DONALD EARLE RIDEOUT
March 16, 1939 - September 16, 2023
“Honey.” That’s a word said and heard by Don Rideout for 67 years after meeting Joan Trombley at 16 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. That word and his lifelong love of Joan defined him. So did others — kindness, gentleman, father, Marine.
When his soul moved on September 16, 2023, his children, friends and family found many ways to say the same thing: Don Rideout was a good and kind man, a rare thing in this world.
Born in Woburn, Massachusetts on March 16, 1939, into a big family, his older brothers teased and protected him, and his sisters adored him. He lived in Maine, New Jersey, New York, and, finally, Boston as a boy where his father baked cakes and pies and kept a few feet ahead of the bill collectors.
Don met Joan at a laundry where they both worked. Pictures from those days show a smiling couple full of love with the world ahead of them. He joined the U.S. Marines and married. And off they went to North Carolina, where Don came home at lunch just to see his toddler son Donald Jr., and help feed his new baby, Greg. To Hawaii, where he taught his four children to swim in the ocean, ride bikes, and bowl. He helped put pigtails in daughter Donna’s mess of curly red hair and carried Kevin on his shoulders as they spent hours at Little League games. In Hawaii and elsewhere, his kids often accompanied him to the bowling lanes, where he won tournaments and bowled multiple games over 200.
Don Rideout was there for each of them, even when he was called away. He served two tours in Vietnam. He earned the highest enlisted rank in the Marine Corps, Master Gunnery Sergeant. His officers relied on him, and his soldiers depended on him. He earned a chest full of medals and commendations.
Don left the Marines after 22 years, taking classes to earn his degrees, picking up golf, and working for Craven County. He loved to fish with his sons Donald and Kevin. He was arguably most proud of his youngest child and only daughter Donna, who captured his heart the minute she arrived. Don gave patience and love to all his children, even Greg, who thought he knew more than his father, but finally learned how much he didn’t know from his father’s inherent
wisdom and goodness.
Don did all the things a good man did. He always gave Joan presents on her birthday. Don worked hard, including second jobs that helped bring bikes for Christmas and gloves for baseball. He mowed the lawn and won the yard of the month. He coached his kids and oversaw baseball tournaments for the community. Don took his children on Sunday rides to Dairy Queen and road trips across the country to Disneyland as they moved from one base to another. Don
even, sometimes, broke into a song, amusing his family and friends. His grandchildren loved when he belted out “The Wheels on the Bus.”
Don loved his grandchildren and great-grandchildren tremendously. “Grampy” played with them and cared for them. He took them for ice cream and told them stories. He read to them and cooked for them. Don reveled in each child’s unique personality. His kindness and goodness gave them confidence in the world, a special gift from Don’s unconditional love.
Don made a beautiful life with Joan. Family. Travel. Smiles. Laughs. Love. Even if they had been given more time or money — their time here could not have been better. Don and Joan’s life together was as close to perfect as life gets.
Donald Earle Rideout is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Joan; his forever grateful children, Donald Jr. and wife Jackie, Gregory and wife Diana, Kevin and wife Shelly, and Donna and husband Dave; his loving grandchildren, April and husband Brian, Hannah and partner Grant, Joanie, Kevin, and Zachary; his grandchildren by marriage, Amanda, Chris, Abigail, Harry, Michelle, Michael, and Joseph; his great-grandchildren including Ava, Bradley, and June; great-grandchildren by marriage, Daemon, Nicholas, Angel, C.J., Lilly, Noah, Cam, Reagan, and Tanner; as well as his sisters, Winnie and Sandra.
He was predeceased by his brothers, Sonny, Charlie, George, and Bobby; sisters, Ruby, Shirley, Helen, Alice, and Linda; and great-grandchild by marriage, Brayden.
A wake will be held at Munden Funeral Home in Morehead City on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Don will be buried, with full military honors, at 1:45 p.m., Friday, September 29th at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts.
Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net
Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Cremations in Havelock, NC.