Don Darms at the age of 88, after a lifetime of robust health, passed on in peace from a very recently diagnosed cancer November 18th, 2019 at his home in Lake Shastina, CA. A California Native of Swiss descent, he was a classical musician who at age 14 played Chopin on the radio in one of the 'young talent' programs of Pasadena, CA. In college he played lead roles in 'The Robe’, 'HMS Pinafore' and 'The Boy with a Cart'. He enjoyed a life-long love affair with classical music and the Theater as an actor, director and writer. Don grew up in De Molay, and later excelled as a Mason till he left for the army.
Don graduated in Physics from Caltech University, studying under many notables, including Linus Pauling, the famous biochemist, later receiving a Masters in Business at Santa Clara University. During the Korean War he joined the army; stationed at White Sands, New Mexico, he rose to the rank of Sergeant and worked as a missile tester plotting their locations so they could be destroyed if they veered course. This led to a career at EAI (Electronic Associates Incorporated) where he used analog computers to calculate locations of aerospace craft. In 1961, he was contracted out to NASA at Moffat Field to teach their scientists how to calculate re-entry of rockets back to Earth from out in Space. This allowed the spacecraft to enter Earth's atmosphere without getting burned up using a hybridized analog back-up system to the digital computer. That same year he married Mary Andresen September 23rd, in Pasadena. Mary and Don had three accomplished children: Deborha, Daniel and Alyson who went into the Arts and Sciences, Education, and Technology.
Don was later contracted out by NASA to work on the Apollo projects in Washington DC. In this project, he was creating a flight simulator for the astronauts from the Apollo 1 Mission; chairs simulating space travel for astronaut testing. He was then promoted to Director of the Comp Center for EAI in Redondo Beach.
In 1972, he was personally recruited by David Packard and Bill Hewlett to work at Hewlett Packard. This began his 28 year career with HP as a Systems Analyst, Department Head, and Customer Education Specialist. He was a dedicated member of the Rotary Club in Los Gatos for over 30 years, receiving the ‘Rotarian of the Year’ award in 2013 and the ‘President's Award’ in 2018 for making numerous contributions to the club including newsletter writing, publishing, photography, fundraising and chairing committees.
Don was also a passionate master genealogist researching family and friends’ family lines for over 40 years, including professionally. His tireless body of work tracing his family lineage can be found in Ancestry.com including numerous fascinating meanderings throughout the Peerage.
He was known as an unassuming, generous man with a lively wit, who genuinely cared about others and was the epitome of "Service Above Self" in his career, charity work, church spheres and family life. Don is survived by his daughters Deborha and Alyson and grandchildren Andrew and Anna. His parents were Walter Harold Darms and Dorothy Scott Ferris of Los Angeles. The memorial service was held in San Jose on Saturday, November 23rd and he was interred at Los Gatos Memorial Park, Los Gatos. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in his memory to DonDarmsFamilyDonations or St. Basil Orthodox Church: 6430 Bose Ln, San Jose CA 95120.
We send our sincere condolences to the family of Don D’Arms. He passed away earlier this week after a very sudden illness. Don was born and raised in Los Angeles. He graduated from the California Institute of Technology majoring in physics. He worked for Hewlett-Packard and as an internet consultant. Don was a member of the Saratoga Men's Club. He was also a member of the Rotary Club of Los Gatos since 2000. Don was the editor and publisher of the Cat Tale, the Roster, the Club photographer, and the internet consultant. Don was Rotarian of the Year 2012-2013, and he was a dedicated Rotarian in every sense. In lieu of flowers please make donations in Don's name to a charity of your choosing within Los Gatos Afternoon Rotary, https://bit.ly/2QCv8rb .
To send flowers to Donald's family, please visit our floral section.