Dr. Donald Joseph Drapalik, 80, passed away Friday, May 22, 2015 at Ogeechee Area Hospice. He was a native of Chicago, IL. Don earned a BA and MA in botany from Southern Illinois University in 1959 and 1962 respectively. His PhD was from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970. Dr. Drapalik was employed as an Assistant Professor at Georgia Southern College in 1968 and maintained a long relationship with the University. He became Associate Professor in 1973 and attained full professorship in 2002. He retired from the university in June 2003. In this long career, he enjoyed teaching his favorite subjects Biology, Botany and Plant Ecology. He served on 27 graduate student committees. His dedication to professional, departmental, and university services led to the award of several service and excellence awards. He published research papers in well-known scientific journals. He also served on many committees at the Department of Biology and at the University level. Don assisted with the early formation of the Coastal Plain Botanical Garden where he also served on its board of directors. His greatest contribution was to develop Georgia Southern’s herbarium with a complete collection of 16,000 specimens, a resource record of plants and natural history. He is known for his research program on Elliottia racemosa, Georgia plume. He has been active in professional organizations particularly the Association of Southeastern Biologists and Georgia Academy of Sciences. His students will fondly remember him as someone who loved to teach field botany courses.
Survivors include his wife, Vickie Drapalik; sons, Daniel Wells of Statesboro and D.L. Wells and fiancé Rachel of Nevils and Bruce Moore of Raleigh, NC; daughter, Debbie Moore of Raleigh, NC; sister-in-law and brother-in-law Angie Williams and husband Lee of Ellabell; grandchildren, D.J., Layla and Ayden Wells; and cousin, JoAnn Nemic of Chicago, IL.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2015, 11:am, in the funeral home chapel, 197 S. College Street, Pembroke, GA 31321 with Pastor Stan Tyson officiating.
In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions in memory of Dr. Donald Joseph Drapalik to Ogeechee Area Hospice.