Donald E. Abbott Jr. passed away Oct. 29, 2022, at the age of 75 years old with his loved ones by his side. Below is his life story written by his loving family.
Don was born in Indianapolis, IN and was preceded in death by his mother, Estella and his father, Don Sr. He is survived by his loving wife, Beverly; his son, Carl Abbott (Marilyn Zehner); his daughter, Lisa Abbott (Jeff Porch); his stepchildren, Michelle and Scott Tackitt; his grandchildren, Nick, Stephen, Tyra, Scottie, Amber, and Katie; and his two great-grandchildren. Family also included the love for his many rescue dogs.
Don graduated from Warren Central High School in Indianapolis in 1965 and served in the US Army and was also an Eagle Scout. He was also a member of Englewood Masonic Lodge. He loved Nascar, Indy Car and the Phoenix Cardinals.
He was a member of Brownsburg Vineyard Church in Brownsburg, IN whose Pastor Denis Roy will lead the services for Don. He was previously a member of Living Stream Church in Phoenix AZ.
Don served with the Warren Township Fire Department for 24 years, retiring as a Division Chief in 1992. During his time with the department, he developed and headed the department’s Special Operations Division.
After his retirement, he started The Town of Abbottville, it included small-scale buildings, fire apparatus, firefighters, hose, and almost everything else that you can imagine that might go wrong in your own hometown and what was needed to “make the problem go away.” Student responders to incidents used walkie-talkies for communication, Bev played the role of dispatcher, and Don wore several different hats and other outfits to play various “roles” that the responders had to deal with, like irate citizens, elected officials, etc. After 10 years he found another passion.
He helped create The Phoenix Command Training Center in Phoenix, AZ. It evolved into a national model not only for the facility itself, but also for the curriculum and the training materials produced there. Don’s work with the Phoenix Command Center led to the creation of similar facilities across the nation.
After achieving so much in a lifetime, most people would be ready for “full retirement,” but not Don. In 2015 Don started the Project Mayday initiative using his own funding. Project Mayday is a comprehensive study of mayday responses, incidents, and prevention. Project Mayday is based on a three-year in-depth firefighter safety study about mayday calls from firefighters that looked at when, where, and why they occurred.
Don also worked with Verizon MERIT=Major Emergency Response Incident Team for 25 years training and deploying when necessary to protect Verizon’s network assets and facilities during natural disasters or hazardous materials incidents.
In recognition for his contribution to keeping America’s first responders safe and better at managing complex incidents, Don has been recognized by his peers with the following national awards:
Innovator of the Year Award from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (2002).
George D. Post Instructor of the Year Award from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors (2006).
Instructor of the Year Award from Fire Engineering Magazine (2006).
Chief John M. Eversole Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (2014).
In 2023, he will be inducted into the National Fire Heritage Center Hall of Legends, Legacies & Leaders for his achievements
During Don Abbott’s 50-year career, he was a “change agent” that made a significant difference in firefighter safety. Don Abbott’s innovative training ideas had a significant impact on developing thousands of future incident commanders and national level leaders. Abbottville is a prime example. Don Abbott trained and inspired about 120,000 responders during the life of the project.
Don was loved by his family and friends and will be missed by all.
Friends and family will gather from 4:00pm-8:00pm, Wednesday, November 9, 2022, at Post Road Christian Church at 1112 N. Post Rd. Indianapolis, IN, where the funeral services will be held 1pm Thursday, Nov 10, friends and family can start to gather at 11am to say goodbye to such a great man. There will also be a Celebration of Life at the Indianapolis Firefighter Union Hall at 748 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204, immediately after services have concluded. All are invited to attend.
Burial will be private at Washington Park East Cemetery, Indianapolis.
Arrangements are entrusted to Eric MD Bell Funeral Home and Cremation Services. All are encouraged to keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.