Last modified on 04/24/07 - Donald Kotay Home Page

Donald Kotay : March 17, 1925 - November 16, 2000

This web page is dedicated to the memory of Donald Kotay. It is impossible to summarize a life with a web page, but the hope is that his life will not be forgotten...

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This site is under construction. Additional content will be added soon...

Donald in the Kotay family photo

Donald Kotay was the third child of Zarko and Danitza Kotay. He was born and lived most of his life in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. He liked to fish as a youngster, often walking to local fishing spots such as Stoever's Dam and the Little Swatara Creek. In high school he played a bit of football and was a pole vaulter on the track team.

You're in the Navy now...

USS Iowa

As soon as he was old enough to serve in the Armed Forces, he joined the Navy in 1943. He was assigned to the battleship Iowa, and served as a pharmacist's mate on the ship. One of the first tasks performed by the Iowa was ferrying Franklin D. Roosevelt to North Africa for participation in the Tehran Conference. On the voyage Donald met FDR and shook his hand. The Iowa then departed for the Pacific Theater, seeing action in the Marshal, Caroline, and Marianas Islands. The Iowa participated in the Battle of the Phillipine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf, at Okinawa, and was in Tokyo Harbor for the Japanese surrender which ended WWII (the ceremony took place on the Iowa's sister ship the Missouri).

After the war, Donald returned to Lebanon but was recalled to serve during the Korean War. He was stationed at the naval hospital in Philadelphia. After his discharge, Donald got a job at the Cornwall Ore Mines--an iron ore mine in southern Lebanon County. He worked underground blasting the rock to access the iron ore.

left to right: best man Johnny Koval, groom Donald, bride Phyllis, maid of honor Harriet Tritch

In 1953 Donald met his future wife, Phyllis Messner. They were married in 1954. Favorite activities of the couple were vacationing in Rehobeth Beach, Delaware and traveling. The photo below shows Donald with a prized catch at Gananoque, Ontario in 1956.

Donald in Gananoque, Ontario

Donald was a lifetime member of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Lebanon, Pennsylvania. For many years he oversaw the preperations for each Sunday service. He was also a member of the Serbian Club, a social organization associated with the church.

A toast at the Serbian Club

As 1959 was drawing to a close, Donald and Phyllis moved to their new house in North Lebanon township. In 1960, they welcomed a new arrival: a son who they named Keith.

First family photo

More to come...