college at age 38 to 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 in 1967, where he began his career with The Grass Valley School District, teaching one year at Hennessey School and then for 20 years at Lyman Gilmore School, teaching eighth grade social studies and the U.S. Constitution.
He is survived by his wife, Jackie; sons Patrick (Carol) and Daniel (Kathy); grandsons Jason and Michael; granddaughters Megan and Kerry; and great grandsons Justin, Jeremy and Joshua.