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Donald Harrison Wian

Obituary for Donald Harrison Wian

February 24, 1925 - September 30, 2019
New Whiteland, Indiana | Age 94


Donald Harrison Wian, 94, passed away at home with his wife and daughters at his side on 30 September 2019. Born in Sunbury, PA on 24 February 1925, the youngest of 3 siblings, he attended school in Hershey, PA and Sunbury, joining the Army in 1943 for WWII. He returned to PA after the war, earning his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering at Bucknell University, then moving to Dayton, OH to start his career in propulsion at Wright Patterson AFB. After a stint in Utah working with solid rockets, Don rejoined his W-P group, who the Air Force had transferred to Edward's AFB to become the core group of the new Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory. One of Don's responsibilities was the development of large-diameter monolithic solid rocket motors, which the Air Force employed in Titan II & III launch systems and NASA's Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters. Don retired in 1980 as chief of the solid Rocket Motor Section that developed technology for intercontinental ballistic and aircraft-launched missiles for weapon systems such as Minuteman, Peacekeeper, Sidewinder and Maverick. His section also pioneered developing controllable solid rocket motors.

After retirement, Don moved to Prince's Lakes, IN in 1984, where he and his wife were avid supporters of their daughters' activities at Indian Creek schools and Trafalgar Christian Church. He worked tirelessly for Girl Scouts, Dollars for Scholars, Band Boosters, and Post-Prom Safety. He attended all his girls' extracurricular events, and he supported their general shenanigans with friends. Don worked at Carl's Market and Trafalgar Market for about a decade, where he managed the produce and helped where needed. He moved to New Whiteland in 2005, where he finally enjoyed retired life, traveling the world with Martha and quietly reading books.

Don is survived by his wife of 50 years, Martha (McNeely) Wian, his two daughters, Debbie Wian and Susie (Brian) D'Agostino, two grandsons, and six nieces and nephews. He is preceeded in death by his parents, Charles F. and Elsie M. (Rothermal) Wian, his stepmother, Ida W. (Schnell) Wian, his two siblings, Charles R. and Myrtle F. Wian, three nieces and nephew, and an infant daughter.

A memorial gathering will be Thursday, 3 October 2019 from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service & Crematory, Greenwood Chapel 481 W. Main Street Greenwood, IN. A memorial service will be held 1:00 pm Friday, 4 October 2019 at the funeral home.

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