Donald E. Dearth Jr. passed away on July 22, 2020, peacefully surrounded by his family.
As a long time resident of Fayette County, Don also spent many years living in Union and Randolph Counties as well. He graduated from Randolph Southern High School in 1965 and was a member of the first graduating class of the Lynn and Spartanburg consolidation.
He was well-known and loved by many in each of these communities. With a personality as large as his stature, he left impressions on every person he met. He had a laugh that would fill a room and was utterly contagious.
He is survived by longtime companion Rhonda Day, of 27 years; as well as his children Ginger (Jody) Brown, Jill (Brian) Monroe, Jennifer (Bob) Matheny, Melissa (Andy) Spillers, and Donald (Ladessa) Lilly. He was a very proud grandfather to David Lilly, Beth Lilly, Ethan Westover, Timothy Monroe, Joshua Monroe, Jacob Hall, Kayla Matheny, Emilee Brown, and Lucas Brown. Don was blessed with 8 great-grandchildren. Don is also survived by siblings Debbie Matix and Danny Dearth, as well as many nieces and nephews. In addition, he leaves behind many lifelong friendships.
Don was preceded in death by his brother and best friend, Dale Dearth; as well as his parents, Esther and Donald Dearth, Sr.
Don was loved by many. He worked hard, played hard, and lived every day to the fullest. He retired after 31 years at Visteon (Ford) in addition to leaving a large footprint in the horse racing industry. He began that journey with his brother, Dale, and D & D Stables. He and Rhonda then continued with this passion for thoroughbred horse racing, priding themselves into developing well-known breeding and racing stock. They spent many long days at the racetrack together, building a life envied by many, and admired by all. He was proud of his many accolades as a horseman, which run thick through the bloodlines of his family. He learned many great traits throughout the years and loved passing them on to others. He was always willing to offer help or give advice to anyone in need. Don was a member of the Indiana Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.
Don was a veteran of the United States Air Force and proudly served his country for four years, primarily stationed at Travis Air Force Base in California, where he was honorably discharged.
A receiving of friends and family for Don will be held at Showalter, Blackwell, Long, in Liberty, IN on Saturday, July 25, 2020, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with services following directly after. Memorial contributions may be made to Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) at PO Box 803, Elmhurst, IL 60126.