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As Don thinks back on his days in Delta Chi, he remembers a group of widely different individual brothers, from different parts of the country — with varied backgrounds, interests, personalities, and goals — interacting, growing and living together. He fondly remembers the seemingly endless bull sessions as well as the house parties, singing the same songs over and over again, the fraternity projects and IFC competitions, going “out” for Sunday supper, and going to a movie to escape the reality of it all. Especially memorable for Don were the Parents’ Weekends, which were separated into one for moms and another for dads.

The “house” was as diverse as the brothers who lived there. He lived in many different rooms, from the first-floor front room to the third-floor room outside the sleeping dorm. The sounds (noise) that came from the rooms also covered a wide spectrum and surely the most unusual of them all was the sing-songy tones of spoken Chinese coming from the phonograph of the brother who was studying Chinese Language 101.

“DX went through a rough time around 1951-52. It seemed we were stuck in a rut, like we’d lost our identity,” he said. Then, a number of the brothers at Michigan went to the DX national convention and returned inspired, informed and equipped to get all brothers involved in breathing new life into the fraternity; DX came through and “I felt some pride in thinking that I had helped,” he added.

After graduation and a B.A. in history, he moved way down Hill St. to the Law Quad for three years worth of being back in a dormitory. From law school, the trips out Hill to 1705 were much fewer in number than Don would have thought, but the I.M. building was much handier. “I think it took the place of DX at that time, but never completely,” he said. 

With JD in hand, he then returned to playing clarinet in a U.S. Army Port Band. The first one was in Seattle and the second was in San Francisco where he and brother Ray Symons ’52 had played before in the University of Michigan Marching Band (Jan. 1951 after the M Rose Bowl victory over California). These appearances in California provided coast-to-coast performances in one year since they had played for the Army game in Yankee Stadium, October 7, 1950. They also played at the “Snow Bowl” in Columbus on Nov. 28 where Michigan upset OSU and won the trip to the Rose Bowl.

Things quieted down after that, as he began his legal career in 1959 at a small, five-to-seven man law firm in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Don remained with Weller Wicks and Wallace until 2002 when the firm folded it up and merged with a (then) 25-member law firm: Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe, LLC (no relative of brother Bill O’Keefe), which has since doubled in size. 

He has practiced oil and gas law throughout, but the biggest event was serving as co-counsel in a litigation conducted in the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce based in Paris, France (all hearings were in New York). His client,The Benedum Trees Oil Company, was a 10-percent partner, and Asamera Oil and Union Oil of Texas had 90-percent in their case against Mobil Oil Corporation. This case involved a concession on Sumatra, Indonesia.  They won a pretty big victory, much to the chagrin of the Mobil CEO, who called it 'the biggest legal defeat in the history of Mobil Oil'.

Don kept in touch with six or so brothers over the years; unfortunately all but one (Willie Cortright ’54) have since passed. Lyle Nelson was in his wedding in 1966. He also fondly remembers Bob Stakenas ’55 as the person who obtained actual musical sounds from the mouths of the DX glee club which he himself had organized.  

Don and his wife, Karen, have two children and four grandchildren. Together, sometimes with children, they have traveled a lot in their earlier years and Don still works five days a week and occasionally  plays handball. Music and sports have always been important interests for him as he served on the board of a professional choir and toured Europe with them on two occasions. Amateur boxing in Pittsburgh, including staging collegiate events in which the U of M Boxing Club has participated, has been a close-to-home interest.

Throughout the years, Don’s DX experience has been a major factor, serving as a foundation for a truly happy life, and he would urge all actives to live and enjoy their DX days with their future well in mind.