Writing Clerical 01

Donald Marvin Gwaltney

June 25, 1936 ~ May 27, 2022 (age 85)


Donald Gwaltney went home to be with the Lord on May 27, 2022. On June 25, 1936, Don was born in Oklahoma and then his family moved to California where he was raised by his mother, Mozelle, in Murphys.  A graduate of Bret Harte High School, Don went off to college to pursue his first love, football. He tackled and blocked for several schools throughout California giving opponents and his coaches plenty to handle. Don spent summers working with his step-father, Leonard, as a lumberjack. It was during these summers and growing up in Murphys that Don got his fight, strength and work ethic that would sustain him throughout his life.

Don eventually landed at the University of San Diego where he played football and also became the editor of the student newspaper. While at San Diego, Don fell in love with writing as well as Carol June O’Connor. After graduation, he had a brief run at sports-writing.  Don moved to Chicago where he secured a job as a copy writer at Leo Burnett Company, and Carol’s hand in marriage.

The two moved north to Lake Forest where they raised a family and built a life. Don pursued his next great love, golf, at Knollwood Club while enjoying other hobbies and interests that included gardening, hunting and the bugle, which could be heard often. It was tough to determine what was louder the bugle or Don’s voice. His voice as well as his personality, sense of humor and story telling took over any room he entered. If you were with Don, you had fun and laughed.

His career took off taking him to places like Barbados, London, Hollywood, Detroit and Caracas. He wrote and worked on ads for General Motors, Philip Morris, and Union Carbide, to name a few. Two of the more celebrated campaigns were Marlboro Country and “This Is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile.”  His career ended where it started at Leo Burnett as Group Creative Director and Executive Vice President. His love and talent for writing went beyond advertising as he wrote several books, articles, editorials, eulogies, wedding toasts and his kids’ term papers. If you needed words, he was your guy.

Don and Carol headed south after retirement to Spring Island in Okatie, South Carolina. He loved all that the “Low Country” had to offer: golf, fishing, hunting and entertaining friends and family at their dream house on Ibis Lane.

He is survived by his siblings: Duane Gwaltney, Norma Duncan and Barbara Noble; the love of his life and wife of almost 60 years, Carol; his children: John (Jane), Peter, Tommy (Hope) and Susie Mineo (Frank) plus nine grandchildren: Connor (Kelsey), Luke (Grace), Hannah and Emmett Gwaltney, Matthew, Molly and Lucy Mineo, and Maggie and Sophie Gwaltney, plus one great-grandson, Finnegan Gwaltney.  

We are saddened by Don’s passing but are so blessed to have called him husband, Dad, Papa and friend. To celebrate this life well lived; a memorial service is tentatively scheduled at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church, Bluffton, SC on August 6th, 2022 at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a donation to your favorite local charity.  


A service summary is not available
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