Donald E. Lavender
West Des Moines
Donald E. Lavender, 88, passed away on June 11, 2013, at Fountain West Health Center. Don was born in Newton, IA to Clifford and Beryl Lavender. He graduated from Mason City High School in 1942 and completed Mason City Jr. College in 1947. In 1949, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Group Work Education from George Williams College in Chicago.
He married Delores Bohlen on September 14, 1947 at the Mason City Congregational Church. They had four children. During WWII, Don was a Combat Veteran Rifle Squad Leader, Staff Sergeant, Co. I 39th lnf, 9th Division. He served in Germany, Hurtgen Forest, Bulge, Rhine River Crossing at Remagen and met Russians on Elbe River. Don remained in the reserves from 1950 to 1980 and retired from the military as a Colonel (0-6).
Don retired in 1998 from City of Des Moines Engineering Dept. Administrative Division. He previously served as Secretary Registrar of the Des Moines Scottish Rite Bodies (Masonic Fraternity), Director of Purchasing at the Bob Allen Cos., and Vice President-Administrative Services at American Republic Insurance.
Don was a member of Acanthus Masonic Lodge, Des Moines, 33° Scottish Rite Mason, Za-Ga-Zig Shrine, National Sojourners, Inc., and Reserve Officers Association. He served as Past President Central States Shrine Brass Band Association, Past President and Secretary Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Band, President and Secretary Iowa Military Veterans Band, served on the Iowa WWII Memorial Committee, and also played in the Greater Des Moines Community Band.
He authored more than 60 published articles, primarily in Masonic publications, and twice was the Recipient of the Valley Forge Honor Certificate for published articles. His writings included combat memoirs entitled *NUDGE BLUE***.
As a student of WWII, he collected first-hand accounts of the war. In 1999, he represented the U.S. Forces that fought in the Hurtgen Forest at the dedication of a "Friendship Stone." Traveling twice to Schmidt, Germany, he met with German veterans that he fought against and had extensive correspondence with Veterans on both sides of the conflict.
He is survived by his children, Nancy Lavender-Bobenhouse (Steve), David Lavender, and Lori Lavender-Jipp of the Des Moines area and Allan Lavender of Ames; granddaughter, Haley Lavender; and brother, Ron Lavender of Acapulco, Mexico. He was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Delores in 2001; sister, Marilyn Bertelson; and son-in-law, Chuck Jipp.
Thank you to the wonderful staff at Fountain West Health Center and Mercy Hospice. Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday, June 14, at Iles Funeral Homes-Westover Chapel. Funeral Services will be at the funeral home at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, followed by military honors and entombment at the Masonic Cemetery Mausoleum in Des Moines. Memorial contributions may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4114 Allison Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310 or Shriners Hospitals for Children. Online condolences may be shared at IlesCares.Com.
Published in Des Moines Register from June 13 to June 15, 2013