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Donald Lee Sesslar

May 21, 1927 ~ May 9, 2019 (age 91)
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Donald Lee Sesslar, 91, crossed the finish line into Heaven on May 9, 2019 to join his sweet Maryjane. Don was surrounded by his loving children, Dawn and Steven, and granddaughter, Claire.

Don was born May 21, 1927 on the family farm in Washington Courthouse - Fayette County, Ohio. He was the son of Alice Louise Hall Sesslar and Walter Calvin Sesslar.

Don was a 1945 graduate of Lancaster High School and enlisted in the United States Navy two hours after graduating and was a Seaman 2nd Class. Don continued to serve for two years after World War II was over and was honorably discharged. He attended Miami University and then joined Ohio Bell Telephone in Columbus, Ohio.

In his younger years he fell in love with cars through his father and began stock car racing which lead to meeting Lancaster’s Cyrus Fulton. Cy asked Don to be his sports car driver behind the wheels of Porsches, Mustangs, Sunbeam Alpines, and Sunbeam Tigers. During Don’s three decades of racing, he assisted in the design of the Mid-Ohio Race Course and held the course record for many years. He raced in Elkart Lake, Wisconsin; Watkins Glen, New York; Daytona and Sebring, Florida; Indianapolis, and the Bahamas. He won three S.C.C.A. National Championships and held sports car driving licenses for NASCAR and the Sports Car Club of America.

Don’s most prized trophy was his 1959 President’s Cup won at Marlboro, Maryland in a Porsche RSK. This trophy was inaugurated by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954 while he was in office and has continued to be awarded every year since.

Don continued racing after marrying Maryjane Grummett in November 1957 as he climbed telephone poles for Ohio Bell. He successfully continued to climb to the position of executive account manager and serviced North American Aviation, Lazarus, and Western Electric before retiring in 1983 after 35 years.

Don’s need for speed put him in the seat of the pace car for four years for the Columbus 500 and he obtained his private pilot’s license, a gift from Maryjane. Don still did not stop… for 33 years he worked for Lancaster’s B & K Auto Parts and then Ohio Auto Kolor, having a second retirement at 89 years old!

Don’s retirement days were filled with numerous rounds of golf at Pleasant Valley Golf Course and playing in Myrtle Beach with his beloved “Hacker’s” group for 12 years. In 2012 in honor of his milestone, the Hacker’s dedicated their yearly award to Don and renamed it the “Sesslar Hacker’s Cup.”

Don was a 65 year member of The Grand Lodge of F&A.M. of Ohio, Lancaster Lodge #57, Grand Council of Royal & Select Masons of Ohio Council #3, Lancaster Commandery #2 Knights Templar - Sir Knight Donald L. Sesslar, and The Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Ohio.

Cherishing his life of excitement and memories are daughter, Dawn (Brian) Shonk; son, Steven (Betsy) Sesslar; beloved granddaughter, Claire Shonk; and loved friends: Dan & Janet Brown, Mike Kilbarger and family, Richard and Brenda Varney; and golf buddies: John Hammrick, Doug Gauerke, Jean Whitaker, Mark Chahulski, Chris Pratt, and Devin Bumgarner.

He is preceded in death by wife, Maryjane C. Sesslar (2010); his parents, Alice and Walter Sesslar; sister, June E. Hyer; and his Musketeers - Tom Henry and Rick Macioci.

Friends may call from 6 to 8 pm on Friday, May 17th at the Frank E. Smith Funeral Home and Crematory, 405 N. Columbus St, Lancaster. Celebration of Life Services will be held at 12:00 pm Saturday, May 18th at the funeral home. Per Don’s request, Caring Cremation will take place. In memory of Don, donations can be made to the Special Olympics of Ohio, 3303 Winchester Pike, Columbus, Ohio 43232.

Donations may be made to:

Special Olympics of Ohio
3303 Winchester Pike, Columbus OH 43232
Web: https://give.specialolympics.org/page/contribute/ohio

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