Donald Chester McCracken
Windsor, Va. – Donald Chester McCracken, 87, passed away on Saturday, August 29, 2020, at his home in Windsor.
Don retired from NASA as a Project Manager of the Scout Rocket Program in 1994 after 35 years of service. He was a Marine Corp veteran and played football at Vanderbilt and Kent State. He was proud to have been mentored and coached at Vanderbilt by Steve Belichick, who was like a father to him. He lettered and was Captain in track, baseball, football, and basketball in high school. For these achievements, Don was inducted into Canfield Athletic Hall of Fame Canfield, Ohio. He was a lifetime Patriots’ fan and fishing was his active passion.
He and his wife, Jo Anna S. McCracken, were members of First Baptist Church, Suffolk, VA, where together they founded a nursing home visitation ministry.
Don had a brother, Robert McCracken, a World War II pilot who flew 26 missions. Robert was 10 years older than Don. Robert’s wife, Rita, helped raise him and was like a mother to him. He also had a sister, Janice Murray.
Don is preceded in death by his wife Jo Anna and is survived by his children, Melissa Bent of El Granada, CA, Curt McCracken and his wife Marie of Raleigh, NC, and Jed McCracken and his wife Cookie of Charleston, SC.; his grandchildren, Erika G. Demme and her husband Zach of Christiansburg, VA and Ian A. Bent of El Granada, CA . He is also survived by two stepdaughters: Cindy Hodge (Leon) of Clover, SC, and Shari Gandee (Kavin) of Newport News, VA. Grandchildren: Bradley Harris (Laura) of Hoover, AL; Bekki Harris, of Greenville, SC; and Hollis Smith of Charlotte, NC. Also, a great grandson, Dallon Harris Taylor, of Greenville, SC. Especially appreciated were his sister-in-law Doris, and Don and Jo’s caregiver, Carol.
A private graveside service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday September 4, 2020 in Peninsula Memorial Park, Newport News, VA by Rev. Thurman Hayes. Arrangements are by Amory Funeral Home, Grafton, VA.