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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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From life's menu, he'd always skip broccoli
By STEPHANIE HAYES
Published July 11, 2007
» Fast Facts
Born: Sept. 13, 1920.
Died: July 6, 2007.
Survivors: A daughter, Evelyn Cary, and her husband, Pete; six grandchildren, Amanda and Kenneth Mitchell, Tammy Anderson, Connie Mason, Michael and Ashley Cary; three great-grandchildren, Tyler, Matthew and Briana Anderson. Preceded in death by wife, Lucille, and daughter, Sheryl Mason.
Services: Reception, 11:30 a.m. Friday, Chas E. Davis Funeral Home, 3075 S Florida Ave. Graveside service and military honors at 2:30 p.m., Florida National Cemetery of Bushnell, 6502 SW 102nd Ave.
INVERNESS - Kenneth Doncaster knew what he liked.
Mondays and Fridays, he ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday in Inverness.
His booth? Always 704. His server? Always Melissa Giddings, 28. His order? Steak, mini-burgers or shrimp - always with french fries.
Giddings tended to Doncaster like a grandfather.
"You're getting broccoli," she'd say.
"I don't like broccoli."
Friday, he didn't come in. Doncaster died that day at 86, possibly of renal failure, his family said.
Behind the french fries, there was a rich history.
During World War II, Germans captured Doncaster in the Battle of the Bulge, imprisoning him for 99 days.
Doncaster came home, disabled from sleeping on concrete. A plaque in St. Petersburg's Williams Park listed him as both "missing" and "dead."
He wrote to the newspaper.
"I am, with my wife and mother, in residence at 4125 Sixteenth Street north, and very much alive."
Doncaster's photo ran - Cheshire Cat smile, cap cocked to the side.
For 22 years, he worked as a Veterans Administration officer, helping soldiers learn their rights and benefits.
He served under two Florida governors on the Advisory Council of Veterans Affairs. Passionate that local vets should have a resting place, he lobbied for creation of the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell.
He'll be buried there in two days - Friday the 13th.
It's on purpose, said his daughter, Evelyn Cary. Her father was born Friday the 13th. "I know he's laughing about it now," she said.
His sense of humor was a little dark, a lot sarcastic. He made foes, because some people didn't get his jokes.
On Father's Day, they ate dinner. Doncaster looked at his daughter, who will turn 52 this year.
"I can't believe you're going to be that old," he told her.
"Happy Father's Day, Dad," she said.
Doncaster was nearly blind from macular degeneration. But he was fiercely independent and insisted on living alone.
A longtime drinker, he quit three years ago. He still visited the VFW post on State Road 44, where he hung out with military buddies. And as ex-soldiers hammered back spirits, Doncaster hammered back cranberry juice.