Donald Hugh Piper was born September 14, 1930, and rode the Happy Trail on August 28. He has been married to his high school sweetheart over 66 years, Patricia Garner Piper. After graduation from Lee High School in Jacksonville, he began work with Southern Bell in 1949. His first job in Fernandina Beach was to roll a wheelbarrow down Centre Street that was stocked with telephones that had dials and change out the telephones that didn’t have dials. He went on to become a lineman and installer before transferring to Jacksonville to work in PBX repair. He rose to PBX repair foreman then ended his career in 1985 as PBX repair instructor. Although he struggled in High School to pass English in order to graduate, his last task with Bell South was to write technical manuals on PBX installation and repair. Shortly after retiring from Bell South, he founded Coastal Telephone Systems and continued to install and service telecom equipment.
He finally retired from the telecom industry in 1990, ending a 41 year career in the telecom industry. Coastal Telephone Systems/Coastal-tel.com continued to service the Nassau County community for 20 more years. As a young man, Don enjoyed racing boats in the Amelia River, seining for fish in the ocean with his Southern Bell and Florida Public Utility friends, hunting, camping, and fishing the creeks off-island for panfish. He loved to ride his registered Cracker horse in Ft. White where his property abutted River Rise State Park, and won prizes for the endurance rides and being the oldest rider. He was also a volunteer at the area state parks. He was a member of the Fernandina Beach Optimist Club, a Mason for over 50 years with Amelia Lodge 47, Fernandina Beach Baptist Church, Yulee Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church High Springs.
Predeceasing him were his parents, Lawrence Milton and Rozelle Douglas Piper. He is survived by his daughters Kathy Piper, Fernandina Beach, and Cynthia Piper Evers, Ft. White, a son, Lawrence (Carol) Piper, Jacksonville, FL, a sister, Carol Baldwin, Auburndale, FL, five grandkids, eight great grandkids, numerous nieces, nephews and cousins, and many, many friends.
A memorial service is scheduled at Evans Carter Funeral Home Chapel on Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 10:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to Haven Hospice, Chiefland Branch, FL, or Ayers Health & Rehabilitation Center, Trenton, FL. Arrangements are under the care of Evans Carter Funeral Home, 18724 N. Main St., High Springs, FL, 32643, 386-454-2444.
Happy trails to you, Don Piper-
Till we meet again.