The extraordinary life of Don Drummond has come to an end. He died February 29, 2020 in the comfort of his home in Hastings, in the company of those he loved.
For over 35 years, Don was a driving force in the business and spiritual life of Barry County, was a visionary who was instrumental in bringing new ideas and lasting vitality to his community. He sought to preserve the small-town virtues of Hastings while pushing for long-term, thoughtful sustainability, and leaves a legacy of hands-on philanthropy and selfless mentorship that will be remembered for generations to come.
Act 1 of Don’s life began in Peoria, Illinois. He started making his income early, with a series of part-time jobs, learned self-determination and discipline. He attended the University of Illinois (`57, BA Economics) where some of his best times were spent at the Fiji house (Phi Gamma Delta), on campus stages and adding his soaring baritone to various campus glee clubs. It was a shared love of singing that brought him into the orbit of Susan Black.
Marrying in 1957, Don and Sue moved to Columbus, Indiana where Don began rising through the management ranks of the Cummins Engine Company. They also grew to a family of five. Cummins sent Don to build an engine manufacturing plant in Daventry, England. The Drummonds returned to the US in the mid-’70s.
Act 2 found Don in West Michigan, first as VP of Manufacturing at Herman Miller, then VP and GM at Flexfab, and finally President of Spectra Products Corp. Don and Sue came to Hastings dedicated to the arts, long-range planning and community building. They invigorated and transformed the culture with their energy, imagination and can-do spirit and started a unique festival called FiberFest, a comprehensive celebration of fiber animals and fiber arts.
Don was a founding member of the Barry County Futuring Committee, on the original board of the Barry Community Foundation and was a leading member of a robust patchwork of committees devoted to economic development, planning, land-use and zoning issues. His energy, insight and persistence made all of these ventures successful. One of the great sadnesses of his life, however, was that Sue could not share fully in these triumphs. Sue was struck down by cancer in 1995.
Act 3 of Don’s life began with his marriage to Sandi in 1997, a long-time friend and perfect partner. In retirement, his commitment to the enduring good health of Hastings and Barry County grew, as did his involvement with First Presbyterian Church of Hastings. A key figure in building the new church, he was deeply involved in the church’s mission work to Mexico and Honduras.
Don believed in people power, rolling up his shirt sleeves, getting things done and working as a team with humor and humility. He challenged himself and everyone around him to set tough goals and achieve them. He took also the time to mentor those around him without judgement and always gained a friend in the process. He will be missed.
Don was preceded in death by his parents Jay and Edna, and his first wife Susan. He is survived by his wife Sandi, her daughter Erin Welker and son-in-law Matt Welker; son Dike and wife Sherri, son David and wife Annie, daughter Dana and husband Jim; brother Roger and family; and nine fantastic grandchildren and one even more fantastic great granddaughter.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Noah’s Ark Preschool, https://www.noahsarkschool.org/donate.html, the First Presbyterian Church of Hastings, 405 N. M-37 Highway, Hastings, MI 49058 or the Barry County Parkinson’s Support Group at the Barry County Commission on Aging, https://www.barrycounty.org/commission_on_aging_new/donations.php, 220 W. State St. Hastings, MI 49058.
Visitation will be Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 10 a.m. with a Celebration of Life Service to follow at 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church of Hastings, 405 N. M-37, Hastings, MI 49058, with luncheon following.
Arrangements by Girrbach Funeral Home. To leave an online condolence, visit www.girrbachfuneralhome.net.