Cover photo for Donald Elwood Lee's Obituary
Donald Elwood Lee Profile Photo

Donald Elwood Lee

December 18, 1928 — November 7, 2017

Donald Elwood Lee

Donald Elwood Lee was born on December 18th, 1928 to Easton Elwood Lee and Laura Melinda Higgins Lee in Upland, California. He was the first son and the fourth child born to his parents. 

A short time later the Lee family moved to Panaca, Nevada, where Don was raised. He graduated from Lincoln County High School in the Spring of 1947. Don was an outstanding student, athlete and voted most popular boy.

Don's first job was for Pan American Mines just 14 miles west of Panaca. He also worked as a lineman for Union Pacific Railroad and mined for Combined Metals at Castleton while in Nevada.

Don was well liked wherever he went. In the Spring of 1951, he was drafted to serve in the Army during the Korean Conflict. After completing Basic Training, a sergeant was giving out assignments and asked Don where he was from. To Don's surprise, the sergeant knew the small town of Panaca well and they shared a few stories. The sergeant asked Don where he would like to be stationed. Having spent most of his life in the desert, Don chose the California Coast and served at Camp San Luis Obispo. 

After the Army, jobs had become scarce at home, so Don loaded up his 53 DeSoto and headed for Washington State. He was hired by Shell Oil Company in July of 1955 as an Operator Trainee, then became a Mechanic No. 1 Electrician in November 1962. Don took pride in his 30 year career at Shell where he made many friendships that lasted throughout his life. 

While Don was married to Mary Lou Peterson of Burlington, Washington, he built a home on Sect-ion Street and had four children: John, Julie, Sue and Gloria. While living in Burlington, the Lee family was active in the LDS church and enjoyed music, biking, roller skating, hiking, and tent camping. They traveled to Nevada often, as well as the Western States, Mexico, Calgary and Hawaii.

Don was a car enthusiast and had many favorites over the years, from the early Chryslers and DeSotos, to more practical family vehicles and the two old Fords that he inherited from family. Good cars seemed to find him and he cared for them well. One he rescued from a garage in Nevada that had been parked for 19 years. Later in life, he bought two MGs and joined a British Car Club. He loved to attend local car shows for the cars and also the friends he had made over the years, and kept a collage of every car he'd owned in his pocket. 

Don retired from Shell in 1985. He moved to Shelter Bay in La Conner in August of 1986. There was a home with a great view of the Rainbow Bridge but it was next to a small public park so it had been on the market for some time. Don saw the park as bonus space and bought the house. He kept a big box of toys for kids that came to play in the park. He had a canoe for cruising on the channel and enjoyed boating and crabbing in his classic Skagit motorboat. He had a hot tub with a view of the channel which is where he started each morning. 

Don was never without a camera and was a great amateur photographer. At last count, he had over 24,000 scanned photos.

Don made friends wherever he went, always opening doors for ladies and could give a genuine compliment that would make someone's day. He had a gift of enjoying the simple things in life and sharing that feeling. He loved to care for others.

Don Lee passed away on November 7th, 2017 from renal cell carcinoma. 

He was preceded in death by his wife Sharon Lee, son John Elwood Lee, brother Wayne Lee, sisters Laura Marie Bellingheri and Virginia Hellyer. 

Don is survived by his daughters Julie Harsh, Susan Lee and Gloria Davis, his grandchildren Danielle Bleier, Davis Harsh and Bo Davis. He is survived by his loving nieces and nephews.

A memorial will be held at a later date.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald Elwood Lee, please visit our flower store.


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