Donald Kirk Marchand Jr.
April 7th 1926 to January 27th, 2005

(Please check back, pictures will be added over the next few months. If you HAVE pictures, please send them to this e-mail address)

Don Marchand was many things to an amazing number of people. The me he was my father. He was a mentor, maybe even another father to hundreds, maybe thousands of men who were Sigma Nu fraternity brothers. He was a teacher, perhaps to a hundred thousand people. His happiness, his joy of life, his enjoyment of people brought good feelings and brightened the day for everyone he knew. He died, perhaps too soon, definitely tragically, and definitely in the hearts of everyone who knew him.

His Life

His Parents and Family

Don Marchand was born in Morgantown West Va., to Mr. Donald K. Marchand Sr. and Mary "Ollie" Thomas Marchand. Mr. Marchand was a partner in an insurance company. He was a committed Republican businessman, who was a prominent member of the community. He had two daughters from a previous marriage, and lived in a modest house in the northern part of Morgantown.

His luck changed in 1929 when the Great Depression hit Morgantown. The company went out of business and the Marchand went to Baltimore for a time. When they returned to Morgantown, Don Marchand switched political parties because he believed the Republican Party had "lost touch with people". He was appointed an administrator of the WPA and the West Virginia Highway Department, before going back into business in the late 1930's.

Don Marchand Sr. became a major figure in the Democratic Party in West Virginia, and helped such famous politicians as Senator Robert Byrd  begin their careers. He was a presidential Elector in the election of 1952, and was elected to the State Senate in 1952. He was a major figure in an unsuccessful attempt to get Senator John F. Kennedy on the Democratic ticket with Adlai Stevenson for the  1956 election.

He died in 1958 of lung cancer.

Mary O. Marchand was appointed to fill out her husband's term in the State Senate, and  became the first woman to ever cast a vote in the West Virginia Senate. She did not run for election in 1960, and worked as an administrator at the Morgantown Loyal Order Of Moose until her retirement in 1971. She lived for a short while with D.K. Jr. in Norfolk and with her sister, Bess McCaskey in Huntington W. Va. In 1973 she moved back to Norfolk and lived in an apartment in the Ward's Corner area until she passed away in October of 1981.

D. K. Marchand Jr.'s sisters are still living. Rosalee "Jimmy" Sobek lives with her son near Pittsburgh Pa., and Dorothy Wahl lives in Santa Cruz California.  She was widowed in 2005.

He was very close to his cousin, Nan Yarborough, who was born in Morgantown four weeks after he was. She worked as a nurse in Morgantown and in Baltimore, and worked for a tour company in the eastern Atlantic/ Mediterranean area. Nan died in 2003, and her two daughters, Carol and Betsy, both have families and careers in Baltimore and Virginia Beach, respectively.

His son, Donald Kirk Marchand III, lives in College Park Md. and teaches at a a local high school. Other close relatives live in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

His Teaching Career

D. K. Marchand taught at many schools during the 1950's. He taught at the Norfolk Division of the College Of William And Mary and at V.M.I. before he was married in 1955. He was teaching at Bethany State in Bethany West Virginia when he was married, but accepted a position at Central Missouri State soon afterward.

He taught Chemistry at Central Missouri until 1961, when he accepted a position in the chemistry department at Norfolk William And Mary. He taught many subjects, and was the chairman of the department of chemistry when the Norfolk Division became Old Dominion College in 1965. He worked with the student affairs department from 1965 through 1968 to bring national fraternities and sororities to Old Dominion, including his own Sigma Nu fraternity. He also served as the chair of the Science Department of Old Dominion College until 1969.

His work with the student affairs department garnered his appointment as the dean of men beginning in the 1969-70 school year. During this time, he dealt with the normal activities and services provided for college students, as well as protests against the Vietnam War. Considering the proximity of Old Dominion to the Norfolk Naval Base, the Naval Air Station, and the Oceana Naval Air Station, he was successful in preventing protest activity from escalating during the early 1970's. He also oversaw changes in the athletic department following the renaming of the school to Old Dominion University.

In 1975 he went back to teaching full time, in the geophysical sciences department. He taught many courses, including lab courses for non-science majors, and a "science fiction/ science fact" course with the english department. He taught until his retirement in 1991. At that time he was appointed "associate professor emeritus" by the university.

His Life And Retirement

D. K. Marchand grew up in Morgantown, except for the short stay in Baltimore with his family during the Depression. He went to grade school, high school and college in Morgantown. While he was at West Virginia University, he joined Sigma Nu fraternity, an association he kept until the day he died. He also met Ruth Hearn, who was dating his roommate at the time. After he graduated, he went to the University of Virginia and back to WVU for his graduate work.

He married Ruth Hearn over 10 years after he met her, and after Ruth had moved to Sarasota Florida for awhile. They met again after she returned to West Virginia, and were married after he had been appointed as an assistant professor at Bethany State. A year later, in 1956, their son and only child, Donald Kirk Marchand III was born.

The Marchand family moved to Warrensburg Missouri, and D. K. began teaching at Central Missouri State. In the late 1950's, however, it was difficult to travel to West Virginia, especially when both D.K.'s father and Ruth's brother died, as well as when Ruth's father had a serious heart attack. In 1962, D.K. accepted the position at the Norfolk Division, and he found a house on 50th Street for the family to move into. The family lived there from November 1962 to September 1964, when they moved into a red brick Cape Cod further down the street.

Donald III, known as "Kirk" grew up and went to Blessed Sacrament school and Norfolk Catholic High School, and went to college at West Virginia and at Old Dominion. He graduated from ODU in 1980, and experimented with a number of career options until he became a teacher in 1985. He is still teaching, today at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington Maryland.

In the meantime D. K. continued his career at Old Dominion, and took care of his mother until her death in 1981. He also helped Ruth take care of her mother until she died in 1986.

After he retired in 1991, he became more active as an adviser to Sigma Nu fraternity, as well as taking care of his house. However, in 1996, Ruth developed emphysema, and was house ridden until her death in June of 1998. He didn't want to send her to a nursing home, so he spent most of his time taking care of her. He did continue to attend Old Dominion basketball games with his next door neighbor, Bo Bradshaw.

When Ruth died in 1998, D. K. went back into working with the Sigma Nu chapter at Old Dominion, rebuilding it to one of the best fraternities at Old Dominion. He continued academic activity, as a reviewer for university science texts, and as an adviser to the student affairs department at Old Dominion. His real priority was the Sigma Nu chapter, and many of the current members and alumni told the news media about his involvement after his death. He also traveled, visiting his sisters and returning to Morgantown many times. He also visited his son and other relatives frequently.

At the time of his death, he was still very active, and the large number of people who came to his wake and funeral testify to his involvement. He will surely be missed by a very large number of people, and that is probably the best testimonial to is life.  

Media Coverage Of His Death

His Obituary, The Virginian Pilot on Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Donald K. Marchand Jr. , Norfolk

Donald Kirk Marchand Jr. Ph.D., 78, of the 1600 block of Melrose Parkway, died Jan. 27, 2005, in a local hospital. Mr. Marchand was born and raised in Morgantown, W.Va., and attended college at West Virginia University. He went to graduate school at the Norfolk Division of the College Of William and Mary (now ODU) and at the University of Virginia.

He taught at the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary, V.M.I., Randolph Macon, Bethany College and Central Missouri State, before coming back to teach the remainder of his career at the Norfolk Division of William and Mary in 1962. He taught chemistry, and in 1968, was appointed dean of men at the school, which at that point had been renamed Old Dominion College. He served as dean of men and associate dean of student affairs until 1975, when he returned to teaching in the geophysical sciences department at ODU. He remained in that department as an associate professor until his retirement in 1991.

He joined Sigma Nu fraternity while an undergraduate at WVU and maintained a strong lifetime commitment to the fraternity. He was instrumental in bringing Sigma Nu, as well as other national fraternities and sororities, to ODU. He served for a time as division commander for the fraternity and was an adviser to ODU's chapter through the time of his death. He had also recently been designated as an "honorary graduate" of ODU due to his lifetime of service.

He was married on August 13th, 1955 to Ruth Ellen Hearn of Bridgeport W. Va., who was herself an educator. She was a reading specialist with the Norfolk Public Schools from 1964 until her retirement in 1987. She died in June of 1998 after a long bout with emphysema. Dr. Marchand took care of her at home for the duration of her illness. Since her death he had devoted most of his time to the Sigma Nu fraternity chapter at Old Dominion, and to traveling.
He is survived by his son, D. Kirk Marchand of College Park, Md.; two sisters, Dorothy Wahl of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Rosalee "Jimmy" Sobek of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and a number of nephews, nieces and cousins. He is also survived by several hundred brothers in Sigma Nu fraternity. A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. The Rev. Robert Davenport will officiate. The family will receive friends at the funeral home Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Memorial donations may take the form of contributions to the charity of the donor's choice. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk chapel, is handling arrangements.

The Virginian Pilot Report Of His Death

Retired ODU professor dies in house fire set by smoking

By IBRAM ROGERS, The Virginian-Pilot
© January 28, 2005 | Last updated 9:21 PM Jan. 27

NORFOLK — Careless smoking caused a structural fire that claimed the life of a retired Old Dominion University science professor Thursday afternoon, fire officials said.

The man – identified by a neighbor as Donald K. Marchand, Jr. – accidentally set fire to the living area of the first floor of his Cape Cod-style house in the 1600 block of Melrose Parkway.

Police responded, and, with the help of a neighbor, a police officer pulled Marchand from the burning house and began administering CPR in the front yard. Norfolk Fire-Rescue arrived at 11:43 a.m., and within 25 minutes, fire fighters had the blaze under control.

It was the second fire on this block in less than a week.

“The flames were three feet out of the side window,” said Denbeigh Marchant, an ODU student who lives down the street.

Paramedics took Marchand to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Fire officials said his cause of death is still to be determined.

Marchand, who was in his 70s, had lived alone since his wife passed away several years ago, a neighbor said.

Marchand began teaching chemistry at ODU in 1954 as an assistant professor when the school was the Norfolk Division of The College of William and Mary, according to ODU’s Web site.

In 1955, he left and went on to teach at Randolph-Macon College, Bethany College and Central Missouri State College before returning to ODU in 1962.

“Donald Marchand has consistently received high praise over the years from students as well as respect by his colleagues for his contributions to his field, his unceasing willingness to serve Old Dominion University, and as a versatile and thorough teacher,” the Web site said.

The Text Of The Story On News Channel 8

A retired Old Dominion University professor, Dr. Donald K. Marchand, died in a Norfolk house fire Thursday morning. Firefighters were called to the home in the 1600 block of Melrose Parkway around 11:40am, near the ODU campus. A neighbor ran into the burning home and tried to carry Marchand. The neighbor was assisted by an arriving police officer.

Both performed CPR on Marchand as they awaited firefighters. Marchand was transported to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Marchand joined Old Dominion University in 1962. In addition to teaching, during his tenure, he served as Chairman of the Department of Astronomy and Physical Science and Associate Dean of Student Affairs. He was named Associate Professor Emeritus of Geological Sciences in 1991. Marchand's first association with Old Dominion University was in 1954 when as an assistant professor, he taught chemistry at the then Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary for one year.

Fire officials say the fire was accidental in nature, caused by careless smoking.

Old Dominion University On Line Report

Donald K. Marchand Jr.

Donald K. Marchand Jr., associate professor emeritus of geological sciences, died at a local hospital Jan. 27, 2005, following a fire at his Larchmont home near the university. He was 78.

A native of Morgantown, W.Va., he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from West Virginia University in 1947 and subsequently received a master’s from WVU in 1950. He attended graduate school at Old Dominion and the University of Virginia.

Marchand joined Old Dominion, then known as the Norfolk Division, in 1954 as an assistant professor of chemistry. He left in 1955 and taught at Randolph-Macon College, Bethany College and Central Missouri State College, returning to Old Dominion College in 1962.

Marchand was promoted to the rank of associate professor in the physics and geophysical sciences department in 1966. In 1969, he accepted the position of dean of men and associate dean of student affairs, serving in that capacity the next six years.

Returning to the classroom in 1975, Marchand took up the challenge of teaching as well as developing two upper-level earth science courses for non-science majors.

He was instrumental in bringing Sigma Nu fraternity, as well as other national fraternities and sororities, to Old Dominion. He was an adviser to ODU’s Eta Chi chapter of Sigma Nu through the time of his death. On Jan. 22, the Alumni Association presented him with an Honorary Alumnus certificate.

An ODU basketball fan, Marchand also played a role in the development of the university mascot, Big Blue, in 1970.

Upon his retirement and designation as associate professor emeritus in 1991, the university paid him the following tribute: “Donald Marchand has consistently received high praise over the years from students as well as respect by his colleagues for his contributions to his field, his unceasing willingness to serve Old Dominion Univer-sity, and as a versatile and thorough teacher.”

Survivors include his son, D. Kirk Marchand, a 1980 ODU graduate, of College Park, Md.; and two sisters, Dorothy Wahl of Santa Cruz, Calif., and Rosalee "Jimmy" Sobek of Pittsburgh, Pa.


1/29/2005 - a dark day with black armbands
The other day...Donald K Marchand died.
I want to write more...but I can't.
It's not enough right now, but someday it will be.
He was a great man, and I can't write enough right now
It's hasn't even been a month, and I've already faced a death in my family.
The night after it happened, a few brothers went to his house that had been charred by fire to pay our respects. I cried. The next day I cried even harder, explaining to my girlfriend.
The wake is tomorrow night, and the funeral is on tuesday morning.
You're going to be missed D.K. I am a better man for having known you, and the world is a dimmer place with your passing.
Posted at 01:28 am by Psybabar

3/15/2005 - I came to know Don Marchand four years ago when he hired my company to handle his Landscaping and Lawn Care needs at 1600 Melrose Parkway. The first time I met him we instantly became friends. I would see Mr. Marchand one-two times a week in the spring summer and fall. Not a one visit in four years did I ever miss sitting down with my friend talking about life and how he was doing. Mr. Marchand was the type of man to motivate you on a bad day and was concerned about my life. I cherish the memories and all the great conversations we had. My brother lost both his legs in a car accident in 2003 and Mr. Marchand knew of this and would offer support and kind words and concern for my family in these tough times. He would always ask how my family was doing with the deepest concern. " I will miss my friend this spring summer and fall god didn't make them any better than Mr. Marchand i have the deepest respect for him he will be missed by many".
Bennie Goddard Jr.
Chesapeake, Virginia - Thursday, March 17, 2005 at 13:12:54 (PST)

B. Segal,
Sunday, October 16th, 2005 at 10:01 a.m.

(Please check back, pictures and more testimonials will be added over the next few months. If you HAVE pictures, please send them to this e-mail address)

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