Donald Robert Raytkwich, 87, beloved son of the late Anna Raytkwich and Robert Raytkwich of Naugatuck, Conn., died peacefully at Gilchrist Hospice of Columbia, Md., on March 5, 2016.
He is survived by his devoted wife of 34 years, Doris M. Raytkwich. He was predeceased by his daughter, Vera Thompson, of Castle Rock, Colo., and a sister, Barbara Reilly, of Naugatuck, Conn. He expressed special love for all of his nieces and nephews and extended family members and friends.
He attended St. Francis Parochial grammar school and graduated from the 1946 Naugatuck High School class where he was named valedictorian of his senior class. He also served as editor-in-chief of the senior class book. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree in modern European languages from President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Columbia University’s 196th annual commencement. While attending Columbia, he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa. He was awarded a “Lycee de Garcons,” a French government grant, through the Institute of International Education, where he was a student-lecturer for the 1950-51 school year and taught English conversation to French undergraduates and post-graduates at the University of Lille, France, near the Belgian border. He also attended George Washington University from 1952 to 1954 majoring in foreign trade.
Donald was a former employee serving in various managerial positions for 42 years within the National Security Agency from which he retired in 1993. He served in the United States Navy from 1952 to 1954 as a LTJG.
He led a dynamic life in the enjoyment of the arts such as opera, concerts, ballet, theater and sought many musical venues locally as well as in his many travels to other cities and countries. While at Columbia, he was a member of the Columbia University Players, a theatrical group. He was a regular season ticket holder of the Folger Shakespeare Theatre for many years. He was a life-long member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Washington Opera, and the Baltimore Lyric Opera.
He will be remembered for his life-long love of music both as a professional soloist in New York and Washington, D.C. and as a member of choral groups such as the Columbia University Glee Club, the Columbia University Chorus, the Paul Hill Chorale, the Laurel Oratorio Society and the Columbia Pro Cantare. The Columbia Pro Cantare will dedicate their 40th Anniversary Concert on Oct. 22, 2016, in Columbia, Md., to his memory.
A Funeral Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 11 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 318 Church St., Naugatuck, followed by interment with military honors in St. James Cemetery in Naugatuck. Family and friends are asked to please meet directly at the church. The Prospect Memorial Funeral Home, 72 Waterbury Road, Prospect, is in charge of arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Donald’s name to Columbia Pro Cantare, c/o Frances Dawson, 5404 Iron Pen Place, Columbia, MD 21044
To place condolences, visit www.prospectmemorial.com.