Don Fries was born on July 29, 1930, to Harry Fries and Ida (nee Scheffler) in Plainfield, New Jersey. He passed from this life peacefully surrounded by family on August 7, 2019 at Orchard Pointe at Arrowhead in Glendale, Arizona. Don was the eldest of three children. He had two brothers, Jim and Bill. He graduated from the University of Colorado with an Engineering Physics degree. He married Ester (nee White) on April 8, 1967. Don and Ester celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary 2 years ago with a party for family and friends. Together they raised two daughters, Lisa and Kristi, in Redondo Beach, California. In 1990 they moved back to Phoenix and lived in Peoria until January of 2015. His wife Ester passed away on July 4, 2017. Don loved everything about airplanes and the history of flight. He went to work at Sperry Gyroscope in 1951 as an aeronautical engineer. During his career he travelled extensively throughout Europe, North America, South America and Asia. He worked at Sperry, which was later acquired by Honeywell, for 52 years. His role at Sperry and Honeywell was instrumental in the development of early analog autopilot systems, gyroscopes and other modern flight instruments for the B-47 bomber, DC-6, DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-80, MD-90 and 727 aircrafts. Don was a lifelong learner, always reading non-fiction books and the newspaper. He enjoyed his work, travelling, and taking his young daughters to the park and beach. During their married life, Ester and Don travelled often with their girls throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe. He was a pilot and flew glider planes in the 1960's and spent many hours in the library in constant pursuit of knowledge. Don was an active member of the Church of Christ where he served as a Deacon and adult bible class teacher while in California. Don and Ester opened their home for small group bible study and evenings of Christian fellowship while living in both California and Arizona. Don is survived by his two daughters, Lisa and Kristi, four grandchildren, Hannah, Gabby, Josh and Emily, brother Jim, a large extended family and many friends. Don was preceded in death by his wife Ester, and his brother Bill.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made in Don's name to the Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation, Child Protection Team, 2929 E. Camelback Road, Suite 122, Phoenix, AZ 85016 Funeral services are planned for August 12, 2019 at the West Resthaven Funeral Home, 6450 W. Northern Ave. Glendale, Arizona. The viewing will be at 9:30 am with the service to follow at 10:00 am.
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