Donald Woodrow Headley


March 5, 1913 - May 17, 2014


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.


None Scheduled


Tuesday, May 27, 2014
11:00 AM
United Methodist Church
White Lake, South Dakota


Underwood Community Cemetery
White Lake, South Dakota

Posted by Val & Dawn Luckett on June 3, 2014
Our Thoughts and Prayers
Posted by Beverly and Wayne Salmen on May 23, 2014
Wayne and Dorothy's mothers were sisters, so the families have been close-knit for many years. We had such a good visit with Don just one week before his life on earth ended. Dorothy had driven him to the farm that afternoon so he could mow the grass~~that doesn't often happen for nursing home patients! Don's life was filled with "unusual" positive experiences. May 101 years of memories, as well as God's peace, sustain your family.
Posted by Kori Clarambeau on May 23, 2014
My thoughts and prayers go out to Jim Christine and Dorothy.
Posted by Carol Beardslee Munro Ollwerther on May 23, 2014
My thoughts and prayers are with you Mrs. Headley as well as your entire family. My sister, Joanne, says what I, too, feel about Mr. Headley. I was blessed to have had the wonderful experience to know Mr. Headley through our church family at Milton Methodist Church and as a family friend. I have fond memories of family times shared at your home and Mrs. Headley ... you will always be my favorite teacher at Milton School and in Sunday School. Blessings and peace to all.
Posted by Joanne Beardslee Bostedo on May 23, 2014
Our hearts go out to you on Donald's sunset here on earth and rejoices with you on his "sunrise" in Heaven. His was a life well lived. He was a man who lived his faith and conviction and was truly blessed with the fruits of the spirit. I treasure my memories of growing up in Milton and the Milton Methodist Church family. How well I remember the Headley family presence there and the many special memories of times our families spent together. May God continue to hold you close and bless your life. We wish you peace....
Posted by Mary Ellen Bjorkman on May 23, 2014
Enjoy talking to aunt Dorothy about Uncle Don's life well lived. A few favorite memories comes to mind. Devotions at breakfast in their home and Don flight and landing on the road during the Underwood Church anniversary. Also visiting with them in their New Jersey home.
Posted by Mary and jackie nelson on May 22, 2014
I have a lot of memory's of don. See you on Tuesday
Posted by Lonnie Salmen on May 22, 2014
It was so great to visit Don a few weeks ago in the White Lake Nursing home. Wow a powerful Christian witness he was!!!! I will never forget his love for God. I have always loved the Headley family and I will treasure my last conversation with him. I am sure that he left many people with that same impression of how important Christ was to him. May God comfort you. Lonnie Salmen
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