Donald Cruse, Jr. ’55

Donald Cruse, Jr. ’55 died on November 30, 2019, in Avon Lake, Ohio.

(The following was published by Busch Funeral Home)

Donald Cruse, Jr. formerly of Englewood, NJ and Westlake, OH, and most recently of Avon Lake, OH, died peacefully from complications of dementia on Saturday, November 30, 2019. Donald was born in New York, NY on October 14, 1932, the son of the late Donald Cruse, Sr. and Constance Dibble Cruse. One of his fondest memories of childhood was sailing small boats from the Shinecock Yacht Club in Quogue, NY where he spent summers with his family. After losing both parents as a young teen he attended Lawrenceville Academy in Princeton, NJ before enrolling at Bowdoin College. He enjoyed all Bowdoin had to offer and didn’t realize he also needed to maintain passing grades and was invited not to return after his first year. Following several odd jobs he served a stint in the US Army after WWII, traveling Europe while driving high-level officials and other Army Intelligence operatives to secret meetings. Upon learning that he could get out six months early with the GI Bill, his friends helped him find a college that would accept him.

He landed at Marietta College (OH) where met his wife-to-be Marialice Stuck (Mimi). He graduated on the Dean’s List with a BA in Economics. Mimi and Don were married and eventually moved to Euclid, OH where he began working with the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He attended Case Institute and graduated with a Masters of Business Administration, left the Fed and worked for several banks and investment firms before landing at Society National Bank ultimately retiring as Senior Vice President in Trust Investments. He served several terms as an officer and then president of CFA (Certified Financial Analysts) Society of Cleveland.

Don & Mimi moved to Bay Village, OH and then to Westlake, OH where they raised their three children and lived for 43 years. An avid sailor, Don joined the Cleveland Yachting Club (CYC) in Rocky River, OH where he was a successful racer and enjoyed the post-race camaraderie. Don owned sailboats of various sizes and raced Syndical, a Cal 40 in the Canadas Cup, and won the Roberts Race in Cruser Too, a Pearson Ariel. He also raced one-design in a Thistle and Starboat. He crewed on many sailboats, including in the SORC Ft. Lauderdale – Nassau race. He served on the board at CYC and was commodore for CYC’s 100th anniversary year in 1978. His last sailboat was Blew-By-You, a C&C 30. He then retired from boating when he sold Voilà!, a classic 1971 Chris Craft. Don and Mimi also enjoyed other activities with their children and friends, including golf, downhill skiing, tennis and many vacations in the northern Abaco Islands of the Bahamas.

In the larger community, Don served on the Board of Trustees for the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Huntington Reservation, and as President of the Board of the Cleveland Christian Home, a haven of hope and healing for children, youth and families struggling with mental illness, abuse and neglect. Don served as an Elder, treasurer, Chair of the Congregation, and on the Investment Committee at Westlake Christian Church, leading the campaign to retire the property mortgage early. When Don and Mimi moved to Avon Lake, Don served on many different committees at Avon Lake United Church of Christ for more than 10 years. In his later years he remained an avid reader and user of the public library system.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Mimi (nee Stuck); his children, Brian Cruse (Lisa), Bill Cruse (John Deuel) and Connie Hippler (Brian); grandchildren Samantha Cruse Orlosky (Thomas), Carter Cruse, Jess, Allie and Will Hippler; and great-grandson, Noah. He was predeceased by his parents, Donald, Sr. and Constance Cruse; sisters and brothers-in-law, Nancy and Haydock Miller and Jane and John Wright

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