Donald F. Parsons of West Chester, founder of Communications Test Design, died Jan. 7 at age 87.
Parsons was born in Halethorpe, Md., on Jan. 31, 1925 and grew up in West Philadelphia. He served in the Navy during World War II and then worked for 28 years with the AT&T Western Electric Co. He was known for his technical troubleshooting ability and was flown around the United States to work with AT&T Bell Labs and the Bell Telephone Companies to troubleshoot their most difficult technical problems.
In 1975, at the age of 50, with the courageous support of his wife, Bette, Parsons started his own business in the repair of electronic telecommunications equipment. That year, with his sons Jerry and Richard, Parsons founded Communications Test Design Inc. in the two-car, two-story garage that the family built that summer on the side of his home in West Chester.
With his vision, leadership and entrepreneurial spirit, CTDI has grown from its humble beginnings with three employees in the garage to an industry leading, world-class global telecommunications, engineering, repair and logistics services company servicing the world’s leading telephone companies, cable companies and wireless carriers.
Parsons’ proudest accomplishments with CTDI are the opportunities and jobs that his vision and wisdom have created. CTDI employs over 5,000 employees in 50 operations world-wide. CTDI employs over 3,500 employees in the United States and is one of the 10 largest employers in Chester County with over 1,200 employees.
Parsons’ favorite pastimes included walking on the boardwalk and fishing in the bays of Margate, N.J. He invited everyone to watch the beautiful sunset and would routinely say, “Isn’t that beautiful? Aren’t we blessed?”
His outlook on life was always positive; he was always thankful for the blessings bestowed on him, especially his faith. Don and Bette have been parishioners of SS. Peter and Paul Parish in West Goshen since its inception in 1967. They have instilled a spirit of “How can we help?” in their family, their business and those they meet by their example of giving and helping wherever they have been able. The couple has been tireless supporters of Catholic education especially supporting the parochial Catholic grade schools in Chester County, Bishop Shanahan High School, the Office of Catholic Education and the Stewards of St. John Neumann.
The funeral Mass for Parsons was celebrated Jan. 11 at SS. Peter and Paul Church. In lieu of flowers, donations in Parsons’ memory may be made to the Camilla Hall Renovation Project at Villa Maria House of Studies, Immaculata, or to CTDI CARES (Care, Assistance & Resources for Employee Support) at CTDI, Attention: CTDI CARES, 1373 Enterprise Drive, West Chester, PA 19380
Parsons is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Bette, and their eight children, 20 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Don and Bette’s children are the Honorable Donald F. Parsons, Jr. (Ethel), Dr. Robert L. Parsons (Marilyn), Richard M. Parsons (Claudia), Gerald J. (Jerry) Parsons (Eleanor), Elizabeth A. (Beth) Forsythe (Jeff), Sister M. Judith Kathryn I.H.M., Leo D. Parsons (Maryanne) and Christine P. Bendinelli (G. Joseph).
Parsons was preceded in death by his brothers Bill, Steve and Joe and great grandson Liam Robert.