Don was born in Morgan, NJ on January 10, 1924. His mother, Rose Banyai, had immigrated from Hungary in 1907. Don’s first few years were marked by misfortune, as his father left the family and his baby sister Violet was tragically killed in an accident. When he was five, he and his mother moved to Millwood/Chappaqua, NY. In 1929, Rose married Carl Reynolds, the man Don considered to be his true father.
Many of Don’s fondest memories came from growing up in Chappaqua in the 1930’s and early 1940’s. He connected with a local illustrator and became a child model, appearing on the cover of Parents Magazine and Foreign Service magazine, and in various print and billboard ads. At Horace Greeley High School he played three sports, and was known as Stretch Reynolds on the basketball court. He was named the Greeley Boy Who Did the Most for the School in 1941. At the age of 18, he faced another tragic moment when his mother, Rose, was killed in a car accident.
Following his graduation from Horace Greeley, Don attended Rider College in Lawrenceville, NJ. At Rider, he participated in the re-enactment of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, which received national attention. Don’s college years were interrupted when he joined the Army in 1942. At Fort Knox in Kentucky, he began tank training, but was found to be too tall to operate inside a tank. He was then moved into logistics and was sent to Bristol, England as part of D-Day invasion planning. He shipped out from Southampton and landed in Normandy on June 21, 1944. During the war, he was stationed in France, Belgium and Germany. His proudest moment came when he commanded a Freedom Train, which brought freed prisoners of war home to France.
Back in the States, Don graduated from Rider and began his career as a sports reporter for the Port Chester (NY) Daily Item. During this time, he met the love of his life, Sally Heenan, a registered nurse from Brooklyn who was working at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mt Kisco. They married in 1949. During a marriage that spanned 67 years, they oversaw a loving family of four children, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
After starting his career in journalism, Don moved into marketing, and held positions at Pet Milk, Progressive Grocer Magazine and J. Walter Thompson. He completed his career at Hartz Mountain. When Don and Sally retired to Fairfax County, his life focused on family and a return to some of the passions of his youth. He wrote a column called the Old School Tie for the sports booster newsletter of Horace Greeley HS in Chappaqua. In 2009, Don returned to Normandy for the 65th anniversary of D-Day. He established a close connection with the Bon Sauveur school in St. Lo. Over the next eleven years, he frequently interacted with faculty and students, helping to keep the memories of WWII and the liberation of France alive.
During retirement years, Don and Sally converted their antique collecting hobby into a small business. Don had a particular interest in sports memorabilia and duck decoys. Tennis was also important for Don, and he continued playing until he was well into his 80’s.
After the death of his beloved Sally in 2016, Don was sustained by the love of his family and Greenspring friends. He was actively involved with the New Yorkers’ club at Greenspring and maintained his strong connections with Chappaqua and St. Lo, Normandy. Following Don’s death, the Bon Sauveur school in St. Lo announced that a classroom will be named in Don’s memory, the Troisième Don Reynolds.
Don will be remembered by all who knew him as a gentle, thoughtful man with a brilliant memory and passions for learning, teaching and writing. He loved, and he is beloved.