In March of 1944, 17-year-old Don Estler went to enlist in the Army Air Corps. After being sworn in, he was admonished by the recruitment officer to go home and get his diploma from Boonton High.
He did as he was told, but by July he was sent to Fort Dix for basic training, then Kessler Field, Miss. He was finally stationed at Scott Field, Ill., where he was trained as a radio operator and gunner for the B-25 bomber.
As the war in Europe ended, the Army Air Corps turned its attention to the South Pacific, and Don had orders to go. But he proved to be so adept at his new skills, the Army kept him at Scott Field to train newer recruits.
After the war, Don went to Lafayette College and graduated with a degree in economics. He married the girl up the block, his wife, Lois. “We’re both 87 and we’ve known each other for 87 years!” he said.
Don went to work for the insurance conglomerate America Fire and was a well-traveled executive, spending his career in Buffalo, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago before returning to New York. He and Lois live in Boonton Township, and they have three children and two grandchildren.