Donald Woodrow Headley was born March 5, 1913 the day after Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated President of the United States. He was born at home in Milton NJ to Adam Davenport Headley and Nellie (Fredericks) Headley. He lived his youthful years in the Milton community – attending eight years at the Milton School and the Butler High School in Butler NJ.
From a small child he was active in Sunday school and church at Milton United Methodist a mile from his home. As an adult he sang in the church choir, taught Sunday school, served as Trustee and spent many hours helping keep the old church in repair.
Don read a lot as a young boy about out west. Zane Grey’s writings were popular with him. His brother, Dean, had finished college at Dakota Wesleyan at Mitchell and was the Pastor at the Underwood United Methodist Church. Don came out to visit in 1938 and found work helping Anthony Nelson, Levi Nelson and Glenn Salmen. He always said these three farmers were fine examples to follow.
It was here he met his future bride, Dorothy Baughman. After five years of letter writing, including three years of World War II, they were married at Huron First Methodist Church on June 7, 1946 where his brother was pastor. Don served his country during World War II. He spent two years in Italy, HQ Company 5th Army. He serviced small field artillery observation planes and was honorably discharged on October 7, 1945.
The two made their new home in Milton NJ back to Don’s home community – their only child, James, was born and educated there all twelve years. Don worked as a carpenter for many years in Milton. Many trips were made back to South Dakota to visit relatives and friends in the summers.
After Dorothy’s retirement from teaching 1st grade at Milton School in 1978, they decided to retire in South Dakota and build a new home with the help of Al Koch of White Lake. They settled on the Swan Nelson farm where Levi Nelson had lived. Their son, James and Cristine were living in the old Nelson home. It was fun watching their grandchildren, Todd, Jay, Sarah and Tina, grow to maturity.
They enjoyed camping, attending blue grass festivals, wintering in Arizona for several years and working at the Aurora County Museum in Plankinton for thirty-two years. They became members of the Underwood United Methodist Church and were active there until its closing in 2006. He was a member of the White Lake American Legion and a lifetime member of the Plankinton VFW.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy of White Lake, his son, James (Cristine) of White Lake; three grandchildren: Todd (Andreea) Headley, Sarah (Dan) Weiss and Tina (Dustin) Ludens; three great-grandchildren: Jack Headley, Sydney Headley and Sophia Headley and many nieces and nephews.
Donald was preceded in death by his parents, his six siblings: Helen Rothrock, Robert Headley, Dean Headley, Eleanor Wadsworth, John Headley and Elwood Headley and a grandson, Jay Headley.