Gabriel Orlando DeDonato

Gabriel Orlando DeDonato

August 28, 1930 - February 14, 2024

Gabriel Orlando DeDonato

August 28, 1930 - February 14, 2024



Gabby was born in Los Angeles, CA in 1930. He was the son of ltalian immigrants who were seeking a better life in America. He grew up during the Great Depression and came of age during World War ll. He graduated from Loyola High School and California State University, Los Angeles. Gabby proudly served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War.

He spent most of his career as a marketing professional for North American Rockwell and Hughes Aircraft Company. His affable and outgoing personality was perfect for this kind of work. He worked on many fascinating projects including with NASA during the Apollo missions. He worked directly with NASA engineers, scientists, administrators and astronauts. He was proud to have contributed to perhaps the greatest achievement of the twentieth century, successfully landing a man on the moon.

After retiring, he and Dodie spent several years traveling around the country in their RV. They both loved it and treasured their memories from that time. They also spent much of their leisure time on their boat and passed their love of water activities on to their children.

Gabby was the one person in the neighborhood that everyone knew and liked. He coached Little League for several years. He also served on his HOA board of directors and was very active in leadership roles in the Catholic Church. When his children were young, a couple of the neighborhood kids would just call him “Coach.” He could do it all, from fixing the flat on your bike to helping improve your curve ball.

Nothing in life was more important to Gabby than his family. He knew that he had won the marriage lottery when he married the love of his life, Dodie. They were married for over 71 years and were inseparable since they first started dating in high school. With all the distractions and stresses of supporting and raising five children, Dodie was ALWAYS his number one priority.

As a father, he taught his children that family always comes first and that the prime directive is to take care of each other. He said it, meant it, and lived it. He taught that education, self-reliance, hard work, and service to God and family were the hallmarks of a meaningful life. He was not preachy or nagging. He explained his positions clearly and led his family by example. He didn’t expect his children to do anything he wasn’t doing himself.

Although an extremely outgoing and gregarious person, Gabby was a pragmatic man with impressive critical thinking skills. He led his family, guided by his firmly held Christian beliefs. He lived a long and righteous life and is now enjoying the rewards of faithfully serving his family, his God, and his community.

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1 responses to Gabriel Orlando DeDonato

  1. I was fortunate to Meet Gabby while I was at Hughes Aircraft in Carlsbad. He was an inspiration for me becoming a deacon in the Catholic Church. The times we spent talking about service helped me in my discerning process. I will always value his insight and encouragement. I know the Lord welcomed Gabby as a “Good and Faithful Servant”. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. My prayers go out to the family whom he loved so much.

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