Donald "Don" Hather (1941 - 2011)

6 entries
  • "I met Don as a field director in Boy Scout camp in Grand..."
    - Wayne Shada
  • "I'll never forget the confidence he gave me when he coached..."
    - Todd Perkins
  • "Drop, tuck and roll. A gym class and a lesson in life I..."
    - Ricky Govaars
  • "I am so sorry to hear about the passing of our beloved..."
    - Kaye Peters
  • "I am so sorry to hear about the passing of our beloved..."
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Donald (Don) O. Hather passed away at age 70 on April 7, 2011 at his home in Skagway, AK. Funeral services were held at the Skagway school gymnasium on April 12. Pastor Ryan Mandeville provided the services and Maxine Selmer, the accompaniment for the hymnals. Good friends, Al Hill from Hoonah, AK, and Paul Kelley from Tok, AK, both gave eulogies and read letters from past students and teachers that Don had taught and worked with. Pallbearers were John L. O'Daniel, Rod Jensen, Rod Fairbanks, Tim McDonald, Bill Reasoner and Tim Fairbanks. Honorary pallbearers were Mike Mileski, Neal Klug and Mark Jennings. His final resting place was the Skagway Cemetery.

Don was born on March 5, 1941 to May Lucille Kasselder-Hather and C.O. Hather in Grand Island, NE. He leaves his wife of 48 years, Betty Harris-Hather, niece Lori Rivera, nephew Doug Merryman, and brother-in-law Nelson (Buzz) Merryman. His mother and father, and his sister, Eleanor Sue Merryman, preceded him in death. The family moved to Kearney, NE with Don at an early age. All his education was through the Kearney Public School system and then the University of NE at Kearney, where he received his teaching degree in 1964. He went on to become a teacher and coach for the next 35 years plus. He taught and coached in NE, KS, CO and finally Alaska. While attending the University, he participated in football and wrestling. He was inducted in to the University of NE at Kearney's Athletic Hall of Fame for wrestling and football. His main love in life was working with his students throughout the years. They were like his family and he cared for each and everyone. It gave him great pleasure to see them go out into the world and be successful. His career was filled with abundant awards. He was selected wrestling coach of the year in NE and also Alaska. He was inducted into the Alaska Athletic Hall of Fame for both coaching and refereeing. In 2007 he was inducted into the Alaska High School Activities Hall of Fame for coaching. The Skagway school introduced a Don Hather Hall Of Fame with him being the first recipient, and will be an ongoing award in his honor. He also had a Skagway Small Schools Basketball Tournament named in his honor.

After retiring to Skagway, AK he still kept active in the community. He was a member of the Elk's Lodge #431 and was an Elk Trustee, awarded Elk of the Month, and Outstanding Service and Citizenship award. He and his wife, Betty, were selected as recipients of the Helen B. Clark Community Service award and stayed as active members of the selection committee. He served on the local school board, Clinic Board, and Election Committee Board. He stayed active with the school, doing anything from fundraising to helping with activities and whatever else was needed, until failing health would no longer permit it. When he could watch the activities at the school, it was like it breathed new life in him. His goal was to make it through to the end of the basketball season to cheer the girls on to their 2nd state championship. He made it to that, and was content. He loved the community and its people. He was so happy to be a part of it.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to a scholarship fund in his name at the Skagway School, PO Box 497, Skagway, AK 99840-0497.
Published in The Juneau Empire from May 9 to May 16, 2011
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