Don was born in Omaha, Nebraska on January 28, 1923 to Arthur Julius Mehl and Cecilia (McManus) Mehl. From the age of 14 and into his 90s, Don was an avid Ham Radio operator, with the call letters: W5BB. During World War II, Don served in the United States Army Signal Corp, 1st Lieutenant, at the Pentagon most of that time. After the war, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Creighton University. During his long career with Rockwell Collins, he furthered the field of telecommunications, including work related to the Apollo space missions and the advancement of fiber optic systems around the country.
An officer in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, Don worked for the Army General Staff operating two innovative secret systems for his country’s war effort, known as Sigsaly and Sigtot. These remained secret for decades after the war ended. He personally handled top-secret and eyes-only messages for General Marshall and other top military officers, as well as the president of the United States. In 2002, he published his book about these events, TOP SECRET COMMUNICATIONS OF WORLD WAR II, UNBREAKABLE ENCRYPTION FOR SECRET HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCES.
Don spent the last two decades of his life at Foxwood Springs retirement community in Raymore, MO, where he assisted with the community TV station. His years at Foxwood Springs were enriched by his friendship with the late Iris Sturgis.
Don was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Mae (Toland) Mehl; his son, David Lawrence Mehl; his parents, Arthur and Cecilia Mehl; and his sister, Cathryn Sassen.
He is survived by his children: Kathleen Mehl Chadwick (Daniel), Janmarie Rhodes, Art Mehl, and Therese Sellers (Scott). He was also very proud of his twelve grandchildren: Stephen, Celeste, Joseph, William, Michael, Michelle, Tony, Annie, Jessica, Jennifer, Christopher, and Joshua, as well as his 13 beautiful great grandchildren.