Donald Beauchene Jr. passed away on November 17, 2020, after contracting COVID-19 at work.
Don’s relationship with God was the first and foremost relationship in his life. He worked in several ministries. Don emceed at the local Relay for Life for over a decade and was a talented, self-taught drummer. After graduating high school, he traveled the country with New Life Drama Company, ministering to many people through music and drama.
In Don’s early 20s, he knew it was time to pursue his lifelong dream to become a firefighter. Over 26 years ago, he started his career with the Warren City Fire Department in Warren, Ohio. He was an exemplary leader. Don gave 100% every day he was at work. He was a true mentor to the new guys, as a great firefighter, but also in life. At Don’s celebration of life, his son-in-law said that Don’s shift never ended. When he left work, he served his wife, his family, and his community.
After 9/11, Don assisted with clean up in NYC and in Shanksville. He went to New Orleans with the Red Cross to help after Hurricane Katrina. Donnie went on several mission trips to Guatemala, Bogota, and served at the New York City and Pittsburgh Dream Centers.
Don and Michelle blended two families, including Don’s two sons and Michelle’s four daughters. Four years ago, after their biological children were adults, they decided to make a difference in four siblings’ lives by giving them their forever home. Their story was featured on national news and Good Morning America in November 2018. Their large family, which also includes five grandchildren, is often referred to as the modern-day Brady Bunch and the real life This is Us.
Don and Michelle had a fairytale marriage. They truly lived life to the fullest. They loved to travel, ride their motorcycle, do home projects together, “glamp,” and spend time with their family and friends. Every Sunday was “Pasta Sunday” at the Beauchenes’. If you were there, you would be part of making homemade pasta and singing Frank Sinatra songs. Holidays were also fun. They hosted family and friends for dinners and parties. Every holiday, Don and Michelle would buy groceries, turkeys, and hams to hand deliver to people in need in their community.
Don left a legacy in his children, his community, and his fellow firefighters. He led by example. After Don’s passing, Michelle was presented with the Medal of Valor in honor of Don’s exemplary performance, exceptional courage, extreme personal risk, and for being instrumental in saving lives.
Don will forever be deeply missed by all who knew him.