Donald J. Nimphius

5 April, 19324 March, 2021
Donald James Nimphius Sr. 88 of Miller Place was called up to heaven on March 4th, 2021 after playing the most competitive schedule he could every day of his life. Don’s fight against cancer 25 years ago allowed him to play through the fourth quarter of life and even into overtime. Donald is predeceased by his beloved wife Marianne. Don was the proud father of Marian (Cole) (wonderful husband Jim Highum and beautiful daughter Grace) and son DJ (and his son Wyatt). Donald J. Nimphius Sr is survived by his sister Marguerite as well as nieces (Amy, Hillary, Beth) and nephew Edmund. He is predeceased by his brother August Charles Nimphius Jr., mother Florence, and father August C. Nimphius Sr. Donald was born on April 5th, 1932 in Mount Vernon, NY. As a youth, Don developed his passion for athletics (football in particular where he was a 4 year two way starter on the varsity) and music (the saxophone which he parlayed into making some extra loot). He graduated from Pelham Memorial High School in 1951 and immediately enlisted in the United States Navy during the Korean War, where despite serving his country, he figured out a way to play football at Quonset Point (Rhode Island). Don was discharged from the Navy in 1953 and enrolled at the University of Vermont on the GI Bill. He majored in Political Science and became an aficionado of the United States Constitution. He was a 3 year letterman on the football team at UVM as well graduating in 1960. Don, and his wife Marianne, started their married life at the University of Vermont. He became a teacher, coach, and football official in the state of New Hampshire before moving out to Brentwood, Long Island in the early 1960s. He spent most of his teaching career in the Smithtown School District – particularly as he would say at East. He was a dedicated member of the faculty (Social Studies) and coaching staff (Football) for over 20 years. He was most proud of his desire to master the intricacies of the game of football specifically offensive line play and defensive philosophy. He was an oft published writer for major football strategic magazines. Don and his family moved to Miller Place in 1968. He joined the fire department in 1969 as a member of the Engine Company. He would later serve as Chief and Commissioner of the department serving actively for 50 years. He enjoyed the camaraderie of the Fire Department as he was part of a generation that believed in serving and giving back to the community. A man of many a quick-witted quote, he was once asked what it was like fighting the infamous East End Brush Fires of the 1990s. His response – “it was hot.” Donald Nimphius Sr. was an avid golfer – Harbor Hills – traveling throughout Long Island and the East Coast. He began taking voice lessons following his retirement from teaching in the late 80’s and spent endless hours rehearsing at home. He thoroughly enjoyed music enough that his called him the mercenary of marching bands as he would show up and play the bass drum for any fire department marching band in need throughout Suffolk County. After all, “you get 25 bucks and free eats.” He was always on the move. Don was an active member of the Empire State Passenger Association (ESPA) traveling regularly upstate to Schenectady, New York for meetings. His collection of model railroad cars as well as his meticulous notes on the history of the railroad were unbelievable. He rarely traveled by plane anywhere in the United States. He would rather take the train –“The only darn way you can really see what this country is about is by taking the train.” Donald Nimphius Sr. was a proud man who cared and provided for his family. Beyond the tough exterior was a person who marveled at what his wife Marianne has accomplished as an educator and a tough loving mom. He introduced his daughter Marian to music and encouraged her to practice and perform at the highest level. He was the best parent of an athlete as he simply put a ball in his son DJ’s hand and then disappeared into the background to observe, not interfere, watching only to make sure that his kid understood that the game – not the individual – had to be enough. Overtime was not easy for Donald Sr. He struggled with the loss of his wife Marianne tremendously. His two dogs, Buddy and Missy kept him alive for probably longer than his body was willing to permit. But, as he would consistently say. “in this life, there is no choice – you show up” - period.” May he, his wife, his predeceased family members, and kennel of dogs now meet again and enjoy the freedom of eternity.

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Friday, 12 March, 2021


Friday, 12 March, 2021

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Saturday, 13 March, 2021