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Donald Wesley Sisson

Mar 08, 1916 - May 22, 2011

Donald Wesley Sisson

March 08, 1916 - May 22, 2011


Donald (Don) Wesley Sisson was born in Long Beach CA on March 8, 1916 and passed away at 95 in Mission Viejo, California on May 22, 2011. Don was astute, engaging, generous, provocative, energizing, playful, absolutely tuned to the details, devout in his faith and ready to try and learn new things!Don enlisted in the Navy in 1942 at the age of 25 and received training across various locations in the US in advanced Mathematics, Radar, and precision photography. As part of the VD 5 squadron, Don photographed the Japanese held islands in the South Pacific while flying over them in B-24's. These photographs were used to create 3 dimensional replicas for the Marine Captains to plan their raids. While living on Guam, he appreciated the diversity amongst the reefs, which inspired him to exercise the GI Bill to get his Bachelor's degree in marine zoology from USC, with later financial help from the Hancock Foundation he continued on to get his Masters. Don was recruited while at USC to join the FBI where he served in both Boston and Chicago.After he left the FBI, Don spent 14 years at North American Aviation, in overseeing the F108 Fighter Plane Armament, and the GAR9 Missile including its control systems. In the following years, Don became the Executive Director and later President of the Yorba Linda Chamber of Commerce. Don also served as the President of the Yorba Linda Rotary Club and subsequently President of the Orange County Chapter of the Former Special Agents of the FBI. When Don moved to Whittier, he volunteered at the Whittier police department. Don was instrumental in setting up a private alarm monitoring service in Whittier for homes and businesses at a local dispatch center. He worked with the dispatchers on setting up criteria of response and how to most efficiently interpret an alarm code and what to do about it. During that time, Don was very active in the Whittier Chamber of Commerce, being one of its most outstanding ambassadors and public relations icon. Don was present for every Chamber event and it was not uncommon for him to be center stage in some whacky costume, calling bingo, or drawing the winning raffle number. He was loved by members and staff alike and donated his time generously to the Whittier Chamber's growth and prosperity. One time at a chamber planning retreat in Palm Springs, after a grueling planning session, the group retired to the pool area for relaxation and libation. All of a sudden, here comes Don in a red and white stripped 1918 style one piece swimming suit, complete with full legs and top. He walked out and jumped into the pool in front of everyone. He brought down the house. In May of 1983, Don joined the Rotary Club of Whittier. Being a past president of the Yorba Linda Rotary club, Don knew the ropes of what Rotary should be and what needed to be done. He was active on many committees and would not shy away from participating in community projects, donations for causes, or get involved in a practical joke or two on his fellow Rotarians. In addition to his fun loving attitude, Don was very serious about the mission of Rotary. He gave generously to both local and international projects and felt it vitally important the work that Rotary does globally.In 1990, Don studied and passed the California real estate exam and became a licensed Realtor, working for Century 21 Cornerstone in Whittier. He had such a great rapport with people that he was promoted to Relocation Director. His responsibilities included traveling to seminars, conventions and shows and meeting with other representatives of other offices throughout the world and establish relationships with them. He then would give and take referrals from his contacts in order to maintain the business relationships and aid his clients in relocation projects from across the county to around the world. Don thoroughly loved this role and he had hundreds of friends all over the nation and everyone knew Don, 'the relocation guy'.As a creative outlet, Don took up painting at 50, the piano at the age of 80, and the computer at 90. After his heart bypass, Don indulged more frequently in writing as part of his passion for playing with language. Don wrote 'languages have always intrigued me.' He studied Latin, Spanish, German, Japanese and learned Tagalo(g) when he visited the Philippine Islands travelling with his wife and also more recently from his Filipino friends. He wrote autobiographical stories, took a stab a political commentary writing brief satirical essays, as well as provocative and tongue in cheek letters which were delivered on a variety of topics.Don met his wife, Flora Sisson at church and after a long courtship they were married in 1946. Don and Flora loved to travel. They travelled all over the world with a passion for cruises. Focusing on Europe and Asia, Don shared the most memories about Japan, as well as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and visiting with fellow Rotarians in Australia. Don's wife Flora Sisson passed away in 1999 and he eventually moved to Dana Point. Don was always a 'glass half full' kind of guy. Even when things were tough, Don would smile and find the 'silver lining' in any dark cloud. People always appreciated his optimism and his positive outlook. He spoke of graduating and getting his angel wings soon, and he remained playful and devout right up to the day he closed his eyes for the last time.In lieu of flowers, if you would like to contribute to his niece's scholarship fund in Don's memory, please make your check payable to 'Donald Sisson' and mail it to Curtis Crosby at White-Emerson noting that the funds will be applied directly to her college for tuition support. Don has thoroughly enjoyed watching Ashlee Jaco grow up into a thoughtful young lady and strong competitive swimmer, entering her Junior year of high school with a goal of becoming a physical therapist.


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