Donald Jay Coldwell

June 26, 1927 ‒ May 18, 2017

Marion, Ohio

Donald Jay Coldwell, age 89, of Marion, died Thursday afternoon, May 18, 2017, at his home surrounded by his loving family.

On June 26, 1927, Don was born in Marion, Ohio, one of two sons of the late Jay and Helen (Cox) Coldwell.  He graduated from Marion Harding High School in the class of 1945.

Shortly following graduation, Don enlisted to serve his country in the U.S. Army during World War II.  He served as a Corporal in the Medical Services.

Upon his honorable discharge, Don returned home to Marion, and started his own business as a mechanic, fixing anything with wheels from his garage.  He also became the mechanic for Paul Hooper’s dirt track racing team, and they traveled all over Ohio and the surrounding states to race.

In 1953, Don left the track to join the City of Marion’s Fire Department, where he was endearingly known as “Slim”.  Soon after becoming a fire fighter, Don’s chief put his garage skills to use, making him the mechanic for the fire department.  He honorably served the Marion community for twenty seven years, until his retirement.

Keeping busy, Don continued as a mechanic, working part time in Emmett Young’s garage for many years.

Wanting to be involved in his son’s lives, Don was an active volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America, serving as the Assistant Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 75, which was sponsored by the City of Marion’s Fire Department and Webelos Den Leader for Pack 14.  He also was a staff member for Boy Scout retreats at Camp Owens for many years.  During his Boy Scout service, he was honored with election to the Order of the Arrow. Don was a member of the Port Clinton VFW Post 2480, American Legion Post 162, and Elks Lodge #32, both in Marion.

Shortly after joining the fire department, Don met a young lady, Patricia McGowan, who often walked to his station on Mark Street to use their telephone.  He eventually got her to agree to a date, taking her to the Ohio Theater in Marion to see the movie Three Coins in the Fountain, and Pat has been the “love of his life” ever since.  They were married on October 25, 1954, sharing sixty two years of marriage and lovingly raising three children: Tim, Rex and Jennifer.

A talented artist, Don loved wood carving and oil painting, making creative and special gifts for his family and friends.  He also enjoyed tending to his vegetable and flower gardens every year.

Don was a very quiet, thoughtful man, and when he spoke everyone listened because he had something significant to say.  He also had a heart of gold, always helping others however he could.

Don will be missed by his wife, Pat Coldwell of Marion; three children: Timothy (Karen) Coldwell of Delaware, Rex Coldwell of Marion, and Jennifer (John Robinson) Brown of Marion; three grandchildren: Tyler Coldwell, Adam Brown, and Nicholas (Sarah) Brown; three great-grandchildren: Talia, Katelyn and Aeiden Brown; a sister-in-law, Louise Coldwell; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Including his parents, Don was preceded in death by an infant child, June; and a brother, Everett Coldwell.

His family will greet friends from 4 – 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, at the Snyder Funeral Homes, GUNDER/HALL Chapel, 347 W. Center St., Marion, where the Marion Fire Dept. Honor Guard will show respect to their past.  Funeral services honoring his life will also be held there at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, with Celebrant Steve deWeber officiating.  Burial with military honors provided by the Marion County United Veterans Council will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Boy Scouts of America, 1310 Mt. Vernon Ave., Marion, OH 43302, or to Kindred Hospice, 1199 Delaware Ave., #102A, Marion, OH 43302.

Snyder Funeral Homes of Marion are honored to have been chosen to serve Don’s family and your favorite memories and condolences may be shared with them via

  • With deepest sympathy I leave a note for Pat, Tim, Rex & Jennifer. Take heart in knowing that Don is in a better place, and is no longer suffering. He had a long life, and enjoyed his retirement. “Clubbing” was a part of his life, and I’m sure I won’t be missed among the many friends and relatives who will be there in this trying time.

    Take care, and of course all of you are in my prayers. Robert

  • Greetings from South Carolina:

    When I clicked on Uncle Donald’s obituary, I smiled seeing that familiar picture of him in his uniform. I don’t remember the quiet Uncle Donald mentioned above but do remember his laugh and wise cracks, riding with him in his jeep and the “wrong way Corrigan” boat he and dad constructed. He was a part of my scouting past as well, and I was also a “cool” kid in elementary school because my Uncle was a fireman.

    Because we are so far away we will not be able to be physically present, but Pat, know that you and Tim, Rex, and Jennifer and the grand kids are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Dick and Terri Coldwell

    • Thank you so much I always enjoy seeing life from other people’s perspectives on how they see a person take care of yourself

    • Forgot about the steering being backwards. Then remembered dad and I fixing up the boat and did change the steering so it was Right Way


  • Pat and Family,
    Our deepest condolences on the passing of Don. May he rest in peace and may God grant you and your family strength and comfort. Glenn and Kay Honaker.

  • Tim, Rex and Jennifer:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. May God give you comfort and peace.

    Rural Retreat, Virginia

    • The numerous connections through the Boy Scouts of America always meant a lot to him

    • The memories that come back when we loose one so close. Did we not have a lot of fun in the Boy Scouts

  • Pat and family,
    Sending condolences from your Fredericktown family. So sorry for your loss. Know you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Personally I always remember going to Frederick’s town with Mom and Dad to see the relatives over there when I was younger. Thank you for your kind words

  • Tim, Rex, and Family –

    I extend my sincere condolences to you and your family as you remember and continue to surround yourselves with all the good in Don’s life. Not sure if I will be able to attend the calling hours but know that you are in my thoughts.

    I too recall his activity with you in Boy Scouts and where our paths crossed years ago through summer camp staff and The Order of the Arrow. Although the years swiftly pass those memories always warm the heart and bring a smile.

    If I may echo the words of Scout Vespers and they certainly ring true for your father;

    Softly falls the light of day
    as our camp fire fades away
    Silently each Scout should ask
    have I done my daily task
    Have I kept my honor bright
    can I guiltless sleep tonight
    Have I done and have I dared
    everything to be prepared

    Rest well Don…. rest well.

    May his wisdom always rest upon your shoulders.

    Courage and Strength for the days and journey ahead.

    Clay Snyder

    • Thank you Clay How soon we miss those words that mean so much when we are reminded. Thankyou


    • Thanks Clay and you’re right, those words ring so true. Dad would appreciate the sentiment.

  • My deepest sympathy to the Coldwell family. May he rest in peace with the Lord our God.

    Nephew Daniel

  • Pat,Rex,Tim

    What a wonderful man sending prayers for your family. I always enjoyed talking and having a beer at the legion

  • I will always remember all of the fun we had as kids either in the country or the big city of Marion. Uncle Donald’s rich laugh and smile were always easily recognized and seeing the video photos of his (Pat, Tim Rex and Jennifer too) life are a nice remembrance of the fun we all used to have together. Wishing you the best and remembering the happiest.