Lt. Col. (ret.) Donald Leo McInnis died peacefully on November 23, 2020. Visitation will be on Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 5pm to 7pm at North’s Funeral Home, 242 Orange St., Abilene. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11am Friday at Holy Family Catholic Church, 5410 Buffalo Gap Rd., Abilene with Msgr. Frederick Nawarskas officiating. Burial with Military Honors will follow at Elmwood Memorial Park.
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Don was born in East Chicago Indiana, August 1, 1929, to Mary and Danny McInnis. Mary was a homemaker and Danny was a shift and production foreman at the U.S. Steel Mill of Gary, Indiana. Don attended Holy Angels Grammar School and graduated from Horace Mann High School in Gary, Indiana, where he played football, basketball and was captain of the track team. Upon graduation, Don enlisted in the army for one year. He served with the 41st Armored Infantry, 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, Texas. He then attended college at Michigan State College (now University) where he played freshman basketball and baseball, and intramural sports. He became a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and served as President his senior year. He studied pre-law and graduated with a BA in Economics. Don received his reserve commission in the Air Force after graduation in 1953, applied to flight school and was called to active duty November 2, 1953. In December of 1954, Don proceeded to France where he flew C-119’s with the 782nd Troop Carrier Squadron. In 1956 he transitioned to flying B-47 bombers. Don married his true love, 1st Lieutenant, Air Force Nurse, Mary Ann Joest, at Hunter Air Force Base, Savannah, Georgia, November 8, 1958. Don continued flying B-47’s until 1965 when he transitioned to B-52’s. During his time flying B-52’s, their payload went from nuclear bombs and missiles during the height of the Cold War, to “iron” bombs during the Vietnam War. Lt. Col. McInnis flew several tours in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War and was recognized on numerous occasions for distinguished service. In 1971, he transferred to Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas, where he was Chief of the Command Control Division, and helped Dyess transition from iron bombs back to a Nuclear weaponized base. Don retired from the Air Force in 1975. After retirement, he worked several jobs, most notably as regional manager for the Federal Census, several decades in a row and obtained a MBA from Hardin Simmons University in 1984. He and his wife, Mary Ann were long time parishioners of Holy Family Catholic Church.
Don is preceded in death by his parents, Danny and Mary, and his wife, Mary Ann McInnis. He is survived by his Sister, Peggy Schneider, of East Lansing, Michigan, his son Dan McInnis and wife Nikki, and granddaughters Abby and Maggie McInnis, of Fort Worth, Texas; daughter Janet Jacobson, and granddaughters Natalie and Kelly Jacobson, and grandson Willis Jacobson, of Orion, Illinois, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of Flowers, donations may be made in memoriam to Abilene Meals on Wheels, 717 North 10th St., Abilene, Tx 79601, or Holy Family Catholic Church, 5410 Buffalo Gap Rd., Abilene, TX