Donald R. Waful: The Remarkable Life Story of a Local Syracusan

Donald R. Waful has been a dedicated Syracuse citizen for nearly a century.  As a young adult, he attended Syracuse University where he earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.  He enlisted in the United States army in 1941 and served overseas when the U.S. entered World War II.  He met his future wife, army nurse Olga “Cassie” Casciolini, while stationed in Northern Ireland.  He then served in the North African campaign where he was taken as a prisoner of war in 1942.  He would remain a POW first in Italy, then in Poland, for the duration of the war.  He was reunited with Cassie at the end of World War II, afterward settling in Syracuse.  Don went on to have a career in insurance and served as President of the Syracuse Chiefs baseball team for 35 years.  Waful has remained active in the Syracuse community, both with Syracuse University and the Chiefs baseball team.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, Onondaga Historical Association opened this exhibit examining the life of Don Waful, who is nearing 102 years old, at the Onondaga Historical Museum in downtown Syracuse.  This exhibit, designed and installed by SUNY Potsdam undergraduate student, Mahala Nyberg, details Waful’s experiences during World War II as well as his experiences before and after the war in Syracuse.  Nyberg has worked with Waful for the past two to three years documenting his extraordinary life story, significant in its own right and one that deserves to be shared with his community.  The goal of this exhibit, in part, is to help tell Waful’s story from his own perspective.

The exhibit is open for viewing during regular museum hours (Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday, 10-4 and Saturday & Sunday, 11-4)

For all questions concerning this exhibit, please contact museum curator, Tom Hunter, at (315) 428-1864 x 320 or