Pepper gets surprise 88th birthday party at Vienna McDonald’s

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp presents a proclamation Friday morning to Don Pepper at the McDonald’s in Vienna as Teresa Smith, the mayor’s assistant, looks on. At the bottom is a photograph of a Little League team from Vienna, in the 1960s, that Pepper coached. He can be seen at right in the photo. (Photo by Paul LaPann)

VIENNA — Don Pepper arrived Friday morning at the McDonald’s in Vienna expecting to eat breakfast and talk with friends.


Later in the morning, friends arrived with a birthday cake and card in celebration of Pepper’s 88th birthday on Friday. The group sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp presented Pepper with a proclamation at McDonald’s recognizing his contributions to Vienna and the United States.

Rapp also gave Pepper a framed photograph of a Little League baseball team that Pepper had coached in Vienna around the late 1960s. Pepper’s son Fred was a member of that baseball team in the Vienna Recreation program.

Don Pepper, a 1950 graduate of Parkersburg High School, received this birthday cake Friday at McDonald’s in Vienna. (Photo Provided)

Pepper said he was surprised by the birthday party at McDonald’s. He is a regular customer at the Vienna McDonald’s and a member of the informal “breakfast club” that meets daily at the Grand Central Avenue restaurant.

“I like the coffee and camaraderie” at the Vienna McDonald’s, he said.

Pepper is a 1950 graduate of Parkersburg High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving from 1951 to January 1955.

Pepper worked at DuPont Washington Works for 34 1/2 years, retiring in 1990.

For many years, Pepper enjoyed bass fishing and running and walking for exercise. He would walk several miles a day.

Don Pepper holds a photograph of a Vienna Little League baseball team that he coached in the 1960s. He is at back row at right in the photograph. (Photo Provided)

Pepper has been married to Edna for 64 years. The couple has four children, six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

The proclamation thanked Pepper for his years of military service and for his “dedication to the development of the youth and Vienna Recreation programs through the years.”

The cake carried the message: “Happy Birthday Pepper. Once a Big Red Always a Big Red.”

Pepper said the Vienna group is a “great bunch of guys.”

“I appreciate what they did,” he said.