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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Donald Jordan, “DJ”, would agree that he was truly extraordinary. He was a lifelong resident of the community he loved. His vision to making the world around him a better place was unmatched.
It was no secret that DJ was married to the love of his life. Together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Although he was a bit rough and tough around the edges, he was the type of person who would give someone the shirt off his back. Deeply loved, DJ will be forever missed.
The 1930's were trying days in America as the Great Depression sent our unemployment rate soaring. There were few American families who didn’t feel the strain. Despite the trials around them, Ray and Beatrice (Dillenbeck) Jordan were pleased to announce the birth of the baby boy they named Donald Lee on July 10, 1933, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was one of nine children. His siblings, Helen, Richard, Harold, Eva Bell, Lois, Dorothy, Lee and Kenneth were raised in the family home on Cass Avenue. He liked hanging out with his friends and chasing girls.
Life was forever changed for DJ when he met a classmate named Rosanne Turskey while in school. He was just 14 and she was 12 at that time. As a young man of 19, DJ joined the Army, serving as a truck driver and mechanic for three years during the Korean Conflict from January 1952, through January of 1955. After he returned, DJ and his sweetheart eloped to LaGrange Indiana, where they were married at the age of 22 and his bride was 20.
There was never anything of greater importance to DJ than his family. The newlyweds initially lived in a small apartment. Then they moved to several different places in the Grand Rapids area and in the early 60’s finally ended up on the northwest side.
Together they welcomed four children including Pamela, Sally, Teresa and Todd into their hearts and home over the course of six years. DJ was active in the lives of his children and they raised them with a strong foundation. Together they would pack a Lunch and go to Riverside Park as well as Long Lake in Sparta. Family Life would include taking Sunday Rides out in the country (sometimes stopping so we could pick an apple from the tree’s), spending weekends at Fife Lake and a memorable trip spent touring the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. DJ taught his kids how to change their own oil and also how to change a flat tire. He was a great dancer who taught his girls how to slow dance. There were regular popcorn nights on Sundays (Put in a brown grocery bag which we would all bring our bowls to be filled) and DJ also took the family to drive-in movies. There were times we would be sitting in the backyard and hear a siren and he would chase down where the fire trucks went and help if needed.
Later in life he was thrilled to become a grandfather. He always had a nickname for all of his kids and grandkids. Gifts for him included a Card which when he opened it, he would “shake it” to find if there was any dollar bills or scratch-off tickets included. He enjoyed his daily trips with his Red Pickup Truck to his favorite gas station. And of course, we all remember his Ooga Horn.
Throughout his life, DJ was known for his strong work ethic. He started working as a teen when he took a job with the railroad. In addition to that job, he and his father had a small business for a short time called Ray and Don’s TV rental and repair. They supplied the hospitals with television rentals before there really was such a thing. DJ also worked for Joppe's Dairy, Modern Concrete and Rieth-Riley Paving for over 28 years and was a member of Teamsters Local 406. During the winters he worked as a tow truck driver for Hermitage Towing.
Over the years he was never without work, and at many different times he also took a second job when needed. Once he retired, DJ spent eight years working at Tim and Teresa’s meat shop, Sobie Meats.
There were so many things that kept DJ busy over the years. He was a die-hard Detroit Lions fan, Vanna White Show, as he called it but really known as Wheel of Fortune, and by the way, you didn’t dare talk or call when these were on. He loved classic movies, westerns, and Judge Judy. DJ enjoyed Nat King Cole music, especially “Unforgettable,” also Sandi Patti and slow dance songs as he was a self-proclaimed “Ladies Man” who loved to dance. In all honestly, he was a great dancer who often had a line of ladies who wanted a dance. He always reserved the First and Last dance for his wife, Rosanne. DJ was a classic meat and potatoes guy, always with lots of gravy. He also loved to grill chicken on the rotisserie, but everyone knew he wouldn’t touch rice after being in the Army. For years, DJ and his wife picked up residents from Welcome Home for the Blind to take them to “Blind Bowling League” at the Paragon Lanes on Wednesday evenings. He and Rosanne loved to play bingo at many Places in Grand Rapids and at the Soaring Eagle Casino. DJ also played a few slots at many Casino’s.
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, DJ made a significant impact in the lives of so many others. He worked hard to provide an amazing life for his family. He was also generous to others whenever he got the chance. Deeply devoted to his family, DJ made life so much fun with his one-liners that would always start with “If it was meant to be,” followed by “Stick it in your ear,” and many other one liners that are not to be mentioned.
Life will never be the same without him here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will proudly carry on in his footsteps.
Donald Lee Jordan, “DJ”, aged 86, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Thursday, December 19, 2019. He was the eighth of nine children, born to Ray and Beatrice Jordan (Dillenbeck). In 1955, he married the love of his live, Rosanne Turskey, who preceded him in death. He is survived by his children, Pamela (Jeff) Hobbs, Sally Christiansen, Teresa (Tim) Sobie, Todd (Mary) Jordan; grandchildren, Brandon Lundberg, Bryan Lundberg, Brent Lundberg, Jack (Ivy) Christiansen, Julie Christiansen, Melissa (Jim) Patyi, Tony (Jessica) Sobie, Jessica (Steve) Henderhan, Kaely (Kevin) Littleton, Travis Jordan and Rachel Jordan; 19 great-grandchildren; his brother Kenneth Jordan; many nieces, nephews and friends. Donald Honorably served his country in the US Army during the Korean War. He was a very active member of the Lexicon Club serving as officer and board, also a member of the Neil Fonger Post. He retired from Rieth-Riley Paving, where he worked for over 28 years and was a member of the Teamsters local #406. A service to celebrate Don’s life will be held at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 2120 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, on Friday, December 27 at 2:00 pm. Burial in Rosedale Cemetery. Friend and relatives may meet his family at the home on Thursday, Dec 26 from 4:00 – 8:00 pm and again on Friday from 1:00 pm until the service begins at 2:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Assn.