Don Delos Eldridge, 87, former Skagit Valley resident passed away October 16, 2007 in Olympia, WA. He was born on December 26, 1919 in Mount Vernon to Ray and Blanche (Thorpe) Eldridge, who owned the local newspaper and later a stationary store that served the community.
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Don was educated in local schools, where he served as President of the Mount Vernon High School Associated Student Body, and began his life-long involvement in the Boy Scouts of America earning the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Mount Vernon Junior College of Education, then Washington State University, and finally graduated from Western Washington State College with a BA degree in Education in 1944. His education was punctuated by stints in the military service, including flying instruction, but his military service was cut short by a medical condition before he could see active service in WWII.
He gained a broad experience holding a series of jobs, which taught him the value of work and commitment as well as honing his business and social skills.
Don joined several community groups in Mount Vernon, notably the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club where he rose to regional and national prominence, the Mount Vernon YMCA and various regional business associations. He was appointed a trustee of Western Washington State College in 1949 and served for a decade, assuming the chair for the last two years. Don was deeply involved in the administration of Boy Scouts, locally, regionally and internationally, being honored with several national awards.
The early death of his father brought him into the family business in which he made his career until his appointment to the Washington State Liquor Control Board in 1970, and a subsequent move to Olympia.
Don first became involved in politics at the precinct level. In 1952 he won a seat representing the Fortieth District and was reelected eight times, serving as Speaker of the House in 1967 and 1969. When Governor Evans appointed Don to the Liquor Control Board he brought his retail expertise and legislative experience to his service on the Board for nine years. Don returned to the world of business in an Olympia property management company and continued his involvement in the Boy Scouts until his passing.
Don is survived by his sons, Ray (Mary) of West Seattle, Jon (Penny) of Yakima; daughters Jean (Dave Linde) of Mount Vernon and Sally (Jerry Higgens) of Olympia; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
A public memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 27, 2007 at 1:00 PM at Kern Funeral Home. A private family committal will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be sent to the Carlyle Bills Memorial Fund, C/0 Boy Scouts of America Troop #1, PO Box 183, Mount Vernon, WA 98273 or to a favorite charity.
Condolences may be sent to the family in care of Kern Funeral Home.
You can share your memories of Don, and sign his online guest register at www.kernfuneralhome.com
Local arrangements are under the care of Kern Funeral Home.
Kern Funeral Home
1122 South 3rd Street
Mount Vernon, WA 98273
Published in Skagit Valley Herald Publishing Company on Oct. 23, 2007