Thursday, October 15, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
Holy Spirit Parish
2230 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Susan Mast ALS Foundation
2500 Waldorf Court NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Holy Spirit Education Foundation
2222 Lake Michigan Drive NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Humble, loving, and kind, Donald Luxford lived a life rich in family and friends. Don found pleasure living each and every day, welcoming life’s challenges and joys equally, and showering others with his good care. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend, Don was loved abundantly and cherished in the hearts of many. Though he will be sadly missed, Don’s legacy of love will continue to touch the lives of all who knew him.
The 1920s were marked by tremendous confidence, prosperity, and previously unknown comforts. The economy boomed, wages rose for most Americans, and prices fell, resulting in a higher standard of living for most. With the inventions of the washing machine, vacuum cleaner, self-winding watch, bulldozer, instant camera, drive-in restaurants, Band-Aids, and the convertible the post-war era marked significant advancement and morale flourished throughout the land. While the US census reported for the first time in history that more Americans lived in urban areas than rural ones, the wave of sweeping social and economic growth grew exponentially with the ratification of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote. More than a million women worked in white-collar jobs while the automobile industry nearly doubled. This vibrant time grew even more brilliant on December 12, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as Leopold and Alice (Peters) Luxford welcomed their son Don to their family.
Growing up in the Madison Square area on the southeast side of Grand Rapids, Don’s childhood was filled with family values and fond memories. A great big brother to his younger sister, Leona, Don fell in love with airplanes at a very early age. Don’s father had a business a couple of miles down the road from their home, near the airport where Don frequently enjoyed watching the planes take off and land. He and one of his friends often rode their bikes to the airport to watch the action.
These early experiences inspired a life long love of aircraft that eventually inspired him to take flying lessons and build a vast collection of model planes. Don’s good childhood also included family camping, watching baseball, and great adventures with his friend, who later became his brother-in-law. The pair enjoyed many laughs and lots of fun as neighborhood pranksters.
As a student at South High School, Don was an active part of his class’s efforts to raise money to buy a plane for service during World War II. As a result of their hard work, the school purchased the Spirit of South High.
After graduating with the class of 1945, Don attended Davenport College. He then found work with Michigan Consolidated Gas Company. Don started in MichCon’s purchasing department and later moved to quality control. He enjoyed his work and remained with the company for 38 years; it proved his only job!
A man who easily made friends, Don quickly impressed one of his work buddies who invited him to attend a New Year’s Party with the intention of setting him up with a young lady he knew. Don welcomed the invitation and attended the party. Though the initial match did not prove a keeper, another young lady at the party caught Don’s eyes. Instantly smitten, after sharing a couple of polka dances, Don knew he would ask Bernice Perczynski for a date. In little time, Don and Bernice were a couple, setting their eyes on sharing the future in one another’s good company.
On May 5, 1956, the happy couple married in a wedding ceremony at Sacred Heart Parish. They celebrated with a honeymoon to Niagara Falls, followed by traveling the east coast south to Virginia Beach. Upon returning from their trip, they made their first home in an apartment. A year later, they build their forever home on Fairfield Ave NW, where his model plane collection was proudly exhibited and fondly dubbed the Luxford Airport.
In time, Don and Bernice were blessed to welcome and raise two children, Sharon and Dennis, together. As a father, Don was very involved in ensuring his children had a good, happy home. Don was very handy and could fix just about anything. He also cared for the lawn.
While he worked hard at his job and around the home, the greatest gift Don gave his family was his devotion to his wife. He and Bernice not only shared a genuine affinity for one another but they also consciously built their relationship on the firm foundation of love and respect. As a couple, their love and devotion proved an inspiration for all who were blessed to witness it. All through their marriage, Don and Bernice cared for others. Their dad’s both passed away when they were young, so they cared for their mothers, often helping them at their homes and bringing them along when they traveled.
The family enjoyed camping. They started with pup tents, then progressed to umbrella tents before moving on to fold-down campers, and finally a travel trailer. The family traveled all over the country, camping and staying in motels. Don relished in planning the trips and highlighting the route on a map. Their favorite place close to home was Ludington State Park.
Once the kids were grown, Don and Bernice settled at Brower Park on the Muskegon River, where Don loved time on the pontoon boat, often fishing. Over the years, Don and Bernice traveled to every state and enjoyed several cruises as well. His favorite trip was to Alaska.
A man of many interests, Don loved to read. He read the newspaper regularly and loved history. When he became very interested in the Civil War, he traced the path of some of his relatives through the war. He inherited a love of cameras and movie cameras from his father and had lots of photographs and footage. Don also followed the Iditarod every year. A very social couple, who particularly enjoyed the company of the “Beach Combers,” a group of friends who gathered monthly, at first at people’s houses and then in restaurants, with celebrating new years together at Fingers Restaurant. In later years, he and Bernice simply enjoyed feeding and watching the birds, squirrels, and chipmunks on their back deck.
A wonderful grandfather, Don cherished his grandchildren and embraced his role with signature wit and pleasant nature. Though the kids will hold many beautiful memories in their hearts, what will always be first to come to their minds is the way he and Bernice loved one another. Each night they held hands and told one another, “I Love You.” It was just after one of these moments that Don peacefully passed away.
Clearly, it is difficult to imagine life in the absence of Don’s steadfast presence. May it afford deep comfort to know that the best of his legacy lives on in the hearts of those he loved. With each camping trip we enjoy, lunker we pursue, meal we share, and moment we hold our beloved’s hand, we celebrate the many ways Don gifted us. In this way, we keep his spirit alive and inspiring others as he so inspired us.
Donald Luxford, age 93 of Grand Rapids, passed away on October 10, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Bernice; daughter, Sharon Lindberg; grandchildren Edwin Lindberg (Samantha Raucci), Jessica (Austen) TenHopen; great-grandchildren, Sidalee and Mason TenHopen; sister, Leona Crabbs; as well as nieces and nephews Greg (Nancy) Crabbs, Jim (Suzanne) Crabbs, Kim (Don) Vandewater, Steve (Sandy) Crabbs. Don was preceded in death by his son, Dennis, and his son-in-law Edwin Lindberg. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, October 15, at 11 AM at the Parish of the Holy Spirit. Friends are invited to visit with Don’s family on Wednesday from 4-7 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – Alt & Shawmut Hills Chapel, where the Rosary will be prayed beginning at 7 PM. For those who wish, memorial contributions to either the Susan Mast ALS Foundation or Holy Spirit Education Foundation are appreciated. To read more about Don’s life, to share a memory, or to sign his guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com