Mathew 25:21: “Well done, my good and faithful servant”
With many years of Christian service to the Beckley community, our Heavenly Father has welcomed home one of his most trusted children.
Rev. Mr. William Donald “Don” Wise, Sr., of Beckley passed away on Good Friday, April 19, 2019, at the age of 91. Born February 20, 1928, he was the son of George and Anna Mollish Wise.
Don was preceded in death by his daughter, Marcie Wise, his parents and siblings, Donald Lyle and George Wise, and Bette Cantley.
He leaves behind his wife of 69 years, MaryAnn, and three children and their spouses, Sandra (Les) Rush, Don (Tina) Wise Jr., and Theresa (Tony) O’Leary. He had 10 grandchildren, Donnie (Mischa), Stephen (Candace), Lachelle, Gabe, and Desi Wise, Samantha Goins, Alexis (Hunter) Brown and Patrick, David and Colleen O’Leary. He had four great-grandchildren, Ellie and Elsie Wise and Isabelle and Hunter Goins. Don also leaves behind many nieces and nephews and sister-in-law, Marge Pachuta Reinhardt and brothers-in-law, John (Ann) Pachuta and John Franko.
Two of the greatest moments in Don’s life was his marriage to MaryAnn in 1949 and his conversion to the Catholic Faith that same year. Don has been very active in the Church which included being in The Holy Name Society in the 1950s and ’60s, and he and MaryAnn were in charge of the food pantry for many years. In 1983, Don felt the Lord’s calling to a higher service by becoming an ordained minister. Following five years of formal studies, he received Holy Orders and was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston on November 5, 1988.
Since then, he has devoted many hours to attending to church parishioners who are sick, homebound or in the hospital. He was a chaplain at Raleigh General Hospital. Don also devoted time to preparing parents for their children’s Sacrament of Baptism and has baptized more than 260 individuals since his ordination. Don also assisted parishioners with annulments, counseling, the training of alter servers and extra ordinary ministers. Don also assisted and presented homilies at liturgies until his final day. Don served as a Knights of Columbus member since 1965, serving as its chaplain for the last 20-plus years. He became of 4th Degree Knight of the Thomas L. Kerrigan Assembly 1523 on November 1, 1989 and has served as its Faithful Friar for more than 15 years.
Don served in the United States Army. One year after enrolling at Beckley College in the fall of 1945, Don was inducted into the U.S. Army, serving in Japan as an automotive maintenance instructor before his discharge in 1948. In 1949, he was employed by the Slab Fork Coal Company and part of the company’s engineering department. His mining career was put on hold when he was recalled into the U.S. Army and assigned to duty in Korea. Upon returning home, he resumed his mining career with Slab Fork where his duties included designing engineer, safety inspector, mine foreman, plant superintendent, safety director and research engineer. Don would earn an undergraduate degree from West Virginia Institute of Technology in 1979, and a master’s degree in Safety Management from Marshall University in 1981. He retired as safety director and Vice President of Industrial Relations with Maben Energy in 1993.
Don’s civic duties included being the Exalted Ruler of the Beckley Elks Lodge and being a member and officer of the Beckley Jaycees where he was twice selected as one of the five outstanding young men of Beckley. Don coached youth baseball and softball teams in the Beckley Little League for many years. In recent years, he was a trombone player in the New River Jazz Band, affectionately known as “The Deacon of Swing.”
The family is receiving friends from at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Beckley on Monday, April 22 from 5-8 p.m. A vigil prayer service will be led by Deacon Jay Ziolkowski, with Deacon John Hanna as homilist, at 8 p.m. The Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated by Father Paul Wharton, Monsignor Sam Sacus, and other diocesan priests at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 23 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church and Rite of Committal will follow at Sunset Memorial Park, Beckley, led by Deacon Harry Evans.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests for donation to be made to St. Francis de Sales Catholic School, which he helped found in 1958.