Obituary of Donald Marion Dana, Jr.
Born on May 29, 1937 in Columbia, Mississippi to Lucy Welborn Dana and Donald Marion Dana, Sr, Donald accepted Christ as a teenager and was baptized in 1952 at First Baptist Church Columbia. He graduated from Columbia High School in 1955.
Donald entered Mississippi Southern College (present day University of Southern Mississippi) in the summer of 1955. While attending Southern, he was elected Freshman Class President, President of the Student Christian Federation, and Editor of The Student Printz, the campus weekly newspaper. Donald was elected to several nationally-recognized honor societies, including Omicron Delta Kappa for leadership. He graduated in 1959 with a double major in Journalism and History. At graduation, he was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He served on active duty at Fort Benning, GA and in reserve status with the Mississippi National Guard. In 1985, he earned a masters degree in Public Relations from the University of Southern Mississippi, and later taught for 10 years on both the Gulf Coast and Hattiesburg campuses as an adjunct professor.
While in college, Donald met Ola Mae Van Slyke of Hattiesburg. They were married on June 4, 1960 in the Main Street Baptist Church chapel in Hattiesburg. They moved to Purvis, MS where, for six years, he owned and published the Lamar County News, an award-winning weekly newspaper. In 1962, he and other members of the news media witnessed the first underground explosion of a nuclear device east of the Mississippi River in the Tatum Salt Dome in Lamar County.
While living in Purvis, Ola Mae and Donald became the proud parents of two daughters, Marion Elizabeth and Melinda Ann. Presently, they have six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
In January, 1966, Donald and his family moved to Gulfport where he joined Mississippi Power Company as head of the advertising/corporate communications department. He worked for the company nearly 28 years, developing advertising campaigns, serving as newspaper, radio, and TV spokesperson, and helping develop energy education programs for classroom teachers. He is co-author of A Priceless Heritage: A History of Mississippi Power Company. Donald retired from Mississippi Power in 1994.
He is a past President and charter member of the Mississippi Historical Society and the Mississippi Lung Association. He was the first president of the Gulf Coast Advertising Club and was a member of the Gulfport and Long Beach Rotary clubs for 17 years.
The Dana family moved to Long Beach in 1967 and joined First Baptist Church Long Beach. Donald was ordained a Deacon in 1973, served on numerous church committees, taught adult Sunday School, and was elected to three Pastor Search Committees. At the time of his death, Donald was serving as a Deacon, former Church Trustee, Team Leader for 55-Plus Seniors, and teacher to a senior men’s Sunday School class.
“From the night I was baptized until today, Jesus Christ has always been the center of my life. I have been blessed by His grace. I praise Him every day for my wife, children, grandchildren and great grandchild. I consider my life in Christ to be a work in progress.”
Visitation will be held from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at RIEMANN FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 19130 Commission Road, Long Beach. Funeral service will be held at 11 AM on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at First Baptist Church Long Beach, 300 N Cleveland Ave, Long Beach, MS 39560, with another visitation time one hour prior to the service. Burial will follow at Long Beach City Cemetery.
An online guestbook may be signed and memories and photos shared at www.riemannfamily.com
In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting contributions in Donald’s memory to First Baptist Church of Long Beach (note: In Memory of Donald Dana, Jr.), or to Pink Hearts Fund online at pinkheartfunds.org