Donald LaCombe, Ph.D.

Obituary of Donald J. LaCombe, Ph.D.

Donald J. LaCombe, Ph.D., 88, of DeWitt, passed away Friday, December 11, 2020 after a short illness. He was born December 8, 1932 in Syracuse, the son of the late Arthur and Mildred LaCombe. He achieved his Bachelor’s degree from LeMoyne College, his Master’s degree from University of Detroit and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Syracuse University. He initially worked at General Electric in the heavy military division and then settled into a long career as a reliability expert in the electronic laboratory at GE. After retiring from General Electric, he penned a book detailing the advanced physics of reliability engineering. Donald was a parishioner of Holy Cross Church, where he was an usher. He was active in the Jamesville-DeWitt PTA and Sports Booster club. He enjoyed tennis, bowling, and golf. After retirement, he loved to travel, particularly cruises. He and his late wife Peggy, toured the Mediterranean, Hawaii, Australia, Western Canada and Alaska. They wintered in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they took daily walks on the oceanfront. They enjoyed playing bridge and were members of the slightly rowdy Jonathan Craig Supper Club. Later in life, he truly enjoyed his daily life at the Nottingham residences in DeWitt. He developed a very special relationship with Patty Borer. He was treasurer of the Nottingham Residence Forum. He was the most devoted husband in the history of the world. He was a loving father, and grandfather. He loved his dogs (all beagles): over 40 years he cared for Snoopy, Honey, Dolly, and Itsy. He was preceded in death by his wife of almost 60 years, Margaret (Sperry) LaCombe. He is survived by his four children (who he loved almost as much as his dogs): Kathleen Dinsmore of Murrell’s Inlet, SC, David (Marjorie) LaCombe of DeWitt, Dr. Michael (Laura) LaCombe of Manlius, and Amy LaCombe, Ph.D. (Erica Graf) of Wellesley, MA; eight grandchildren, Charles and Joseph Dinsmore, Daniel and Nina LaCombe, Matthew and George LaCombe, and William and James LaCombe-Graf. He is also survived by his sister, Joan Mansbach of Santa Barbara, CA; and was predeceased by his sisters Marilyn Stevens and Marie Parker. A Mass of Christian Burial for the family will be private at Holy Cross Church in DeWitt. Interment will follow at White Chapel Memory Gardens in DeWitt. In lieu of flowers, kindly consider The Nottingham Residence Forum Fund, 1301 Nottingham Road, Jamesville NY 13078 in his memory. Arrangements are with Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel.
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Mass of Christian Burial will be private for members of the family.

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