Donald Stanley Brinkman

Donald Stanley Brinkman

Donald Stanley Brinkman died on May 28, 2021, in Cody. 

He was born in Fremont, Mich., on May 23, 1937, to Joe and Johanna (Tubbergan) Brinkman. He graduated from Fremont High School in 1955. He enlisted in the Michigan Army National Guard in 1954 and was honorably discharged in 1962. He attended the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan from 1955-1960, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s of science in mechanical engineering.

Following his graduation from U of M, he moved to Canoga Park, Calif., where he studied nuclear engineering at UCLA and worked in the Atomics International (AI) division of North American Aviation, which later became Rockwell International. At AI, he participated in the development and operational testing of compact nuclear reactors designed for generating electrical power in space.

He married Mary Elaine Berghuis on April 14, 1962. They had three beloved children: Douglas, Julie and Karen.

In 1967, he transferred to the Rocketdyne division of Rockwell International where he was a quality assurance engineer and worked in the manufacture of the Apollo and space shuttle rocket engines.

In 1973, he was recruited by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission division of nuclear regulation, which became the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. At the NRC, he participated in the development of standard technical specifications for licensing and safe operation of commercial nuclear reactors in the United States.

Immediately following the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear reactor accident in 1979, he was appointed the project manager in charge of licensing activities for the TMI facility. He was subsequently made the senior project manager for several other operating reactors. He retired from the USNRC in 1999 and then moved to Cody, where he continued to enjoy a lifelong enjoyment of hunting and fishing.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother John A. Brinkman, and his wife Mary. 

He is survived by their three children, Douglas (Linda), Julie and Karen Rogers (Andrew); and his two sisters Lois Groenenboom (Carroll) and Carolyn Boeve (Norman).

Cremation has taken place, and a private memorial service and burial of remains at Riverside Cemetery in Cody will take place at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to Fourth Presbyterian Church, 5500 River Road, Bethesda, MD, 20816, or at

Condolences to the family may be shared on Don’s page on

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