Donald Blackshear Booth
1928 - 2020
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Donald Blackshear Booth
January 27, 1928 - December 24, 2020
Resident of Lafayette, CA
He took pride in both his U.S. Air Force and Army military service, and a 35-year career at a major corporation where he started off rolling oil barrels and ended as a labor relations executive. While he enjoyed his role as father and grandfather, it was his 69-year marriage to his late wife, Alice, that meant the most to him.
Donald Blackshear Booth passed away December 24, after celebrating an early Christmas with his daughters and their families. Don never spent a Christmas without his beloved wife, Alice, who died on Nov. 27, except when serving our country during his war service. It seems his last Christmas wish was to be with her again. He wished everyone goodnight, told them he loved everyone, went to bed and died peacefully in his sleep Christmas Eve morning. Don struggled with Alzheimer's and dementia for the last few years but he never forgot his love for Alice.
Don was born January 27, 1928, in Honolulu, the Territory of Hawaii, to Norman Topping Booth and Mary Blackshear Booth, the youngest of three children. His father's job with the American Can Co. on Oahu gave his children the opportunity to grow up in Hawaii. Don and his brother and sister made the most of it. Don enjoyed sharing stories of his youth – living in a house in the country with a taro patch in the backyard, chickens the family raised for food that he named and considered pets, shimmying up coconut palms, learning to play the ukulele and body surfing at Waikiki before it was a tourist hot spot.
The family moved to California when Don was 12, the year before Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. They lived in the Bay Area for a few years, settling in Piedmont, where Don attended Piedmont High School. They later moved to the Monterey Peninsula, where Don's father continued to work as the American Can Co., canning plant manager in Monterey, overseeing sardine canning, near where the Monterey Aquarium now stands on Cannery Row. The family lived in Pacific Grove and Don attended Pacific Grove High School, graduating in 1946.
After high school, Don enlisted in the U.S. Army, to pay for college with the GI Bill. He entered Stanford, and that is where he and Alice met, when he was working at the university dining hall. They dated throughout their college years, graduating in 1950. Don had joined the USAF after serving in the Army from July 1946 to January 1948. He received orders to go to Iceland at the same time Alice was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London School of Economics. Alice planned their wedding in three weeks and they were married at the Stanford Chapel on June 9, 1951. The couple honeymooned in Mexico and then left for England and Iceland. They reunited in Italy for a European honeymoon during the Spring of 1952 after months of letter writing.
When the Korean War ended, Don and Alice lived briefly in Macon, GA, before moving to Salinas, where Don started working for Standard Oil Co., now Chevron. The Booths later moved to Oakland, where Diane was born in 1954. Suzanne was born in 1957 and later that year the family settled in Lafayette. The couple's son, Donald, was born in 1961. The family lived in Lafayette until 1964, when Don's job moved the family to Westfield, NJ, returning to Lafayette in 1970.
Don retired from Chevron in 1985 and he and Alice had a long and active retirement. They traveled in their RV throughout the U.S., playing golf along the way and visited many countries around the world, often by cruise ship. Many of the cruises were with groups of friends, either Don's former co-workers at Chevron or couples from SIRS (Seniors In Retirement). Don and Alice really enjoyed visiting new places and experiencing different cultures on their trips abroad, but they also took great pleasure in the cruise vacations that gave them the opportunity to get dressed up and dance the night away.
Don is survived by his daughters, Diane Booth Conway (Mike) of Merced and Suzanne Booth (Steve Clement) of Forest Ranch. His son, Donald Farmer Booth, passed away in January 2019 and a son, Brian, died shortly after birth in 1953. He also is survived by grandchildren, Kevin Conway, Rohnert Park; Sean Conway, Austin, TX and Erin Conway, Honolulu; and brother, Norman T. Booth, Jr. of Santee, CA.
The family is grateful for the care Don received from Best Ever Home Care caregivers for the past two years and more recently from Hospice of the East Bay Palliative Care.
Services for Don and Alice will be held at a later date, when it's safer to do so. Details will be posted on the Alice Lincoln Farmer Booth and Donald Blackshear Booth Facebook. Donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association or the charity of your choice in Don and Alice's name.

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Published in East Bay Times on Jan. 10, 2021.
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