Donald Raymond Ebinger, formerly of Cedar Rapids, died peacefully July 13, 2016, at his home in Fountain Hills, Ariz. A memorial service is set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at First Presbyterian Church, 310 Fifth St. SE, Cedar Rapids, with the Rev. Heather Hayes and the Rev. Kay Slocum presiding. Reception follows at Clark Alumni House on the Coe College campus. Friends are urged NOT to send flowers; instead consider a memorial donation to First Lutheran Church in Cedar Rapids, Music Ministries, 1000 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403; or any charity of choice.
Donald was the third child of Sophia (Wittler) and the Rev. Frederick C. Ebinger, born in Grand Island, Neb., on April 18, 1923. He graduated from Hoskins High School in 1941. He studied at Westmar College in LeMars and in the Army at University of Wyoming, Laramie, earning his baccalaureate degree from Coe College in 1947. In 1948, he received an MBA with honors from Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. He and Ruth Friedrich were married in Omaha, Neb., on March 20, 1948. They settled in Cedar Rapids, where Don was employed by Bishop Cafeterias as an accountant. Retiring from Bishop Buffets Inc. in 1986, Don had been chairman of the board for 10 years.
Early on golf became Don's activity of choice. Retirement was permission to leave Midwest winters behind to play golf whenever! Don and Ruth discovered the area northeast of Phoenix, Ariz., (Fountain Hills) to be ideal. At 10 years in, they changed their seasonal commute to Flagstaff, Ariz. They thrived on the best of each setting, hosting folks from home and new friends and neighbors. Periodic travel, good times with people and good food aplenty to go around proved to be delights not taken for granted.
After Ruth's death in April 2006, Don continued in both locales until his health issues prevailed, so took an apartment in Fountain Hills year round. Once his grand 90th birthday party came and went, there was still golf, walking, family, friends, visitors, church and his Mustang convertible to enjoy with as much zest as possible. Fountain View Village in Fountain Hills proved a true home with great warmth, laughter and love given and received.
Don was a true churchman in and outside of tradition. He demonstrated his theology -- that participation, discernment, innovation and working together were both fuel and results of the faith he learned and practiced. He fulfilled commitments at Salem Evangelical United Brethren and First Lutheran Churches (Cedar Rapids), Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church (Fountain Hills) and Peace Lutheran Church (Flagstaff), and beyond.
Don cared deeply for people and with Ruth channeled this in a seemingly tireless avocation. As board member, officer, trustee and disciple, he learned roles as adviser, visionary and leader to help others realize their well being, hopes and promise, from family to the world. First Lutheran, United Community Services, Churches United, St. Luke's Health Foundation and Coe College are among local organizations he served. In Arizona, neighborhood parish Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran and Opportunity International, a microfinance nonprofit that assists un- and under-served people in developing countries, supplied his new horizons. It pleased and energized Don to know he made a real difference in people's lives
Don is survived by his children, Elizabeth Ebinger Boesen of Penn Yan, N.Y., and David Ebinger of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and Boone; granddaughter, Karin (Boesen) Earle (Joshuah) of Syracuse, N.Y.; granddaughter, Bina Mae Emerson Ebinger Sack and her mother, Catharina Sack of Perth, West Australia; sister-in-law, Marjorie Ebinger of Cedar Rapids; many nieces and nephews all over; and dear friend and golf partner, Donald Johnson of Cedar Rapids.
He was preceded in death by Ruth Friedrich Ebinger; his parents; brothers, Melvin and Irvin; sisters, Dorothy Farrington and Velma Goettel; niece, Rebecca Ebinger Greer; and 10 sisters- and brothers-in-law.
Don's family offers profound thanks to everyone who cherished him, especially his recent caregivers with Home Instead Senior Care of Phoenix, Fountain View Village's Legacy Court and Comprehensive Hospice and Palliative Care, for treating him as though he were their own.