Community comes together for Don Johnson celebration

September 15, 2023

All of us were saddened by the sudden passing of our beloved friend and Irish Eyes bartender, Don Johnson. The community came together Sept. 10 at Irish Eyes to celebrate his life. It was an event filled with smiles and tears, happiness and sadness, food and drink. The lobby of Irish Eyes was filled with mountains of new toys for Toys for Tots, Don’s favorite charity, brought by attendees in memory of Don. Irish Eyes memorialized the occasion by closing for lunch, thereby allowing its employees to attend the celebration and providing a buffet of hot and cold food for everyone to enjoy. Homemade desserts were brought by many. Local musicians set the mood with their music. Don’s closest friends shared stories and memories that made us laugh and cry.    

But what struck me the most was the strong sense of community shown and felt throughout the celebration. Longtime Irish Eyes co-workers of Don’s, his family members from North Carolina, Irish Eyes owners and staff who mingled with the crowd, and hundreds of us. Those of us who frequented Irish Eyes and had been served countless times by Don, having our favorite beverage and a menu set before us as we sat at the bar or a high-top table, with a greeting, a question about our family or a recent trip we had taken, and a smile. A wonderful, warm smile. Charter boat and head boat captains, musicians, fishermen and women, hardworking folks who made their living on the water, local innkeepers, retired folks from all walks of life, young folks just old enough for an adult beverage all came together to remember the man who was as familiar to us as a member of our families. To me, this is what living in Lewes is all about. Caring about and respecting those folks in your community regardless of whether they were acquaintances, close friends or your neighbors. And giving to each other – love, compassion, financial support, compliments, donations to charities, hugs, homemade food and baked goods or just being there to listen. This is our Lewes community.  

And Don Johnson will forever be a part of those of us in the community who were lucky enough to have known him. 

Abbey Feierstein


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