Donald Bruce Wallace
December 7, 1954 - November 24, 2017
Don was born in Tacoma, WA, raised in Seattle, and graduated with a degree in Forestry from the University of Washington (a proud Husky). He spent 30 happy years watching the planting & growth of baby trees on thousands of acres, making many lifelong friends while doing so. His career started in Longview, WA, & ended in Sedro Woolley, WA.
In 2010, Don had an aortic valve replacement. Complications kept him from returning to the woods, but he was able to become a research assistant for the small fruit program with a professor (& future friend), originally at the WSU NW Research & Extension Center in Mt. Vernon, WA. It gave him a chance to use his knowledge in a new direction, & see the results of his work in a matter of months, rather than waiting decades.
Don was always learning, constantly thinking about how to better accomplish whatever project(s) he was working on; often thinking outside the “box”. He loved science & science fiction, technology, aviation, current events, nature, & people (especially children)... He liked to share his thoughts with others & gain knowledge from those around him.
He was a Boy Scout & Explorer Scout as a youth, later joining the Search & Rescue Team. He spent time as a Reserve Sheriff in Cowlitz Co., & spent several years as an active member of the WA Friends of Farm & Forestry. He was involved in St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Castle Rock, WA, later becoming a member of Bethany Covenant Church in Mt. Vernon, WA. He was active in the men's breakfast Bible study group, his church home group, & helped with meals at the Friendship House with other church friends.
Don had a giant heart. He had a smile for everybody, a listening ear, & a giving spirit. He loved to laugh & to make others laugh, sometimes through a good-hearted prank or a well-played surprise.
His family was the most important thing in his life. His faith only increased this love. He was fond of telling people that fathers have a special life long bond with their little girls. Perhaps, the only thing that might have topped that was becoming a grandfather. His grandchildren were his biggest source of pride.
He leaves behind his best friend & wife, Julie. His oldest daughter Catherine (Brandon) Lockhart & children Aiden, Lana, Ronin, & Sheena in Clayton, NC, & his younger daughter Kim (David) Chapman, her son Ethan, & another granddaughter, Sadie, due to arrive in February, in Monroe, WA.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Al & Jerry (Geraldine), & sister Liz (Elizabeth) Wallace, & is survived by his brother Rob, all from Seattle, WA.
A celebration of Don's life will be held on December 16th at 1:00, at Bethany Covenant Church, 1318 South 18th Street , Mt Vernon, WA. His ashes will be placed at Evergreen Washelli in Seattle, & scattered in places he loved. Arrangements were made through A Sacred Moment Funeral Service, Everett, WA. Please sign Don's online guestbook in the Condolences area below.
There is a memorial account for his grandchildren at BECU (#3607874703), in his wife's name.
Surely goodness & mercy shall follow me all the days of my life & I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
"Life is a voyage that's homeward bound." (Melville)
My dad was truly something else! He was a man full of love and full of faith. He loved us with everything he had and the more I reflect on my memories, the more this love is revealed.
Early on, I can remember rough housing on the living room floor, airplane rides on his legs or horse rides on his back. Dad never shied away from playing, getting dirty, or just goofing off with my sister and me. I remember him being in his recliner with his feet hanging off the foot rest and his head leaned way back. Of course he'd let me put lotion on his feet, but he also let me paint his toes and. without hesitation, would let me do his hair - consisting of a bunch of clips throughout his short hair or crazy styles.
But most of my early memories with dad took place out in the woods or just driving around on logging roads. I felt so safe & so close with my dad during these time. Whether it was life lessons, listening in on his CB radio, or walking around checking on the trees he was so proud to grow, it was about being together. He taught me so much just driving around talking, but he also taught me how to drive on those roads and how to shoot his guns in a rock pit in the middle of nowhere.
He valued his time with his family and some of the simplest memories, much like our time in the woods, are my favorites. When there were thunderstorms in the middle of the night, he'd wake us up, gather blankets and we'd cuddle up on the deck counting the seconds from the flash to the crack of thunder. Or the nights we'd watch meteor showers from the lawn chairs. And I remember losing electricity for days and doing puzzles, eating barbecued foil dinners, and just being gathered in the living room. And Dad would go out clearing fallen trees from the road and checking on neighbors. More than once he had to pump our creek water from one side of our driveway to the other to avoid it washing out.
I remember thinking my dad knew everything growing up; random fun facts and answers to my crazy questions. He was smart and clever at figuring things out, or just coming up with his own way. I'm still impressed he turned our regular above ground pool into a heated one with a retractable roll up pool cover, all with PVC pipe, a propane torch, & an old radiator! Or, when the lawn mower got converted into a covered wagon for my Oregon trail project at school. And recently, I've have been blessed by dad spending hours working one on one with me building my home.
And we also had our traditions like going to Husky football games together; just dad and his daughters and a bunch of other foresters. He was always so proud to have us there with him. He also sparked my interest in aviation and that quickly became “our” thing. We were airshow junkies and traveled to shows from Olympia to Abbotsford. Flying in an open cockpit biplane together was both awesome and hilarious! Our stomachs hurt from laughing because we could barely open our eyes and every time we tried to look at each other, we couldn't help but crack up. And I'll always remember the adventure of getting stopped at the boarder coming back from a show in Canada. because he forgot his chainsaw in the back of his truck.
Usually, however, he was prepared and he was intentional. I remember losing my wallet then calling for help, only to find out dad had hidden money in my car for emergencies just like that. Or, him mapping out a road trip Cathy & I took to California where he made sure we filled up before certain parts of the highway where there wouldn't be a gas station for miles and miles. He always wanted to make sure that we were taken care of.
He was intentional about our time together, as well as parenting us and shepherding our hearts as individuals. The same was true about his relationships with his grandkids. Every time we talked he always asked about Ethan, & he and mom had pizza dinners with us every Monday, which we all looked forward to. Seeing him learning sign language 'sure was something' as Ethan says. But he did his best with his big hands and he did it for my boy. Ethan's favorite memory is riding around on grandpa's lawnmower. I remember this day well also... I'm not sure who had the bigger smile on their face.
There is a quote by Theodore Hesburgh that says, "The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their mother well" Dad loved Mom well! This time of year reminds me of all Christmases when Mom would open a gift & be so surprised because it was something she had liked that dad somehow snuck and out got. He still brought home flowers or plants randomly and he planned for birthdays & anniversaries. On one of our adventures, or just while sharing life, he'd share his plans with me. I will always remember this one birthday his plan was to surprise her with a weekend away & it required that he study her and learn exactly what she needed to get ready for her day and to get ready for bed at night. He was going to pack everything down to her pills, lotions & slippers & drop the bags out the window and secretly pack the truck & say they were going somewhere else and reveal his full surprise later. And him preparing to propose to Mom after 25 years of marriage was so memorable. Again I knew his plan & waited anxiously in the hallway that night for him to come out of the bedroom. Mom was shocked and it was beautiful. I am so grateful for their example of marriage and what love looks like.
Dads legacy in my heart is love. Love for his family, love for others, and for the Lord. Garth Brooks' lyrics 'Is the love I gave her in the past going to be enough to last if tomorrow never comes?' stand out to me because Dad did love us enough! It Will last! I am so blessed to be his daughter and know I will get to hear 'I love you bud' again and get another one of those big bear hugs where he didn't let go until I did first.
Our love story started in June of 1976, when I took a summer job on the Cedar River Watershed outside of North Bend, while studying forestry in college. I was on a nine person team who's main job was to protect the watershed from forest fires. Don had worked there the previous summer & started work a few days before I did to help get the equipment ready. The first time I saw him, he & a buddy were working on top of a water tanker. They both were wearing dirty hickory shirts, had not shaven for several days, & were smoking cigars. They were assigned to “show me the ropes”. I was a midget next to them & though they looked intimidating, their humor was infectious & it started a life of friendship & laughter.
Although I was totally smitten by the end of that summer, my mom hadn't had much of a chance to get to know him & kept telling me I should continue to date other guys. I did go to the movies with an old high school classmate & had a miserable time. I think I spent the whole time talking about what fun it was working with Don over the summer. A few days later, I was sick in bed & got a phone call, asking me to go out again. I did the “dear John” speech that I really liked someone else, so didn't wasn't interest. To my shock & horror, within a couple days, I received a letter in the mail from Don saying he understood & wished me the best. Turned out, he'd had a bad cold when he called & I hadn't recognized his voice. I had yet to meet his mother, but called her immediately, explained what happened, drove to their home & waited for him to come home from school to let him know he was the reason I had turned down the date.
Don's family only lived about 10 minutes from the UW, where he was attending school. So, it only made sense for him to live at home until he graduated. He worked summers & earned money to buy a car & contribute to his expenses, but he had a close family & a mother who still made his lunches & did his laundry. We worked 3 summers on the watershed together, seeing each other every weekend until I transferred to the university. While there was an unspoken understanding that we would marry in the future, Don wanted to finish school first. Then, he wanted to find a full-time job, & then he wanted to have his first apartment & live on his own for the first time in his life. I had moved away from home after graduating from high school & worked a couple years before I decided to attend college. I had already done all those things & was more than ready to start our lives together...
His first job took him to Grand Ronde, OR. I was able to get a summer job in the same area, so we spent most of our spare time together. I was with him when he called his folks to tell them that the company had sold the Oregon timberlands & he was being transferred to the Longview tree farm. On the other end of the phone, his dad asked, “Well, what's Julie going to do?” To which he replied, “Oh, I guess we'll get married.” I never had a proposal. To top it off, after we were married, he kept talking about how great it was & wondered why we had waited so long!
Twenty five years later, he entered a radio contest (unbeknownst to me) & was one of the winners of a Valentine's Day wedding vow renewal trip to Scottsdale, AZ. He got the call while he was out working in the woods without any cell reception, so he found out through a voice-mail. He came home & played it for me. It was from a talk radio show that I never listened to, so didn't recognize the voice or name & was unaware of the contest, & thought he was playing another one of his pranks. He convinced me it was for real & wanted to know if I'd marry him again. I jokingly told him that he'd never even asked me to marry him the first time.
A couple days later, I was in my robe, snuggled under a blanket for the evening, when Don came walking out of our room dressed in his suit & tie, carrying a bouquet of red roses. He got down on one knee & formally asked me if I would marry him. Naturally, I told him I'd have to think about it for a while.
Our lives together were full of challenges. We started out with nothing, had hardships to overcome, & made do with very little. Don's dad died 2 days before Cathy was born. Though we lived 3 hours away from his mom, we included her in all our family traditions & vacations while we still had her. She lived in Seattle & my family lived in Sultan, so we drug our kids between both families during every visit. They didn't always appreciate it, but I believe they now understand why we did it.
We were also very blessed. First that we found each other (God had something to do with that), we were able to live in the country & Don was able to work in the woods for 30 years, & we were blessed with our both our daughters. Don loved to participate in their lives. And lastly, the blessings of our beautiful grandchildren. We all loved the days that we able to ride along with him in the woods. After moving to Sedro Woolley & my job was our home, I was able to ride with him into the hills that you see east of town, while he checked to see how a plantation was doing or looked for bear or beaver damage... We'd pack a lunch, find a place over looking the valleys, & once even watched the Navy fly through one of the valleys below us.
Our vacations were usually just a few days long & were places we could easily drive to; the coast, the mountains, Vancouver & Victoria. When we were both 40, we finally were able to fly the girls to Disneyland. It was also the first time Don & I had ever gone there.
Don loved surprises. I used to have to wrap his birthday present in a thick black paper that he couldn't see through, try to hide it, & not write it down in my check book or have a receipt he could find. He also loved to surprise me, saying things like let's not do anything special this holiday. He'd then give me something small, but I remember one particular time he had secretly set up a beautiful arbor outside totally in secret. For one birthday, we were going to go antique shopping in Bellingham, but he kept driving across the border for a secret overnighter.
He wasn't much of a shopper, but would indulge me by driving me to the stores. He'd walk through quickly & then find a bench to sit on. Later, I'd find that he'd gone back & bought me some little treasure that I'd admired, but wouldn't buy myself. Before his health issues, he'd make the ultimate sacrifice for me. He'd come with me to the day after Christmas sales when I did major shopping for the following year. I'd hurry through the stores finding what I wanted, then he'd stand in the long lines to pay for it things while I went on to the next store. That was true love!
Don was the “jack of all trades” kind of guy; fixing what was broke & building what needed to be built. He really didn't like to read instructions or ask for directions, & definitely didn't like to ask anyone else for help. The computer age did resolve some of the problems this caused because he love to look things up online & watch you-tube how to videos.
We were different in many ways, besides our heights. We use to joke back on the watershed that he got things done quick, but dirty; while I took my time & was much neater. This carried over into our married life & did cause some “discussions” more than once. Our kids don't remember us arguing much. That's not because there were no disagreements, but because we knew that we were two distinct individual people & that we were never going to change each other. So, we accepted that fact, gave each other grace, & in many ways, our differences complimented each other. We were far from perfect & definitely not perfect parents, but we loved our family with all our hearts.
Don was always learning, & he loved sharing his knowledge. He loved to train new hires, summer help, & even helped train young people taking a class on how to use tractors for farm work. He didn't dictate or lecture, but got “down in the dirt” & showed them how to do things & explained why things were done that way. He learned & practiced to praise in public & to correct or discipline in private.
He loved people, loved to encourage them or make them laugh. & loved when he was able to help them out in some way. He always fantasized what he'd do for who, if he were ever to win the lottery or come into money.
And, he loved children; often saying you just have to get down on their level & act their age. He was good at that!
He loved our church family & often would take time to tell the young people on the worship team what a great job they were doing, & always had a comment for the Pastor. Our home group became more than just a study group, & he talked continuously about how wonderful his men's breakfast Bible study group was & how much those men meant to him. He admitted he was the baby of the group, since the complications from his heart surgery had allowed him to “retire” early, but he appreciated the knowledge & deep faith each of them had. And, I personally want to thank you all for being both his friends & mentors.
Besides his faith, he loved his two “little girls” & his grandchildren the most. You've no doubt heard stories about them & been shown a picture or two, perhaps repeatedly.
I could go on & on, but the most important thing that my daughters & I know is that he loved us, & we know that he knew how much we loved him. And, we knew he loved God & is rejoicing in Heaven now. We miss him terribly because we've lost having the wonderful person he was being here with us, but we absolutely know that we will see him again. Until then, we'll cherish all the memories of the unique, silly, big hearted, loving person he was.
Thank you all for being a part of his life.
Dad didn't leave behind one big legacy to be remembered by. But he left behind so much more that gave meaning to his life. He was truly present in all of the little things, in his little acts of love.
My childhood is filled with so many rich memories of dad just being there, being present in so many moments of my life. Some of these moments stick out more than others and will forever be cherished.
My earliest memories of Dad revolve around spending time with him in the woods while he worked as a forester. I loved the time I spent in the passenger seat of his truck wearing one of his big hard hats on the bumpy logging roads, or taking walks together as he taught me all about trees and the world around me. In these moments deep in the woods, it really was just me and my dad. And on occassion, a few bears that ended up with peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches for lunch.
Growing up at our childhood home in Castle Rock, I remember spending time with Dad working in the garden or tagging along with him for some home improvement project. He always found the time for projects that my sister and I requested. Some of the best memories are of him painstakingly assembling our dollhouses or helping me design and carve a totem pole for a school assignment.
I still remember when it was such a big deal that Dad installed an antenna rotator from Radio Shack to the roof of our house and how much fun we had taking turns rotating it. Now we could choose between Portland or Seattle tv stations and had a total of about 8 tv stations we could view. This was as good as cable back then!
Dad also took the time to serve at our church. I remember Sunday mornings that I spent ushering with him greeting guests, handing out bulletins, and counting the offering. Dad passed along his faith in these little moments of service.
Some of my favorite memories with Dad are from the times we spent taking trips together. He made it a priority to take one big family vacation every year. On one of the these vacations to Vancouver Island, Dad stopped and agreed to our request to rent paddle boats. Of course Dad and I shared the same boat and it wasn't until we were in the middle of the lake that we realized he was weighing down the boat and we were taking on water. As I began tipping toward his side, he managed to paddle us back just before we had to start swimming.
Holidays and Christmases were always spent with Dad loading up the van and driving us back and forth between grandparents. The highlight of this was always the one night near Christmas where Dad would load us back into the van along with our Grandma, put on Christmas music, and drive us around to see the Christmas lights of Seattle; our favorite stop always being Candy Cane Lane. I can still hear Dad belting out his version of "White Christmas," his favorite to watch with us during the season.
He also made the time to take my sister and I with him to a yearly Husky football game with his colleagues. Dad always wanted us there with him. These were such special times spending the day with him and sharing in our love of football. And he loved to suprise us with big cups of hot cocoa to keep us warm.
Dad also made sure that we would make it to the Kelso Highland Festival every summer to celebrate our Scottish heritage. Our favorite part was always listening to the pipes together. And Dad carried this tradition on with my son Aiden, taking him to the Mt. Vernon Highland Festival when we lived with him.
And into my late teenage years and early twenties, dad was still there from a distance with all of his care and concern manifesting in his little or not so little lectures and in the small ways we would find common ground talking about sports and politics.
As an adult, I witnessed the little things he would do for others as he would jump at the chance to help a neighbor in need, participate with his men's group at church, always offering himself to friends and family. His help would often come in the form of a phone call, showing up with food and drinks, surprise gifts, slipping a few bucks in an unsuspecting pocket, or being ready to spend the day working on his tractor.
And more recently in his later years, I saw him bring so much love and joy to his grandchildren through the small things that grandpa did for them. He was always eager for quick phone calls or video chats. Sometimes the little things arrived as suprises in big boxes in the mail. Other times they arrived with big hugs or tickles when grandpa came to visit.
Aiden shared a special bond with grandpa from an early age. Early on he would affectionately refer to him as "Bappa." Grandpa always took the time to ask about ALL of the details of the kids lives on a regular basis. Grandpa was Aiden's biggest fan when it came to golf and was so excited to watch him this last visit. Grandpa got quite the suprise when he challenged Aiden to chip the ball in from the edge of the green. Aiden did that not only once, but 3 times in a row much to Grandpa's delight.
Lana's favorite memory of Grandpa comes from one of his visits last year when he took the kids to a wild animal park. Grandpa found quite the friend in a goose. The entire time he walked through the park this goose followed after Grandpa affectionately pecking at his shoes and clothes. The park workers were so amused as they had to keep the goose from following Grandpa home because 'everywhere that Grandpa went, that goose was sure to go'.
Ronin remembers Grandpa's big tickles and was always wondering when he would show up with more. They shared many a silly phone call about mee-mees and mustaches or any other thought of the moment as Ronin would love to yell out "Grandpa" with an emphasis on the -pa. "Grand-PA!"
Sheena decided to share herself with Grandpa and not just Grandma this last visit. She loved just sitting in his lap. She had also gotten good at being able to say "Grandpa" and would run to the window every morning looking for him to get to the house saying "Oh Grandpa here," with a big smile on her face.
Most recently, I remember all of the small talks that Dad and I would have. Filled with his wit, wisdom, and love. Whether it was a short phone call, a text here and there, or our conversations during his visits he always made the time to say "I love you."
Life is made of all of the little moments and Dad will forever be remembered for all of the little acts of love he brought to our lives and the lives of others. Let us honor him by continuing to do these simple things for the others in our lives.
Thank you for your strong example Dad. When I count my blessings, I will continue to count all of the little ways that you have and continue to bless my life and lives of your grandchildren. All of the little things you've done take up the biggest places in our hearts.
Grandpa’s Gone to Heaven
One quiet day the angels came
And took grandpa far away
But in the stillness of the night
I could almost hear him say.
“Dear grandchild, I will miss you
You mean so much to me
But Jesus called me to His side
In Heaven I will be.
A place of God’s great beauty
No tears or earthly cares
Only peace and joy forever
And love beyond compare.
So remember all the good times
Don’t think about the sad.
Treasure all the special moments
Through the years we’ve always had.
And if you trust in Jesus
I can promise this and more
You will get a hug from grandpa
Someday on Heaven’s golden shore."
- J. Morse
The Family Tree (modified)
A limb has fallen from the family tree
I hear a voice that whispers, 'Grieve not for me'
Remember the best times, the laughter, the songs
The good I lived while I was strong
Continue my heritage, I'm counting on you
Keep on smiling, the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest
Remembering all... how I was truly blessed
Continue traditions, no matter how small
Go on with your lives, never doubt I loved you all
I planted many seeds and trees you know
But it's the Father God who makes them grow.