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Donald Angel: Photographer, avid sports fan

Donald LeRoy Angel, a 57-year resident of Claremont, died on September 26, 2015 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He was 85. 

He was born February 6, 1930 to Norberta Martinez and Joseph Angel in Placentia, California where he was raised. He was a direct descendant of Ricardo Vejar, who co-owned Rancho San Jose along with Ygnacio Palomares. The grant was given in 1837. He was also descended from Isaac Sparks, who came to Los Angeles in 1803. He later owned 22,500 acres of property near Pismo Beach, which he received through a Spanish land grant.

Don was an outstanding athlete and lettered in a variety of sports while attending Valencia High School. He graduated in 1949 and the following fall, he and a group of his friends from Orange County enrolled at Mt. San Antonio College. He demonstrated his athletic ability there as well, playing varsity sports and lettering in football, baseball and track and field. He also met his future wife Barbara while attending Mt. SAC.

Mr. Angel was drafted into the US Army in the fall of 1951 during the Korean War and was stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. When he returned in September 1953, he was placed in the Army Reserves for eight years. Don and Barbara were married in November 1953. The following January, they moved to Santa Barbara where Mr. Angel attended Brooks Institute of Photography, graduating with honors in 1956.

Mr. Angel’s first job took them to Provo, Utah in the spring of 1956. He was then hired as an industrial photographer for General Dynamics in Pomona. He remained with the corporation for 35 years, retiring in July 1991. During this time, he traveled on assignments for the company and was in charge of the black-and-white photo lab.

In 1958, the Angels bought their first home in Claremont where they raised their two daughters, Amy and Suzanne. After retirement, Don was very involved with his grandchildren, Alexandria and Andrew Waldron. He attended every sports event with his camera in hand. He also continued his interest in historical readings and following sports events.

Mr. and Mrs. Angel traveled often in later years, including journeys across the United States and in Mexico as well as five trips to Europe. Mr. Angel relished the opportunity to photograph new sites and learn about different cultures.

He is survived by his wife Barbara, his daughters Amy and Suzanne Angel and his grandchildren Alexandria and Andrew Waldron, all of whom reside in Claremont. He also leaves his brother Michael (Robyn) Sweet of Yorba Linda and four nephews, Justin (Julie) Sweet, Jason (Melody) Sweet, Joshua (Jennifer) Sweet and Jake Sweet.

Funeral services were held on October 13 at the Claremont United Church of Christ Congregational, followed by interment at Oak Park Cemetery in Claremont.