Donald Wesley DeLancey
High school graduation picture

Today my grandpa DeLancey would have been 108 years old. He meant the world to me. He was, in a way, a second father figure to me.

There was an old ’54 Chevy in the back yard that used to be the family car. My father said I could have it if I could get it running, so I started fooling around with it in the only way I knew how. I was around 12. I would clean it and try to charge the old 6-volt battery that died years ago with dad’s trickle charger. I would sit in it and listen to 50’s rock and roll, making the car a time capsule if you will. (I was obsessed with the 50s at that age.) The car still wouldn’t run through. Well, the next thing I know my grandpa “D” (as we always called him) was out there tinkering on it with me! We actually got that darned thing running! Oh, what a feeling!

He showed me how to tune the carburetor and change the oil and, well, all the things that needed to be to an old car that had laid dormant in the backyard for years. (eventually, I did end up licensing and driving it on the road)

In later years we both worked at the Masonville Garage. I would come in and take the second half of his shift in the shipping department. After my shift was over at 5:00 PM I would go out to my car and find that my cigarette lighter was missing and the ashtray had been taped shut! He had found out that I was smoking and that was his way of telling me that he didn’t approve!

Onetime he told me that back when he was a young kid he thought he could’ve been a crooner that was just as good as Frank Sinatra “and those others” that used to sing on the radio for he had “quite a good singing voice”. He actually did have a pretty nice voice. He would sing in duet with his brother Cecil in church on Sundays. Oh how I wish I had some recordings of those old songs now. One of them was “The Old Rugged Cross”.

Grandpa, I miss you dearly. We all still talk about you around here. I wish I could spendeven an hour with you and ask you all of the questions that I wish I would’ve asked when I still had the chance, and to see how you’re doing!

Hope you’re keeping warm over therein the cemetery next to your old “Alty”.

If anyone reading this has any memories of Donald DeLancey that you’d like to share I’d love to hear them. Just write them in the comments box below. I’d sure appreciate it. Below is a picture of him in HIS first car.

Donald W. DeLancey in his first car.
Inscription he wrote on the back – : “Donald W. getting ready to take off for high school. Taken 1926 – This was a 1921 T-Ford and Donald was a 1911 model – with 2 lunger & 2…. 1 rod – but T had four almost as hot as a hot rod–

This article has 1 comments

  1. Susan Starr Roby

    I remember Donald Delancey pretty well as he worked at my Dad’s Garage, Masonville Garage, while I was growing up. I remember he always had a great sense of humor and was always humming and sometimes singing while he worked. I remember him picking me up, stuffing me in a box and taping it up saying he had a package to ship. It was pretty fun with him around.

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