Donald DeBona Sr. founded a citizens crime patrol in his Towson neighborhood of Wiltondale.
Donald DeBona Sr. founded a citizens crime patrol in his Towson neighborhood of Wiltondale.

Donald J. DeBona Sr., who worked in sales for medical journals and was a captain in the Navy Reserve, died of cancer Nov. 17 at his Glen Meadows Retirement Community home. He was 92 and formerly lived in the Towson neighborhood of Wiltondale.

Born in the Bronx, New York, he was the son of Joseph DeBona, who owned a printing shop, and his wife, Rose, who owned an antique shop. He was a grandson of Joseph DeBona, a violinist who played at the White House for President Ulysses Grant.


In June 1945 he left his first semester of college to join the Navy, serving as a seaman apprentice.

He earned a sociology degree at Saint Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He was later recalled to serve and entered Navy Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an officer in May 1952. He joined the Navy Reserve and rose to captain before ending his 42-year naval career at Fort McHenry.

In 1954 he married Joan Alice Flynn, an investment adviser for the Bank of New York.

He worked for Abbott Laboratories before moving to Towson in 1969 to sell advertising for medical journals at Waverly Press/Williams & Wilkins, the publishing and printing firm.

He worked for the firm for 23 years and later became a printing and publishing consultant and sold advertising.

In 1982 he received the Camille Mermod Award from the American Medical Women’s Association for work he did with its Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association.

He retired in 1992 from Waverly Press.

In retirement, he volunteered with the Baltimore County Republican Party. He founded a citizens crime prevention patrol program in Wiltondale and directed the group for many years.

He belonged to the Order of the Sons and Daughters of Italy in America and was the past president of the Towson-Dulaney Lodge. He was a member of the Appian Society of Baltimore and the Cockeysville Senior Center.

He enjoyed summertime trips to Italy. He hiked and visited national parks and went whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon.

Burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 3 at the Maryland State Veterans Cemetery, 11501 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills, followed by a celebration of life at Eagle’s Nest Country Club, 12801 Stone Hill Road in Phoenix.

Survivors include a son, Donald DeBona Jr. of Asheville, North Carolina; three daughters, Elizabeth McDonald of Glen Arm, Margaret DeBona of Takoma Park and Carolyn Knowles of Austin, Texas; a brother, Gerald DeBona of Vernon, Connecticut; eight grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His wife of 34 years died in 1987.