Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - Donald Wallace Paisley's memorial

Donald Wallace Paisley
Dec. 20, 1927-Jan. 26, 2024
Palo Alto, California

Donald Wallace Paisley Jr., 96, passed away peacefully on January 26th, 2024, amongst family and friends in Palo Alto, Calif. Don is survived by his wife, Sandra Paisley; his five children, Charlie, Christopher and his wife Donna, Donelle, Mark and his wife Hilda, and Scott and his wife Gayle; his daughter-in-law Diana; in-laws Brad, Lorrie, and Neil; and six grandkids, Blake, Caden, Erica, Jack, Kent, and Reice.

He was born on December 20th, 1927, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Donald Wallace Paisley Sr. and Jean Hilton Paisley. Don grew up in the Buckeye State and moved westward upon entrance into Stanford University, where he graduated in 1950. While at Stanford, Don met Helen Christine Walker, whom he married in 1950. They had the first three of Don's children, Christopher, Scott, and Mark. Don also obtained a Master's in Education at San Jose State in 1951.

Don remained in the Bay Area to begin working, where he resided throughout his career. Don started by becoming a teacher in the Sunnyvale School District, then became a Whisman Mountain View School District principal in 1962. Over the next 23 years, Don served as the principal at three of the district's schools: Stevenson School, Theuerkauf Elementary, and the Whisman School. Don married Charlene Schill in 1969, and they had his last two children, Donelle and Charlie.

Shortly before retiring in 1985, Don married Sandra Gray in 1983. His family continues his teaching legacy, with son Christopher, a professor at Santa Clara University, and granddaughter Erica, a teacher at Baker Elementary School.

Don and Sandra moved to San Diego after Don ended his career, soaking in more of one of his favorite things: the sun. In his free time, Don loved going to the beach. He took his kids over Highway 17 to Rio Del Mar for weekends and a traditional week-long vacation over the summer during their childhood. Fittingly, the final trip of his life away from Palo Alto was to Santa Barbara, Calif., for his son Mark's wedding at Butterfly Beach in 2020.

Don and Sandra split their time between sunny San Diego and cloudy London, enjoying their other favorite activity, going to plays. They spent numerous evenings taking in shows at the West End Theatres.

Don was a pillar of strength over the final act of his life. After Sandra had a tragic accident resulting in a brain bleed and needing additional care in 2012, the two moved back to the Bay Area to a retirement community in Palo Alto to be closer to family. Don diligently provided the majority of her care, only getting more assistance from their caretakers, Nesi and Annabelle, within a few years of his passing. Even near the end of his life, when Sandra would get up at night, Don would turn over and flatten the sheets to make the bed as comfortable as possible upon her return.

Don was known for his quick wit, comical one-liners, and beaming with pride for his family. He would always look around the room over his final holidays with his loved ones, toasting to his pride in his beautiful family and what it meant to him that they could all gather together.

His wisdom and compassion will be deeply missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him. Donald Wallace Paisley Jr. leaves a legacy of love and memories that family and friends will cherish. May he rest in peace, surrounded by the love of those who hold him dear in their hearts.  

Tags: teacher/educator

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