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Donald Neithercut Obituary
Donald Charles Neithercut passed away on February 7, 2013 at Applewood Morningstar Assisted Living in Wheat Ridge. He was 92. Born on September 4, 1920 in Flint, Michigan, Don was the first child of Charles Neithercut and Hazel Mater. After graduation from the University of Michigan, Don and his wife, Jeanne, moved to DenverColorado. Don and Jeanne had two children -- Diana and Lawrence. Jeanne died in 1951. Don met Laurabel Hess Olson at TrinityUnitedMethodistChurch. They married in 1953 and had 2 children -- Douglas and Loren. In 1936 when Don was 16 he drove across the United States on mostly dirt roads to attend a Methodist Youth Fellowship National Conference in Boulder. During that visit he drove up Pikes Peak and the area so impressed him that he planned then to return. That he made it across the country, up Pikes Peak and back to Michigan at age 16 in a 1930's car on occasionally passable roads during the Depression clearly showed he could do what he put his mind to. Don was a mechanical engineer, and was a founding partner in American Steel and Iron Works in Denver. Every time you travel through the Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels, you are able to breathe fresh air thanks to the large ventilating stacks that greet your entrance to the tunnels and were made by American Steel & Iron. The piping, storage reservoirs and pressure vessels built by American Steel dot the RockyMountain west and continue to provide fresh drinking water and fuel for many communities. After retirement, Don and Laurabel traveled extensively as members of the Greater Denver chapter of Friendship Force International, a cross-cultural adult exchange program. Don was a past President of the Denver chapter and he and Laurabel attended many functions around the world including an International Convention in Japan. Through Friendship Force, Don and Laurabel made lifelong friends around the world, and visited every continent except Antarctica. A generous and civic-minded Denverite, Don was an active board member of Savio House, a residential program for struggling families, and received their Lifetime Achievement award in 2002. In November 2003 he was awarded The Denver Foundation's Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer award, receiving it from newly elected Mayor John Hickenlooper. The day following his receipt of this award was declared "Donald C. Neithercut day" in Denver. His activism scope was not always so grand - during this same period he organized a Seniors - elementary student Pen Pal program at MartensenElementary School in Wheat Ridge. Seniors and students blossomed from this exchange. He was a past master of the Paul Revere Masonic Lodge 162 A.F. & A.M, a longtime member of the Denver Lions Club, and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). After his move to Wheat Ridge in 1954, Don became a lifelong and active member of Wheat RidgeUnitedMethodistChurch, frequently serving numerous functions from advisory and management to maintenance and planning. Although the choir did not recruit him, he loved to sing! Don was an avid gardener, and was a member of the Wheat Ridge Garden Club, National Garden Club and Arbor Day foundation. In the spring and summer, he could be found in the early hours watering the Club's communal garden, and his green thumb provided bountiful vegetables for the family and his Wheat Ridge neighbors. Don loved the outdoors, and took his oldest 2 children on one of the last raft trips down the Colorado River before it was dammed to form LakePowell. He enjoyed sailing his El Toro on many of the lakes around Denver and EstesPark. He was an avid fisherman, hiker and camper and frequently donated his time to his sons Boy Scout Troop 97 functions, weekend campouts and trips out of state as well as his daughters Girl Scout activities He spent many a glorious summer day at the family cabin in EstesPark, cherishing his view of Longs Peak. There were few things on his list that would top the view from the Estes deck. Don enjoyed carpentry and furniture refinishing and instilled the understanding that all complicated things are made of simpler parts and therefore can be repaired when broken. He and son Douglas built a telescope, which spends many evenings scanning the skies around EstesPark. The grandfather clock that he built stands in the apartment at Morningstar. Don is preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Jeanne, his son Lawrence, and his sister Helen Broholm. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Laurabel, his brother Edward of Traverse City, MI, daughter Diana Menapace and her husband David, sons Douglas and his wife Caroline Quine, Loren and his wife Victoria Schleyer, grandchildren Darin and Danielle Menapace, Hazel and Pearl Neithercut, 3 great grandchildren -- Ava, Logan and Lana Menapace, and many loving nieces nephews and friends to whom he served as father figure and dependable friend. In lieu of flowers please make any donations to Savio House, a 501 (c) (3) organization at 325 King Street, Denver, CO, 80219, 303-225-4100 or on-line at https://www.givingfirst.org/index.php?section=organizations&action=newDonation&fwID=36185
Published in Denver Post on Feb. 17, 2013
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