Donald R. Waful died Thursday September 12th at the VA Hospital in Syracuse, NY at the age of 103. Don was born in Newark, NY in 1916. His family moved to Syracuse when he was three. He became a member of the Reformed Church at the age of five and remained a member for 98 years. He graduated from Syracuse in 1937 and received his Masters degree from the Maxwell School of Political Science in 1939. He enlisted in the US Army in 1942 and was stationed in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While playing his trombone in a military band he spotted the love of his life, Lt. Olga Casciolini, an army nurse. They fell in love during a whirlwind 6-week courtship. Don was deployed with the 1st Armored Division to North Africa where he was captured by the German Army. After 28 months in prison camp, he was reunited with Cassie and they were married in the mayor's office in a small french village.
After the war they came back and lived in Syracuse and had two sons, Peter and Donald. He worked as an independent insurance agent until his retirement while serving his community in a variety of ways, most notably as President of the Syracuse Chiefs for 35 years. Don was active in the Reformed Church in myriad ways throughout his life including chairman of the building committee for the current church. Since 1945 Don has missed only 3 SU home football games, once for a friend's wedding and twice for P.O.W. reunions, but never in the Carrier Dome until yesterday's Clemson game. Don has loved music his whole life especially Big Bands from the Swing era. He was a member of the Syracuse University Glee Club, the church choir, and played trombone in local swing bands. Cassie died in 1998 after 53 years of marriage. Later, Don married his college sweetheart, Virginia, who died in 2010. Don was also predeceased by his son Donald in 2005.
Don is survived by son Peter and his wife Dana of Brewster, MA; granddaughter Allison Cunningham of Stoneham, MA; grandson Jefferson Waful and his fiance Brooke Everett of Philadelphia, PA and great grandchildren Emily, Maya and Tyler Cunningham of Stoneham, MA.
Calling hours will be on Friday, September 20 from 3-7 pm at Burns-Garfield Funeral Home, 3175 East Genesee St Syracuse. The funeral will be held Saturday at 10 am at The Reformed Church of Syracuse 1228 Teall Ave Syracuse. The family would like to express their gratitude to the staff at the VA Hospital in Syracuse, the staff at the Syracuse University Alumni Office and the countless friends and acquaintances in the Syracuse community whose kindness and generosity made it possible for Don to live independently until the last weeks of his life.