Donald James Halfpenny, FBI retiree

May 16, 2023

Donald James Halfpenny of Lewes passed away suddenly Thursday, May 11, 2023, after joyfully celebrating his 80th birthday with family and friends in April.

Don was one of six children, born and raised in Havertown, Pa., where he attended St. Denis School and Haverford High School. He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s University. After graduating, Don worked in accounting for the DuPont Company. In 1971, he proudly became an agent in the FBI and worked across three offices until his final assignment (1983-2000) in Philadelphia. A particularly meaningful investigative assignment was the search to secure James Earl Ray. As a member of the government SWAT team, Don was admiringly called Pops by younger agents he mentored. He closed his career in the FBI as supervisor of the financial fraud division. He enjoyed each day in the bureau and referred to his time in the FBI as “lifelong learning, a college without textbooks.”

Don cherished his boyhood friends (the St. Denis gang), his esteemed FBI colleagues, the Medford crew, and the 30-something friends in Chattanooga, and in retirement, his golf buddies in Rehoboth and Naples. His proud accomplishment was to shoot his age in his 70s. The family promised not to bury him with a putter.

Don was the quintessential family man, loving, devoted, and fully engaged with every aspect of family life. He was an amazing, exemplary husband, father, grandfather, and brother. He never missed a sporting event, school activity, or helping with a fix-it project. Don was happiest when, along with Sheila, he gathered with his children, their spouses, and grandkids for family events. He especially relished hosting the annual 4th of July celebrations and the inherent family triathlons at their home in Lewes. He was fun, quick-witted, energetic, and an interesting conversationalist, as well as the ultimate Eagles, Sixers, and Phillies fan (and critic).

Don was the devoted husband of 53 years to Sheila, and a loving father to Kelly Halfpenny Gerhart (Brent), Kevin Halfpenny (Jen) and Dr. Colleen Halfpenny. Don’s six grandchildren, Allie, Brooke and Brett Halfpenny, Gracie and Charlie Gerhart, and Delaney Ho, most affectionately called him PopPop. He was survived by his brother, Charles; and sisters, Mary and Anne; and by loving extended family members. He is preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Mabel; brother, Richard; and sister, Peggy.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 23, at St. Edmond Roman Catholic Church, 409 King Charles Ave., Rehoboth Beach, where friends may visit an hour before the Mass.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, Lewes.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Don’s name to the Elwyn Foundation, 111 Elwyn Road, Media. PA  19063,

Visit Don’s Life Memorial webpage and sign his virtual guestbook at


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