After a valiant battle with leukemia, Donald B. McCumby was cleared for takeoff to his heavenly home, Dec. 6, 2012. He passed peacefully with his sweetheart by his side and his family surrounding him in the house they built together.
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He was born in Everett, Wash., Aug. 1, 1935. After graduating from Everett High School, Don attended the University of Washington, where he received his B.A. in Business.
He met his sweetheart Carmen when they both attended South Junior High School. The imposing 6ft. 4'' football player who made offensive linemen tremble in their cleats was too shy to talk to such a beautiful girl. He passed her a note one day asking her for a date, if Carmen didn't want to go out with him, he asked her to return his card; after 60 years of marriage, she still has the yellowed card in her treasure chest. The Junior High School sweethearts were married on December 31, 1952 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. They renewed their commitment to each other for all eternity when they were sealed together in the Seattle Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on August 10, 1983.
Don played football for the University of Washington and was drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the NFL. A devoted family man, Don decided to forego his football career because it would be too hard to be separated from his treasured wife and children during the long season.
He worked at various companies after graduation, and then in 1960, he started working for Pay n' Save Drugs in Seattle. In 1970, Don and Carmen moved their five children, two dogs, and a cranky cat to Fairbanks, Alaska, to open a new Pay n' Save drug store. He had a successful career with Pay n' Save, and was promoted to Regional Vice President for the State of Alaska. Out of the hundreds of stores in the lower 48, the 12 Alaska stores were the most profitable in the entire Pay n' Save company. After retirement from Pay n' Save, along with his business partners, the Gavora and Lund families; Don helped open the Sentry Hardware and Ben Franklin stores in the Gavora Mall.
He enjoyed working with his customers, and treated them as friends. Even if a sale was going to amount to less than a dollar, Don gladly would go the extra mile to help someone solve a tricky hardware or plumbing problem. He was respected in the Alaskan business community as a man of honor and integrity.
He loved working with young people and coached a youth football team in Bothell, Wash. When he arrived in Fairbanks, he recognized the need for youth sports in his community and Don was instrumental in organizing the Youth Football program in Fairbanks. Thousands of young men and women have enjoyed playing football over the years due to his efforts.
He was an avid sportsman, and loved piloting his Cessna 180. Don was involved with the Outdoor Counsel and Ducks Unlimited. A devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he enjoyed serving in his church and in the Fairbanks Community in many capacities.
Don received countless accolades as a football star and a legendary Alaskan businessman, but his greatest accomplishment was his family; he was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather who practiced his motto: "Family First."
He is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Carmen; his sisters, Mary Rogers (Dennis) of Snohomish, Wash., and Sandi Pedigo (John) of Everett, Wash.; Mother in law, Ferne Frazier of Everett, Wash.; his daughters, Kristy (Hyland) of Las Vegas; Sheila McCumby of Anchorage; Mary McCumby and her companion Ben Sydnam of Wasilla. His sons: Donald F. (Diana) of Fairbanks, Scott C. and his companion Leisa Kelsey of Fairbanks, and Benjamin (Teresa) of Las Vegas. Grandchildren: Joseph Hyland, Ben Hyland, Scott B. McCumby (Melissa), Brooks McCumby (Shawna), Robert Mitchell (Jacque), Donald J. McCumby (Christa), Trevor McCumby, Kaitlyn McCumby, Wyatt Moses, Khaymen McCumby, Samuel McCumby, Ashlynn McCumby, Connor McCumby and Brenden McCumby. Great-grandchildren: Barrett McCumby, Merrick McCumby, Kierran McCumby, Trenton McCumby, Hayden McCumby, Wesley Baker, Harrison Mitchell, and Riley Jane Murphy (as well as one more on the way).
Don is preceded in death by his parents, Charles (Sig) and Dorothy (Britt) McCumby, his brother Charles and his sister Jean; father-in-law, C.V. Frazier, and his son-in-law Kenneth Hyland.
A celebration of Don's wonderful life will be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center, 1500 Cowles Street. Prior to the service, there will be a viewing from 11:30am to 12:30pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Fairbanks Hospice, the Food Bank, or the
. Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Dec. 9, 2012