YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – After several days of wintry weather, it seemed almost fitting when the sun broke through the clouds over Saint Christine parish this morning as family, friends, and co-workers arrived for a prayer service for Don Guthrie.
“Don was just a down-to-earth-guy,” former co-worker Teresa Weakly said.
Weakly and another former co-worker, Joe Aulisio, came down from Buffalo where they’re working now, remembering how Don never seemed to lose the ability to make those around him smile.
“I would tease him a lot at the end of the kickers, and I would toss to him,” Aulisio said. “And I never knew what he was going to say coming back, and that’s what made it fun.”
Inside, colleague Paul Wetzl eulogized his friend and mentor, calling Don everyone’s “father away from home,” saying those who spent the time talking with him are the lucky ones now.
“Don welcomed me with open arms, and that was one of the endearing things about him,” former co-worker Bridget Mahoney said. “And he had an enormous capacity to support those of us at the station who were on our journeys.”
Don’s three children also spoke. His son David told the gathering the most important lesson he learned from his father was perseverance, saying Don may have lost his battle with cancer, but he won his war with life: A message even contained in the songs selected for the service by Don’s wife Debbie.
And she and Don have been through a great journey, and her family, and it’s just the songs that we’re gonna sing are gonna touch how she felt about her husband,” St. Christine Choir member Andrea DiBacco said.
One of Don’s daughters, Kristy, read a passage called “what cancer cannot do”..saying “It cannot silence courage..It cannot conquer the spirit,” adding her father never let his illness get the best of him, and making the lives of those he touched so much the better.