DONALD LEE DEHART

Obituary
6 entries
  • "I didn't know Don exceptionally well, but what I knew about..."
    - Verla
  • "It has been many, many years since I have had the pleasure..."
    - Renee Miller Wilhelm
  • "I didn't know Don exceptionally well but what I knew I..."
  • "DeHart Family, Please know my thoughts and prayers go out..."
    - Shelly Miller-Ohman
  • - Verla
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DONALD LEE DEHART Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home Our brother, Donald "Don" Lee DeHart passed away Saturday August 13, 2016 at Swedish Hospital, Seattle, WA, at age 58, three weeks after the death of his younger brother Richard. Donald was born May 19, 1958 to Charles Ernest DeHart and Beulah Maxine Ellis DeHart in Pasco, WA. He was the third of four children. Donald was mechanically inclined as a young man and could fix just about anything. But cars were a love he always had. He loved to travel, and many of those travels were to car shows. Speed roller skating was something Donald shared with his brothers Chuck and Rick during their teen years, excelling in both individual and group events and representing the area at local, state and regional competitions. He grew up physically small and was usually bullied by the other kids. But he eventually grew into a beautiful physical specimen, with strong lungs and legs from racing. His training, desire and strength of character boded him well later in life. Donald attended Kennewick Schools and was a hard worker all his life. When our father died in 1970, our mother struggled for many years, prompting Donald to eventually leave high school to work full time to help her. She died in 1976. In 1979 Donald was working for a maintenance group during the construction phase of what is now Energy Northwest Columbia Generating Station in the Hanford Area. In May of that year, six days after turning 21 years old, he had a work related accident, breaking his neck, and becoming a quadriplegic. You would think that would turn him bitter and angry. You'd be wrong! Donald became the master of turning the proverbial lemon into lemonade. He decided that life was worth living at all costs and that he would dedicate his life to overcoming as much as possible, enjoy his life and thrive. He did that and more. He went to rehab at the University of Washington, eventually persuading them that physical therapy should be done seven days a week instead of five. He mentored other patients there, convincing them that being disabled was partly a state of mind, that they had value and should pursue their dreams. He soon acquired his GED and moved back to Seattle, lived independently and obtained his associates degree at the Resource Center for the Handicapped in Computer Programing. He was offered a job at a Seattle Bank the day of graduation and thus started over 15 years of working in the public sector as a computer programmer, first in the banking industry and later, upon moving back to Kennewick, working at the Hanford Area, eventually retiring from Lockheed Martin Services. I asked my two kids to tell me what their Uncle meant to them. This is what Marc said on Facebook"I just lost Uncle Richard DeHart two weeks ago and Uncle Donald DeHart August 13. Life is really good at throwing curve balls. Just so everyone is aware, these two gentlemen were the reasons why I changed my last name to DeHart back in 2009. They were the men in my life that taught me how to be a man. How to treat others and how to appreciate life and all its wonders." Michelle stated "I had asked him once if he planned on getting married and having kids one day and he told me that he would love to but if he never did that Marc and I were basically his own children. He was able to help raise us. He taught me how to be responsible for myself by cooking, cleaning, respecting others and to take care of others who need help. He spoiled us rotten! He was always patient and took the time to explain in great detail the pros and cons of our decisions in life. He was more than my uncle; he was my father figure. He always called me Chelle, or Turkey, lol. I loved that He always had a way to calm me and keep things in perspective. And of course, he was my favorite handsome uncle." Donald inspired everyone throughout his life. Doctors, Nurses, Colleagues, Friends, Family, just about anyone who ever met him were amazed at the zeal he had for life. He overcame so many obstacles and really lived life on his own terms. He battled adversity, calamity, ever present pain, constant physical setbacks, depression and loss of his beloved animal companions. But he never lost his sense of humor. He smiled and laughed at it all. He said I will prevail, I will survive and I will conquer whatever presents itself. He more than beat the odds; he was supposed to only live at most for ten years after the accident. But he just wouldn't give up. He gave us a legacy of inspiration and hope. He made our lives better and richer and proved that each one of us is important in this world. Donald is survived by Brother Chuck (Robin) DeHart and Sister Elaine (Ron) Schalla. He is also survived by his nieces and nephews Michelle (Justin) Voeks, Marc (Kerry) Bacon DeHart, Jaric DeHart, Kenneth (Sarah) DeHart, Vanessa (Ben) Zientek, Jeremiah (Kayla) White, Kelly Rice and many grandnieces and grand nephews and cousins. And he is survived by great friends Elsie, Doug, Lloyd, Abe, Don A., Jay, and Don G., just to name a few. He was predeceased by his brother Richard Douglas DeHart, both parents and all grand parents. Donald had a great love for all animals, which included many cats he fostered over the years. But Chico and Cozzy were special and will be interred with him. It is requested that he be remembered not by flowers but thru donations made to the Benton County Humane Society. Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home of Kennewick is handling the arrangements, with burial to be at Desert Lawn Memorial Park, Kennewick, WA at 11:00am on Tuesday, August 23, 2016. The family hopes you will pay your respects at that time with a gathering afterwards at the home of Ron and Elaine. The family invites you to sign their online tribute wall at www.muellersfuneral homes.com.
Funeral Home
Mueller's Tri-Cities Funeral Home
1401 S. Union St.
Kennewick, WA 99338
(509) 783-9532
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Published in Tri-City Herald on Aug. 21, 2016
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