Donald Thomas Huntsinger

donald huntsinger
When Donald "Don" Thomas Huntsinger passed away Wednesday afternoon in Asheville, his wife, the former Betty Moffat, gave one instruction — leave his wedding band on his finger. The ring hadn't left him since Nov. 26, 1958. After 58 years, it was not going to happen now. Like Betty, Don was a native of Buncombe County. He was born the last day of March 1933 in a little house directly across the road from Eliada Home in Emma. This location played a significant role in his early life. He could often be found playing baseball and other games with the boys from the orphanage. Don would also listen in on Eliada outdoor services, and he eventually went to work at the Eliada Dairy. Growing up, he was not a fan of traditional schoolwork. He claims the most significant education came from working the land and with the livestock. While his father served in the U.S. Army during World War II, Don took on a number of chores around the house. From feeding and milking the family cow to chopping kindling, there was always a lot to be done. Perhaps the greatest lesson came from watching the interactions between his mother, the late Agnes Spivey Huntsinger, and his late father, Charlie Claude Huntsinger. "You have to have a desire to please the other person more than you want to please your own self," Don said in a nod to his 58 years of marriage. "I did that to the best of my ability." In 1953 after a push from his best friend, the late Bobby Hensley, Don joined the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. While he was proud of his service, he said the period was "an empty phase of my life, because I really didn't know what I wanted to do." Nevertheless, enlisting gave him the chance to travel the world — Germany, France, Luxemburg, Scotland and parts of northern Africa. An honorable discharge and a short stint as a plumber's assistant influenced his decision to seek other career opportunities. By late 1957, he landed a delivery job with The Sherwin-Williams Company and never looked back. Three and a half decades later, Don retired to many happy years of cheering on the Atlanta Braves and the Tarheels and devoting exorbitant amounts of time to his lifelong bowling hobby. Little did Don or Betty know, their union seemed to be guided by fate. Their fathers were friends, and Don even visited the house of a then-toddler Betty in the late 1930s. After 20 years, the pair reunited at a party and eventually started dating. "After the first date, I prayed to God that Betty would be the right one for me. I prayed that God would see fit to join us together to live a life for him. I did that every night that we dated until we got married. And then after we got married, I prayed thanks that it did happen. I still do that. I thank God for it happening. I thank him so much," Don said. The couple had two children — Pamela "Pam" Jean Huntsinger McCurry and Donald Richard "Rick" Huntsinger. Don "was the happiest man in the world. I couldn't wait. Both Rick and Pam were born because we wanted them. We planned for it." The new additions also helped the couple choose a permanent church — West Asheville Presbyterian, where Don held numerous leadership positions. By 1989, Pam and her husband, Tim McCurry, had three children — Kyle and Evan McCurry and Amber McCurry Foy. Don said his grandchildren "all have been a blessing. You all three are brilliant." New family members have joined the ranks over the years. Rick married the former Doreen Gervasi, and Amber wed active duty U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Cale Foy. Other close family members include his sister, Doris Huntsinger Hooker; Betty's sister, Frances and husband, Charles Hess; nephews, Robby and Chris Hess; Betty's brother-in-law, Bill Costello; and numerous nieces and nephews. "The key to a good life," Don said as he neared the end of his journey, "is to have a nice mate. Be happy with your children and grandchildren, and be content with who you are. I had no aspirations to be a governor or anything like that. I was just me. I just wanted to get along with people and treat others like I would want to be treated." Love radiated from Donald Thomas Huntsinger. May he continue to be a shining example for all humanity. Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue is handling all arrangements. Visitation is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15, with services to follow at 2:00. Interment with military honors will be at Green Hills Cemetery. Flowers will be appreciated or memorials may be made to the West Asheville Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 690 Haywood Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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  1. Betty and Family: Sorry to hear of Don’s passing. I remember him well from school. Over the years I would see Don occasionally. He was always smiling and we would exchange the latest gossip. May God bless everyone during this time in your lives.

  2. The children and staff of Eliada were so sorry to hear of Mr. Huntsinger’s passing. We are gratified to know that Eliada meant so much to him. We will be thinking about his family in this time of sorrow.

  3. Prayers of grace and thanksgiving for the life of Donald Huntsinger. May he rest in peace and all in his family find joy to celebrate together during this time. May God hold you all in the Palm of His Hand.

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