Photo: Farragut

At Beta Pi’s Founders Day Dinner 2022, a special award was presented to Don Schreiber, Beta Pi ’47, acknowledging his 75 years as a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. It is with deep regret to report that Don, a fixture at Pi Kappa Alpha for 75 years as a brother, mentor, life-long friend, and inspiration to generations of Beta Pi members, died on August 25, 2022.

Joining Pi Kappa Alpha in 1947, Don was a stalwart, loyal, and active member of the fraternity he loved and helped to rejuvenate during the critical period following World War II. Pi Kappa Alpha was one of the fraternities able to survive during a period when most of America’s young men were off to war. After the war, a significant number of returning veterans comprised the students at Penn. Being older than the typical freshmen, the veterans often had wives and children. They were not interested in fraternity life. Thanks to Don and others of that era, Pi Kappa Alpha has been able to survive and thrive these many years.

After graduating from Penn, Don eventually became an independent insurance agent affiliated with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company. At the time of Founders Day 2022, he was still going to his office every day. His leisure time was filled with his lifelong membership at the Huntingdon Valley Country Club. He also enjoyed golfing, boating, and traveling, including an around-the-world flight in a small, private plane, trips to Civil War battlefields, and visiting National Parks.

Besides Pi Kappa Alpha and the University of Pennsylvania, Don was also a valuable alumnus of his prep school, Admiral Farragut Academy, in New Jersey. Although the New Jersey location closed in 1994, Don remained faithful to the school. He was a major influence as a leader of the alumni association and served on the Farragut Board of Trustees for the school that is presently located in Florida.

Fortunately, brother Schreiber was equally faithful to his beloved fraternity. He could always be relied on and always came to Founders Day Dinners, annual luncheons at the Union League, as well as other impromptu gatherings. For decades, a group of approximately 25 alumni brothers met annually at the Union League in Philadelphia. In addition to the scheduled gatherings, he and other brothers of his era, along with their wives, met regularly for dinner at their homes. Don met and courted his wife, Betty Anne, when he was at Penn. Betty Anne was named Beta Pi’s Dream Girl during his senior year.

One of Don’s closest friends was the late Alberto J. Chamorro, Beta Pi ’47. Don was in frequent contact with him, including a visit to brother Chamorro’s native Nicaragua.   

He took pride that brothers of his era took a leading role, during the late 1960’s, in the transition from the former Chapter House location at 3900 Locust Street to the new location at 3916 Spruce Street.

Although he out-lived most of his contemporaries, he continued to make life-long friends with younger members. Despite his years, Don was in complete control of his faculties. As noted by Ross Weiner ‘80, Don was “with it mentally and physically at our last dinner…and had an iron grip too”.

All that knew him realized his fine character and worth. Bruce Wolfson ’71 succinctly put it, “He was a wonderful human being”. Don’s concern for the fraternity he loved and all it’s members never wavered. In fact, Don has described his membership simply, “My experience at Beta Pi gave me a bunch of true friendships that I’ve maintained a long time”.

Paul Zaentz ’69, summarizes, “It was always a pleasure speaking with Don. He certainly lived a full and adventurous life”.

Our most heart-felt condolences are extended to Don’s children, Richard (Beta Pi ’75), Bruce, and Peter, son-in-law Thomas Wallace, and seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter Lynn, sister Anne Collins, and his wife Betty Anne.