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Donald Charles Sidak

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ALEXANDRIA, La. — Donald Charles Sidak died peacefully at his home in Alexandria, La., May 9, 2022, after a long battle with cancer. He was active until the last few months and almost made it to his 97th birthday.

Memorial services will be Sept. 16, at 2 p.m., at the Wintz Funeral Home, Hartington, Donald Sidak

with the Rev. Amanda Talley officiating.

Burial of his cremated remains will be at the Hartington City Cemetery, with military rites by the Hartington VFW Post #5283.

The family will receive friends from 1 p.m. until service time at the Wintz Funeral Home.

Don was born on the Sidak family farm in Cedar County, June 13, 1925, to Joseph and Hilda Wilhelmina (Winger) Sidak. He graduated from Hartington (Nebraska) High School in 1942 at the age of 16, and immediately moved to California. In 1943, he joined the Navy, and by the time he was 18 he had completed pilot training, was commissioned an ensign and ultimately served as a torpedo bomber pilot. After he was discharged from the Navy in 1947, he transferred to the newly created U.S. Air Force. Until 1950, he flew P-51 Mustangs with the 82nd Fighter Bomber Wing at Grenier Air Force Base, N.H. After a manpower drawdown, he was released from the Air Force and for a brief time he attended engineering school at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. His schooling was short lived when in 1951, he was recalled to active duty and sent to the 406th Fighter Bomber Wing in Godman Air Force Base, Ky. Six months later, his unit was sent to England where he flew single-engine, turbo-jet F-84s and F-86s. Don spent three and one half years at RAF Manston, England, and flew deterrence missions throughout Europe and North Africa. While in England, he was briefly married to his girlfriend from his time at Drake University. His tour in Europe complete, he was transferred to England Air Base in Alexandria, where he continued to fly F-86s before transitioning to being an instructor teaching instrument flying. From 1959 to 1963, he transitioned to flying B-47 Bombers out of Lake Charles Air Force Base, La., as part of Strategic Air Command’s global deterrence mission. During this time, he spent many months on alert, either at Lake Charles or at forward bases like Nouasseur Air Base in Morocco. His final years in the Air Force were spent flying in an Air Weather Squadron conducting atmospheric sampling and radiation detection work in the Arctic region. He logged close to 6,000 flying hours before retiring in 1965, attaining the rank of Major.

After his retirement from the Air Force, he went back to school and received his law degree from Southern University in 1975. He was a practicing attorney in Alexandria for decades, where he enjoyed helping people in need.

Everyone who met Don knows that he lived life to the fullest and loved flying, fast cars, and visiting the local casino. He enjoyed telling stories and his quick wit and sense of humor made being around him an unforgettable experience.

Don is survived by a sister, Julia White, Colleyville, Texas, and 13 nieces and nephews; Jackie White Wall, Plano, Texas; Greg Sidak, McLean, Va.; Warren Wilbeck, Hartington; Hollie White, Colleyville, Texas; Rosemary Averitt Rutherford, Kahului, Hawaii; Larry White, Dove Canyon, Calif.; Stephana Mehl, Tustin, Calif.; Doris Ann Averitt May, San Marcos, Texas; Julie Mehl, Napa, Calif.; Cheryl Sidak Charette, Temecula, Calif.; Julie Averitt Schneider, Canyon Lake, Texas,: Kathy White Hadley, Colleyville, Texas; Carolyn Averitt, San Marcos, Texas; a cousin, Bonnie Sidak Dewell, Norfolk; and several great-nieces and nephews, and friends who will forever miss him and always remember him.

Don was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Hilda; three of his sisters, Annie Wilbeck, Wilma Mehl and Doris Averitt; and his four brothers, Julius, Joseph Jr., and baby brothers, Frank and Leonard.