Donald E. Croteau, Sr, 72, of Melbourne, Fla., formerly of Lawrence, Mass., passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, after a courageous eight-month battle with cancer.
Donny or Don, as he was known, enlisted in the United States Air Force and was sent to boot camp shortly after graduating from Central Catholic High School in Lawrence. He served for 22 years beginning with the Vietnam War and retired as a Technical Sergeant (enlisted grade E6) shortly after his return from Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After retirement, he turned his attention to his family. In his words, “they supported me for 22 years, it’s my turn to give back to them.” He took up local employment and volunteered as an equipment manager and boat maintainer for his sons’ rowing clubs. Later, he followed his oldest son as they navigated three jobs; driving side-by-side and working together for over 25 years, which is how he came to be known as “Senior.”
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 52 years, Prapee (Lek); oldest son, Donald Jr, his girlfriend Aimee Davis and her son Hunter; youngest son, Alexander and grandchild Phoenyx. As well as sister-in-law, Diane of Manchester, NH; his sister Patricia Beaulieu and husband Robert; his brother, Neil and wife Diane of Derry, NH; his sister, Marie of Methuen, Mass.; his brother, Eugene (Skip) Jr and wife Marie of Peabody, Mass; and several nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Eugene and Claire (Theriault), and his two brothers, Russell and Jay.
A memorial service with military honors will be held at the Ammen Family Cremation & Funeral Care - Palm Bay, Fla. on April 29, 2023, at 11 a.m. This will be followed by a celebration of life at 3:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post #394 in Palm Bay as well.
In lieu of flowers, the family will split monetary contributions so next-of-kin can donate to the American Cancer Society and establish a money tree to the Wat Punyawanaram Thai Buddhist Temple in Melbourne, Fla., where he spent many Sundays with his wife until just before his passing.