Don was born in Corona, Queens, NY in 1943 to David and Ruth Schaller. His earliest memory was of his father returning from WWII in his military uniform. He often shared happy childhood memories about close relationships with his grandparents, outings around the city with his parents and sister, and watching and playing baseball. He graduated from City College of NY with a degree in engineering and later added an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson to round out his preparation for a career in research and engineering leadership.
Don met Carmela (Motto) at a dance in 1965 and they married in 1967. Their relationship would be the center of his world for the rest of his life. After 30 years of marriage, he was inspired by Carmela's practice of her faith to join the Catholic Church. They raised two daughters together, both of whom know that they were blessed to have one of the best fathers that God ever gifted to anyone. He was a great "girl dad", but he clearly enjoyed the addition of a son-in-law to the family for manly discussions of sports, politics, and comedies that his wife and daughters didn't think were funny. Finally, three granddaughters arrived, and he reveled in being known first as "the baby whisperer" for his ability to walk and soothe and then as a doting and lenient grandpa. As the girls became teenagers, he got hip with texting, signing off as "gpa".
Don was serious about his hobbies. He ran 75 marathons and multiple ultramarathons. After wearing out his feet, he moved on to bicycling, riding with Carmela and clubs. In his 70s, he took up golf and played a few times per week with Carmela and groups in FL and MA. He was the family chef and took pride in perfecting holiday meals and causal nightly dinners. He was an avid reader, a stellar listener, and a deep thinker with a quick sense of humor.
Don is survived by his wife of 56 years Carmela, daughter Kathy Schaller, daughter Kelly Mangano and her husband Michael and their three daughters, Maddy, Morgan, and Mia, sister Karen Weinstein and her husband Marc.