In Memory

Donald L. Stump

Donald L. Stump was born on July 25, 1951 in Philadelphia, PA. the son of Betty Cain Stump of Smyrna and the late Alfred N. Stump.  Mr. Stump worked as a plumber for all of his life and was most recently employed by A&H Plumbing in Clayton, DE.  He was a US. Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of the Middletown, Delaware VFW and AMVETS Post #2 in Long Neck, De.  He was a former player and coach in the Smyrna/Clayton Little League and played in the Pop Warner Football Program.  He was also a member of Eden Lodge #34 of the International Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, Linda Shetzler Stump; a son, Jason Stump of Smyrna; a daughter, Jennifer A. Stump of Smyrna; five brothers and sisters, Dennis Stump of Dover, DE, Carole Gruwell of Hartly, De., Susan Hand of Dover, Robert Stump of Newark, De., and Betty Lou Stump of Smyrna.

Services will be Friday August 18, 2006 at 10 am. in the Faries Funeral Chapel, 29 South Main St. Smryna, De., where friends may call Thursday from 7-9 pm.  Burial will be in Bohemia Cemetery Warwick, Maryland.

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05/04/09 06:12 PM #1    

Craig Aaron Shirey

I Had A Friend

I had a friend in high school; I had the same friend in Junior High and not unexpectedly as far back as I can remember in Elementary School. His name being alphabetically very close to mine, we often shared the same homeroom and were seated relatively close together. Not being a very large, strong, or mean person he was sometimes picked on by larger class mates but they soon found out that this person was not to be taken lightly and could return an assault with more vigor than it was given. I don’t remember him as being ‘straight-A smart’ but it wouldn’t surprise me if he actually was because he always had good grades. He seemed to have a natural gift for picking up concepts and methods quicker than anyone else, and if you didn’t understand how to get Mr. Joseph’s math problem in Algebra you could count on him to have the answer done ahead of time and it was likely right. His name was Donald Stump and I can’t remember him ever being referred to by any of his classmates by any name other than ‘Stumpy’. He was no stranger to books, but his passion was elsewhere.

If you go into the Smyrna High School and look in the showcase at the various trophies and the photos of all of the standout athletes, you won’t find Donald’s picture among them unless it is in a team shot. Those individual pictures are a nice recognition but they really don’t tell much of a story about all of the hundreds of other students that all contributed to make most of those ‘stars’ as good as they were. Stumpy was one of those who starred in a supporting role. What he lacked in blistering speed, jumping ability, and brute strength, he made up for in his understanding of the game and a tenacious attitude. It didn’t really matter if you were playing baseball during the summer little league season, or football during the fall, or any other pick-up game during gym class. If you had Stumpy on your team you had an automatic step up over the competition and if you had to rely on someone in a critical situation, you didn’t have to look far for that leadership.

Stumpy was ‘coachable’ more than anyone else than I can remember or was associated with. To this day I can remember him practicing kicking field goals for the football team. He kept kicking it to one side or the other. Coach Farmer watched him and said “Stump, you’re taking your eye off the ball!” and he put a handkerchief on the ground just beyond the ball that was resting on the kicking tee. “I want you to kick the ball, and don’t look where it goes, just bend down and pick that handkerchief up.” Well, Stumpy did just that and the ball went exactly where intended. Anyone else would probably have shanked it anyway. During those years Smyrna played Dover on Thanksgiving Day afternoon in a traditional rivalry. The bleachers were always packed with standing room only along the sidelines. In that final game of the season, Smyrna scored to tie the game and a field goal or extra point was needed to take the lead. Stumpy lined up just as he had practiced and the ball was centered and I can still see him kicking that ball and looking down at the spot where the handkerchief would have been as the ball sailed through the goal posts. Not by a whole lot, but all that was needed to end up winning that game. That might have been the last Thanksgiving Day game that we had in Smyrna, I’ll have to look it up.

Following graduation, you tend to loose track of all those friends that were so much a part of your life. I would see Donald from time to time and my son became close friends with his son, but eventually any form of regular contact only came about at functions like class reunions and then over time not at all. On this day that I heard about the unfortunate passing of this fellow classmate of the Class of 1969 I remember some of those special moments that we shared in our youth before being worn down by life. And maybe it was his inspiration that helped me run the last quarter mile of my jogging routine with a spring in my step, at a faster pace, and slightly less out of breath upon coming to a stop at the end. Thanks Stumpy, I’m honored to have been your friend

10/08/09 01:32 PM #2    

Wayne Davis

Donald and I go back to little league baseball and "ALOT" of sandlot baseball during our youth. I agree with Craig, he was pretty tough for his size, he had alot of heart for whatever he did, including serving our country during the Vietnam War. I also remember that kick that beat Dover 7 to 6 in what was probably the last Thanksgiving Day game between Dover and Smyrna.
Like Craig, I saw Donald only on rare occassion, one of them being about a year before he passed at the Lowes store in Dover. We talked for about half an hour, I remember him saying he was bothered by Parkinson's, other than that he seemed fine.

I have many great memories of us playing little league baseball along with his brother Dennis. I remember his dad and mom were really involved with little league in the Smyrna-Clayton area. It would have been great to have seen more of Donald over the years, but we all seem to get tied up with work and family.

But I will always have fond memories of him and his zest for living life to its fullest. I remember seeing photos of him and his family the night of his viewing, they all showed such happy times with him, his wife Linda and their two kids, I'm sure he had no regrets.

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