Don loved his family, his friends and his country. As a child, he dreamed of flying planes and made models that hung from the ceiling of his room. Later, he earned a degree at Southern Illinois University and joined the Air Force in 1955. Don married LaVinia Stein of Pinckneyville, Illinois in 1956. They lived in several different countries as Don served as an Air Force pilot in Turkey and West Germany and then as Andrews Air Force Base Air Operations Officer in Washington DC. They had three children of their own and served as second parents for two daughters. The family moved to Kansas City when Don joined TWA and the 139th Airlift Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard in St. Joseph. He also served as a flight instructor at the TWA training center. During his career, Don logged more than 33,000 hours flight time flying more than 40 different kinds of aircraft. He retired as a Lt. Colonel USAF and TWA Captain. Don was a proud member of the Quiet Birdmen and the ROMEOs (Real Old Men Eating Out). Don loved John Wayne and Star Wars movies and bass fishing.
His wife, LaVinia, preceded in passing by 4 months. Don and LaVinia are survived by daughter Carol Vanetti and son-in-law Jerry Wones of Greeley, Colorado, and their son, Brian Wones; daughter Anita Vanetti and son-in-law Norman A. Smith, Jr. of Smithville, Missouri; son Donald Bruce Vanetti and daughter-in-law Sirena and their children, Dillon, Morgan, Jordan and Cameron of Casper, Wyoming; Jeanine Webster, married to Mel Nobel of Stuart, Florida; and Connie Dubovsky married to Jim of Littleton, Colorado. Don also leaves his sister Lois Underwood of Marion, Illinois, and brother Russell Vanetti and his wife Lynn of Salem, Illinois; two brothers-in-law, Frank Stein of Pinckneyville, Illinois and his wife Diane, and George Stein and his wife Carolyn of Belleville, Illinois; sister-in-law Maredith McDaniel of Modesto, California; and six nephews and nieces.
The Visitation will be held from 9:30 a.m., – 11:00 a.m., Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Meyers Northland Chapel in Parkville, MO. A Celebration of Donald’s life will be held at 11am, Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Meyers Funeral Chapel. A Committal Service with military honors will be held Friday, March 23 at 2:30 pm at the Leavenworth National Cemetery, 150 Muncie Road Leavenworth, Kansas. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Don’s name to the Wounded Warrior Project. Memories of Donald and condolences to the family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com