In the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, Don L. Elhart age 82, was out on the deck of his home feeding the birds, came in with some difficulty breathing, and within minutes of sitting down, he passed. No pain, just a shortness of breath. We believe his heart to which he has had so many challenges over the years (smoked from age 11 to age 48), simply stopped and was not to be restarted this time. He was born May 12, 1930. The paramedics and Jefferson County Sheriff's Department of Clancy, Mont., were summoned, responded quickly, were wonderful, but never a spark. He died quickly and without pain in the comfort of his own living room. He did not have to be transported to the hospital. He did not have to go through the ER drill just one more time. The County Coroner/Sheriff and our Pastor Martin Russell of Our Redeemers' Lutheran Church came over and we had prayer and some time alone with him before the Anderson, Stephenson Wilkes Funeral home came to pick him up. What a wonderful team we had there that night! You would know he is going to be greatly missed. We really felt with his pacemaker and recent stint surgery we had a longer time to enjoy life with him. I am so sorry to say, it was not to be. Cremation has taken place and we will schedule a service to celebrate his life soon. This will be when we can get all family members here, most likely sometime after the holidays and into the New Year. His wife Joan Barbara Elhart is doing as well as could be expected. A solo chapter without her partner of 62 years will be a tough go for a while at least. We are all numb and just taking it hour by hour for a while now. Don was born in Grand Junction, Colo., at the home of "Aunt Edith Flagg," on May 12, 1930, to parents Donavan Albert Elhart and Ada Grace VanGundy. He graduated from East High, Denver, Colo., in 1948. The VanGundy family in Grand Junction, Colo., along with his dear cousins including Berta Donn (Flagg) Gardener and Marilyn Kotich always provided him with strong and positive memories and connection. He has one sibling, Gary A. Elhart, another strong, positive individual. On March 10, 1951, he married his love and partner for life, Joan Barbara Dodge. Her parents Denton D. Dodge and Ruby Marie Dodge were like parents also to Don. To this union they were blessed with three children, Linda Gail Bosley and husband Jim; Rick Donn Elhart and wife Susan; and Steven Mark Elhart and wife Sunnie. Don and Joan share six grandchildren, Heather Marie Muhonen and husband Tim; James Ryan Bosley; Kate Susan Joyce and husband Jerem; Penny Joan Leslie and husband Nick; Thomas Lee Elhart and Lindsey Jo Elhart. They also share two great-grandchildren, Olivia Muhonen and Aubrie Muhonen. He served his country, enlisted in the United States Navy
as a gunner on the USS Helena during the Korean Conflict
. He received honorable discharge from active duty on Dec. 6,1949, and honorable discharge from Naval reserve in 1955. Don was known as being a great listener and easily made friends. He worked for Texaco, Inc for 38 years, starting in the mail room at age 20. While working two other jobs needed to support his young family, he subsequently received his college degree in engineering from experience there and finished his career as their top petroleum/sales engineer. They referred to him as the "Desert Fox" with them not really understanding him â€¦ you see he was simply able to win clients over with his willingness to really care, address their needs and to listen. His name was a synonym for integrity and honesty. He did what he said he would do! He was loved deeply by all of his family and many friends and we will miss him deeply. He did leave something behind â€¦ a legacy, which will serve generations! This legacy is that there is a bit of him in each of us who knew him, learned from him and loved his quiet and sincere way. He and his wife Joan raised their children in the way of the Lutheran Church and we know he is with Christ now and that we will follow him in our time and again be with him with Christ through Eternity. Thanks dad, grampa, husband, father in law and friend for being there as the sturdy root for this family. You are truly missed!