Donald D. Deixel
Donald D. Deixel, 92, of Yonkers/Bronxville, died peacefully on January 11, 2021 after a short illness.
He is survived and greatly missed by beloved wife Gloria (Lazarus); daughter Amy Kovach and husband Kevin McLaughlin; son Adam Deixel and wife Jenny Mandel; granddaughters Emily Kovach (and Ryan Ellis), Lauren Kovach (and Mike Harpring), Izzie Deixel (and Jason Saltiel) and Sophie Deixel; and great-granddaughter Ruby Ellis; and is remembered fondly by his family and many friends. His parents Arthur and Hilda (Grossblatt) Deixel and siblings Vardon Deixel and Jaclin Yager predeceased him.
Don grew up in the Mosholu Parkway area of the north Bronx and attended Evander Childs High School, where his father was a long-time Latin teacher. He moved with his family to Yonkers as a teenager, and attended Harvard College beginning at age 16. After graduating, he went to work in the travel division of the Automobile Club of New York (AAA), where he met, courted, and married his coworker Gloria Lazarus. Don and Gloria were happily married for more than 67 years.
Don was a loving husband, father, grandpa, great-grandpa, son, brother, uncle, and friend. He had a long career in the travel industry and ran a number of small businesses, but he never defined himself by his career ambitions or achievements but rather by his broad intellectual interests and endless curiosity about people. A lifelong reader and puzzler, Don knew—and happily shared—facts about seemingly millions of esoteric subjects, and he marshalled those facts (and others that he made up) to pursue and usually win arguments with anyone who was willing. He was an enthusiastic conversationalist, and especially loved to engage children, whom he would ask incisive open-ended questions and demand detailed, genuine answers. Since his youth, he was a lover of folk music—American, English, Scottish, and especially Irish—and the only thing that made him happier than listening to it was singing and playing along on his guitar or banjo. Don was his family’s unofficial poet laureate, composing beautiful acrostic sonnets to commemorate birthdays and other family occasions. Never a religious believer, he nonetheless led the family’s raucous Passover Seder for more than five decades; always an independent voter (because, he said, both parties were too conservative for him), Don was thrilled in one of his last phone calls to hear the news that the Democrats had taken the Senate by winning both seats in Georgia.
Sporting a big white beard, which he grew out to massive size as the holidays approached, Don was a professional Santa for more than 30 years, delighting thousands of children at parties, shopping malls, churches, and social service agencies. For many decades, Don was a proud member, Melvin Jones Fellow, and past president of the Tuckahoe/Eastchester Lion’s Club, and he greatly valued the opportunities for fellowship, friendship, and community service that the club provided for him and his fellow Lions.
He will be lovingly remembered, and deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, donations in Don’s memory may be made to the Nature Conservancy or to a food pantry in your community helping those affected by Covid-19.