Donald Charles Binard, age 76, of Saint Johns, FL, passed away Wednesday, June 26, 2013 after a six-month battle with cancer.
Don is survived by his wife of 50 years, Martha “Cat” Catherine; son, Stephen (Jodi); and granddaughters, Samantha and Olivia (all of Saint Johns, FL); as well as sisters, Sharon (Howard) and Deborah; and brother, Robert all of Colorado.
Don was predeceased by his mother, Catherine; father, Charles; and sister, Diane.
Don was born in Colorado Springs and attended both the University of Colorado and Colorado A&M, now Colorado State, prior to entering the US Navy as a NAVCAD. After completing aviation officers candidate school in Pensacola, Florida, he was commissioned as an Ensign and winged as a Naval Aviator. Don flew countless types of attack and fighter aircraft from the very beginnings of Vietnam through his departure from service as a Lieutenant Commander in 1967. Don earned an Air Medal, among many others, while serving as a Naval Aviator. His last assignment was at NAS Cecil Field, Florida as an F-8 Crusader pilot. Upon his departure from the Navy, he began his career with National Air Lines in Miami rising to Captain flying several aircraft types including the Lockheed Electra, Boeing 717 and Douglas DC-10. National was acquired by Pan American Airways and Don transitioned to Airbus A310 aircraft based in New York. During this time, Don set numerous world records for speed over a commercial air route within the US, as well as between the US and Europe. Delta Air Lines acquired Pan Am, which permitted Don to fly Boeing 737 aircraft and ultimately back to his beloved Boeing 727. Don retired from Delta in 1996. Don was a tremendous sports fan and coached various youth sports in Hollywood, Florida for many years. Don was a huge supporter of the University of Florida (where his son, Steve graduated with an engineering degree) and attended nearly every home football game, Florida vs. Georgia games in Jacksonville, and many away and bowl games. Don and Cat split their time between Hollywood and their beach home in Panama City Beach. Ultimately, they moved to northeast Florida in early 2012 to be close to their granddaughters. Don especially enjoyed watching the girls play youth sports and attending every event possible.
Memorial Services are to be held at 11:00 AM on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin. As a veteran, his ultimate resting place will be the Jacksonville National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be given to the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) or Community Hospice of Northeast Florida (communityhospice. com).
Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin, 11801 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32223.