July 7, 2010
GLEN ARBOR — Donald Beggs Vavra left the mortal life Wednesday, July 7, in his Glen Arbor home at 90 years of good life.Don is remembered as the unofficial "Mayor of Glen Arbor." His amiable presence afforded so many the friendship in the small village. Tall, for a Vavra, with a deep, booming voice, blue, blue eyes, a full head of hair, a true ladies man and a nearly wrinkle-free face, he leaves a void in the saga of the village.Born in the family home in La Grange, Ill., on June 13, 1920, of Violet J. and Alex H. Vavra, Don was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Beverly; mother-in-law, Sylvia Clutter; father-in-law, Vern Clutter; brother, Gordon Beggs Vavra; sister-in-law, Janice V. Vavra; his faithful dogs, Missy the Airedale, Alfie and Schultz, Frankie Furter and Honey.He is survived by nephews, Mark Vavra and David Vavra; grand-niece, Shannon Vavra; grand-nephew, Robert Vavra; and his family of friends.Don attended the First Congregational Church of La Grange and the Glen Lake Reformed Church. He schooled at Cossitt Avenue Grade School, Lyons Township High School and the L.T. Junior College in La Grange.He served his country as a Sergeant in the Army Air Force at Mather Field in Sacramento, Calif., for four years from 1941 through 1944. After his discharge, he returned to live at home with his parents in La Grange and began a sales career with Armour and Company. He settled into selling printing services with a friend's business, Hautau and Otto of Chicago. On calls, he met his 'mentor' Hugh Heffner.Donald is known for his serendipitous personality, which surfaced through his love of skiing, flying airplanes, travel, and that love of new friendships. European adventures in the 1950s and '60s focused on road trips and Alpine skiing; he loved flying himself to ski in Colorado. He relaxed sailing on Crystal Lake and boating to the Manitou Islands, which led to many cherished friends, among them, Steve Aero of Indiana and Bob and Judy McCall of Frankfort.He was a true post-war "Road King," adoring his flashy new cars and savored a last ride in his old Park Avenue the day before his death.On Oct. 31, 1966, he married Beverly Clutter of Littleton, Colo., his dream gal he met in a pool at either Vail or Aspen. They were married for 33 years. Their love meshed with their love of skiing, flying, entertaining and Northwestern Lower Michigan living. Living full-time south of Downers Grove, Ill., at Bruce Lake Country Estates, they spent long weekends commuting to Crystal Lake at the Vavra family's Mollineaux Road cottage (built in 1913 by Don's grandfather, Hugo). Don hoped to survive the Congressional indecision in forming the national lakeshore after risking construction of a chalet on his Platte Bay waterfront; but within a year, the National Lakeshore was reality.And so, the 33 years on Sleeping Bear Bay in downtown Glen Arbor began with the purchase there in August 1977; their location in the village grew to their hearts as neighbors became friends — enhancing their serenity — and longevity. Soon their residency became full-time, and their business — Galaxy Forms on Barlow Street in Traverse City made the dream of self-employment possible — and a new, lifelong friend, Ed Hanbury, now of Bay Village, Ohio.Don was a member of the Naperville Flying Club, the Noontiders, a Parks Commissioner of the Glen Arbor Parks and Recreation Board, and a volunteer in the Special Olympics.Proud of his service to his country, he was grateful to those who afforded the opportunity this April to go to Washington, D.C. to view the World War II memorial.Special thanks is extended to Leelanau Sharecare, Bill and Rita Drake, Patti Dingman, Holly Pharmer, Jay Gierkey, Bonny McCaslin, Debbie Beck and family, Patti Coombs, Jan Charbeneau, the Winograds, and all of Glen Arbor who provided Don the ability to live out his days at home in the village he so loved, among his large, extended family of loving friends.A celebration of life service and social will be held on Don's beach on Saturday, July 17, 2010; a social with beverages and light food will begin at 6:30 p.m., with a service at 7 p.m., followed by more social time, food and drink. The celebration of life will take place rain or shine, tented seating provided.Cremation has taken place.In lieu of flowers, donations to these organizations is suggested: Sharecare of Leelanau, Inc., 211 South High St., Northport, MI 49670-9755; Glen Lake Community Reformed Church, 4902 W. MacFarlane Road, Glen Arbor, MI 49636; Cherryland Humane Society, 1750 Ahlberg, Traverse City, MI 49686; Glen Arbor Township Parks and Recreation, 6394 Western Ave., Glen Arbor, MI 49636; or Cherryland VFW Post #2780, 3400 Veterans Drive, Traverse City, MI 49684.Please share thoughts and memories with the family on Don's online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, Traverse City.
GLEN ARBOR — Donald Beggs Vavra left the mortal life Wednesday, July 7, in his Glen Arbor home at 90 years of good life.Don is remembered as the unofficial "Mayor of Glen Arbor." His amiable presence afforded so many the friendship in the small... View Obituary & Service Information
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