A Sacred Moment


Donald J McKinney

August 07, 1953 - February 22, 2015

Don't say goodbye... just say "I'll see ya later"...

Donald McKinney passed away on February 22, 2015 in Everett, WA. Don was diagnosed with melanoma back in 2008. He enjoyed a long remission following a courageous one year battle. He passed away unexpectedly after a recent hospitalization related to the reoccurrence of his melanoma.

Don was born in Walla Walla, WA to Edd and Irene (Fries) McKinney on August 7th, 1953. He grew up in the Wenatchee area, along with his four siblings, and graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1971. He attended Wenatchee Valley College for a couple years before joining the Navy- where he found his first love - the ocean. He served in the Navy for two years. Don lost his dad at an early age. After his father's passing, Don took great care of his mother, visiting her on many holidays and including her in many family vacations. They made several trips to North Dakota in the car and they had great talks on their journeys.

After his time in the Navy, Don transferred schools and moved to Bellingham, where he was introduced to commercial fishing and learned to crew on a fishing vessel. He soon landed a job working out of Sandpoint, Alaska, fishing for eight years on several fish and crab boats. Don has great stories from his time in Alaska... usually involving celebrations, long hard hours, some unique characters, lots of fish and crab - and, as some know, his memorable shark story.

Don later attended the University of Washington in the (fishing) off-seasons, to pursue his degree in Oceanography. He was proud to be a Husky and loved the great seats reserved for the student body. He graduated in 1984, finishing his Bachelor's degree in a quick 13 years, affirming his reputation as a lifelong student.

Don met Sandy (Loomis) in Bellingham in 1977, while they both attended Western Washington University. Their friendship grew a few years later when they both moved to the Everett area. About this time, Don bought his first sailboat and moored it at the Everett Marina. Boating was something that became a deep-rooted love for Don and Sandy. He loved to take family and friends out and share the adventure. Over the last 35 years, there was always a boat in Don's life, whether it was a fishing boat, speed boat, sailboat or kayak. Don's dream was to retire and live aboard a motor sailor for a couple years. It was always fun to take walks at the Marina and pick the boat that would be "just right"... Funny how Don's choices were always "Fishing" centric, and Sandy's were always "Luxury" centric.

Sandy and Don were married on Nov 12, 1983 in Bothell WA. Don and Sandy enjoyed sailing, traveling, bicycling, and they both shared a passion for sports -especially anything Husky, Sonics or Seahawks. In 1987, they were blessed with their daughter Maggie, and two years later their son Eric. Family was always first in Don's life.

Don started working for the City of Everett in 1989 - at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. His job involved protecting the Puget Sound, rivers and streams in our area from contamination. He loved the water; this was his way to give back to it.

In 1994, he moved the family to Stanwood where they built their dream house and "Farmer Don" was born. The homestead allowed him to pursue his passion for farming, resourcefulness, and sustainable living.

Don loved to play and have fun with the kids. He coached Maggie's basketball teams, and Eric's baseball and football teams. He was the coach that made sure every kid got to play - even if it meant losing the game. Some parents would love it, some would hate it, but Don was proud to give all kids a chance to play the game. Later, when the kids got older, Don got involved with basketball officiating. He loved the game, and again, was proud of his integrity to a fair game, and letting the game be about the kids, and not about the officials.

Don loved spending time with Maggie and Eric and was proud of the people they were becoming. His love of mechanics, travel, sports, fishing, cooking, and caring for the earth were just some of the gifts he gave them and they shared together.

There wasn't a job Don would not tackle. He would rebuild an engine, put in new brakes, build a fence, deck, or rock patio. He loved his garden, and shared with anyone who would appreciate the fruits (or vegetables) of his labor. He was resourceful and mindful of the environment. He would repurpose anything whether it was leftover wood from the deck, metal from a fence, or meat from the prime rib.

Don kept busy sport-fishing, crabbing, sailing, kayaking, gardening, reading, hiking, wakeboarding, biking and completed the "Seattle To Portland" bicycle ride - multiple times. He had many passions and talents, but there was one in particular he thrived in - His cooking skills. Don's cooking was legendary! He never met a spice he didn't like (figuratively and literally). At family functions, the event would not be complete without his homemade pico de gallo, and anything else they wanted Don to bring. Don loved cooking and researching new recipes to try. Many of his dishes were improvised -his chili was never the same. But each batch seemed more delicious than the last. Don always had dinner ready when Sandy got home and always would wait for her to eat with him... something that made her sisters and girlfriends quite jealous!

Don will be missed by his wife of 31 years -Sandy; his two children, Maggie and Eric; his brother Lin & Molly in Auburn, brother Paul in Wenatchee, brother Cecil & Amy in Wenatchee, sister Cathy & Leland Ebert of Mott ND, many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, in-laws, friends and colleagues.

Don would always joke when any visit was over... "Don't say goodbye....just say "I'll see ya later"...We will see you later Don...

Thoughts and thank you's: Providence Everett Emergency, Swedish Neurosurgery (Dr. Fouke, the nurses and physical and occupational therapists), Lake Stevens Fire Dept.


A Celebration of Don's life will be held at the Everett Yacht Club: 404 14th Street, Everett, WA 98201 on Saturday March 21st 2:00pm. Please bring stories to share. A light dinner will be served.


In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the American Skin Association, EcoTrust, or any environmental charity of your choice.


In the Great Scheme of Things 

In the great scheme of things, what matters is not how long you live, but why you live, what you stand for, and what you are willing to die for.

Paul Watson

To a Bright New World

Just as the mist it rises
Then vanishes way down the stream
Don too has come and then left us
Today it seems like a dream
That he was so much part of our lives
That he lived and loved as we do
Now he has left our hearts and his home
Like the fish that a fisherman threw
Back in the stream to go on its way
And that is what Don is doing today
To a bright new world, see the sun glitter
As he drifts from sight, though our tears are bitter
We know that he, like the salmon's leap
Will always be there in our memories deep.

Char BarrettMComment