Donald Needy

Donald Lee Needy

Monday, June 4th, 1934 - Wednesday, July 1st, 2020
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On Wednesday, July 1st, 2020, at the age of 86, Donald Lee Needy died with family at his bedside.

Don was born into a growing Louisville family with meager means on June 4th, 1934, to Roy and Ethel Needy. He was the fourth of eight children.

After learning how to best fight his brothers and sisters for his share of the available food, Donnie got his first job at a very young age and quickly acquired a skill that would become one of his life’s greatest convictions: hard work. At the ripe old age of 13, he also just so happened to meet the girl that would become the love of his life, Carol Jean Adkisson.

Having hard work and determination at his (seemingly infinite) disposal, he graduated Louisville Male High School with a Track and Field record, and just before Christmas in December of 1954, Don married Carol, with whom he would build his entire life and to whom he would be wed until her death in 2004. Immediately after high school, he joined the US Navy where he served for 4 years - the majority of his time being spent on the USS Northampton. Following his tour in the Navy, Don took advantage of the GI Bill to study and graduate with a degree in Chemistry from the University of Louisville while also working at LG&E and helping his wife raise their three children: Donald, Patricia, and Jane.

He developed a passion for chemistry that, coupled with his hard work and determination, enabled him to navigate an incredibly successful career working for United Catalyst, and later led to co-founding Resource Chemical Company. While managing his career and family, Don also served as a Sunday School teacher, Finance Committee member and deacon at Beechland Baptist Church and was a member of the Shively Masonic Lodge for over 50 years. Don’s career took him all over the globe and sparked friendships on multiple continents that proved to stand the test of time. He finally (reluctantly) retired in 2014, at the age of 80.

While Mr. Needy’s education and professional accomplishments might have been impressive, they surely are not his most profound contributions. Most might remember him by his calm demeanor, his strong presence, and his charismatic speaking ability. Some would refer to his love for Christ and the time he spent serving the church. Others might recall the intense pride and appreciation he always expressed for his family and friends. Many will remember him by his seemingly random, yet incredibly generous, acts of kindness and charity toward others. His close friends and family will never forget his willingness to give, his unwavering encouragement, his high expectations, his unconditional love, and his tight, grumbling hugs.

There is truly no possible way to sum up this man’s life of work, passion, learning, giving, and loving - especially in an obituary - but this will hopefully serve as a flame to light your own memories of Don and bring you some joy in a time of heartache.

Donald Lee Needy is preceded in death by his parents Roy and Ethel Needy, wife of 50 years Carol Needy, second wife Janet Needy, brothers William Needy, Sonny Needy, and Pat Needy, sisters Jeannie Davis and Bitsy Moody, and great-grandson Samuel Hack.

Don is survived by his brother George Needy, sister Jo Ann Fiorello, son Donald R (Rose) Needy, daughters Patricia Kinsella and Jane Needy, grandchildren Sara Needy, Amanda (Adam) Hack, Patrick (Erica) Kinsella, Dustin McElwain and Nicholas McElwain, and great-grandchildren Aubrey Hack, Braden Hack, Joy Hack and Charlie Kinsella.

Visitation will be held at Highlands Funeral Home on Sunday, July 12th from 1:00pm to 6:00pm and the funeral service will immediately follow. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to the Salvation Army.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Sunday, July 12th, 2020 | 1:00pm - 6:00pm
    Sunday, July 12th, 2020 1:00pm - 6:00pm
    Highlands Family-Owned Funeral Home
    3331 Taylorsville Rd.
    LOUISVILLE, KY 40205
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Sunday, July 12th, 2020 | 6:00pm
    Sunday, July 12th, 2020 6:00pm
    Highlands Family-Owned Funeral Home
    3331 Taylorsville Rd.
    LOUISVILLE, KY 40205
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Chady and Jim Eversole

Posted at 05:52pm
Donnie was my cousin, he was a wonderful, gentle, loving man who deeply loved his family. Donnie had so much love to give and he was truly a great man every single day of the week. He will be greatly missed by all of Chet Needy, Sr. family. Continued prayers for quick healing for Joanne, Jane, Patti and Don, Jr. I will always remember Donnie and Carol. Per Donnie’s request I will donate to The Salvation Army. RIP Donnie, I’ll never forget you.😞


Posted at 09:27am
"Donald Needy" brought so many gifts to our life. We will never forget him!
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Derek R. Guthrie

Posted at 11:23am
Our sincerest condolences to Don's family.
Derek and Bambi Guthrie

Lisa Reeves Miller

Posted at 01:31pm
Dear Don, You were truly a wonderful person and a great dad to my brothers, sister and I, as well as a wonderful grandfather to our children..
You were one of a kind and I think of you and mom everyday. You were our family too and we will miss you...
I will never forget you and your ability to cheer me on bad lots lisa miller

Bert Knight

Posted at 01:11pm
Don was indeed a hard worker.
When I joined Catalysts & Chemicals Inc, CCI, in 1965, I worked for Don in the Quality Control Department. Don impressed me with his integrity and his commitment to quality. In those days this was not an easy job but Don spoke up and fought for maintaining the quality standards of the each and every product, each and every shipment.
In Sales, Don was a customer man who went to bat for his customers. He sold a catalyst which was sometimes difficult to understand and operate. He helped customers to understand how to operate this catalyst.
Don made a real contribution both to the early CCI and to the successor company, United Catalysts Inc.

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